Dec 27- Jan 3
JMI’s annual “Christmas in Moldova” mission trip has become one of our most sacred traditions over the years.
On the one hand, that is a surprising development. People generally think of Christmas as family time, a needed break from work and, to whatever extent possible, what it’s actually about: the celebration of our Savior’s birth.
But when you look deeper into those rose-colored expectations, the reverse is often true. Family time often comes on the heels of stress-filled shopping mall wars. The break from work isn’t usually much of a break at all. And the lowly Christ child is barely acknowledged, lost in a barrage of commercialism, consumer-obsessed children and appeasing the time demands of multiple family members.
What makes “Christmas in Moldova” so inviting to many of us is the way it grounds us in a deeper, richer, more simplistic purpose for the season (and for our lives!).
To be able to tell poor peasant children the story of the Son of God being born to peasants in a manger surrounded by animals makes the whole event burst open with life. To be able to give gifts to children who may never have received their own gift makes giving itself truly meaningful. To be able to love on children who often get little, if any, real affection from parents who are struggling to survive or anesthetize themselves with alcohol daily is to incarnate heavenly angels announcing good news of great joy.
This year’s “Christmas in Moldova” trip will be all that and more. More people from more places are talking about going with us than ever before.
I envision a trip where we not only spend time with children in the churches and orphanages of remote villages, but also trudge out into the snow to sing Christmas carols and deliver food and gifts to needy families who have no idea we’re coming…maybe the homes recommended to us by the children themselves. I’m already imagining the faces as they try to make sense of singing Americans on their doorstep. I can’t wait to hand bags of food, clothes and toys to the Moldovan pastors and children we know and allow them the joy of delivering those gifts to their neighbors. And I eagerly await the experience of watching the kids in our transitional living program give a short testimony as to why we’re all there, shivering in the cold because the news of a Savior’s love is just that exciting!
There will be an informational meeting over lunch about “Christmas in Moldova” at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 7th at the Corner Pub just south of Rolling Hills Community Church. If you are interested but out of town, write [email protected] for more details!