One of our family's most fun Christmas projects found its inception with one of our homeschooling co-op moms: Christmas bundles. Essentially, each bundle is a saucepan filled with laundry soap (used for most cleaning purposes here), exam booklets and pencils for school kids, sugar, matches, candles, necklaces and earrings hand-beaded by the co-op kids, a laminated bookmark with an abbreviated version of the Four Spiritual Laws, Christmas cards made by the co-op kids--and a Bible.
This friend of mine has been assembling bundles for years now, and she did all the legwork of fundraising, purchasing, etc. Another mom and friend followed her own brainstorm...and found a donor to include a children's Bible in each! This is invaluable because since literacy is a problem here, parents can get the general idea of Bible stories, and school kids can read their own Bibles.
Our kids formed assembly lines, giddily stuffing and arranging the bundles, then praying for the families who'd receive them. Oliver distributed ours to families she's been interacting with, since she's able to go places and get into people's lives in ways we can't (or at least haven't yet). One, for example, was the Muslim seamstress who's stitched a few pillowcovers and curtains for us this year.
My favorite part? Oliver reported that it was almost like people didn't see the rest of the bundles when they saw the Bibles. People were exclaiming and shouting over finally having their own Bibles--which I can believe after seeing the guards and other local staffers' reactions after my parents gave them Bibles back in September. Oliver's primary-school friend had already memorized the first chapter of his children's Bible (most children don't have many books, if any). Now she had a problem though--she had far more people who wanted Bibles than she had Bibles.
So imagine our delight when the other missionary family from our home church in Little Rock--also serving in Uganda!--asked what our church could send back with them. Seriously?! I knew books were heavy, but even a few Bibles would be so much more accessible costwise than the Bibles we've found here. (Yikes.)
When I arrived to pick up the goodies--which admittedly included two Sam's size bags of chocolate chips, Legos, and other priceless items--there was not one, not two, but an entire box of Bibles paid for by women from FamilyLife!
Oliver's claimed ten by now, I think, for people who don't have their own Bibles. She came back after the first round: "The people were dancing!" They were that excited. It's tremendous, after a year of being here with her and attempting to facilitate her ministry, that we can finally put a Bible with the relationships. Another Bible went to a guard who'd been hired after my parents left; another to the friend of a friend with plans to be a pastor.
All that to say...it's a timeless example of Christ's Body at work here around the world--and even then, the primary player on the stage here is an almighty, all-seeing God who works across time. I love that the knowledge of Him is filling the earth. And I'm thankful for all of you who generously, whole-heartedly hunker down with us and do it.