I am proud of you! I am so proud of you! Two weeks ago I stood before you in worship, and with the blessing of the Finance Committee, I shared with you a vision. This vision was to find a way, above and beyond our normal financial support of the church, to raise $5,000 to give away by Christmas Eve this year. To help us in that endeavor, we spent the prior three weeks talking about how we order our lives, where we spend our treasure, and how our use of what God has entrusted to us says a lot about who or what we worship. We talked about how the gifts that mean the most to us are generally those gifts of time, those one on one experiences we share with one another and not those gifts of extravagance. We also talked about how if we alter just a few of our Christmas spending habits, not only can our enjoyment and celebration of Christmas be deepened, we can also share the many blessings we have from God with other people.
Based upon that premise, we have set a goal to raise $5,000 to split between Heifer International and StopHunger Now. The first $2,500 we are partnering with Belleview UMC, to have each church contribute $2,500 to Heifer International so together we can buy a Gift Ark. A Gift Ark is two of every animal Heifer raises to be given to communities all over the globe to help feed, reproduce, and raise their quality of life.
The other $2,500 we will use to buy 10,000 meals from Stop Hunger Now. The great thing about this endeavor is that we get to pack these meals. Stop Hunger Now wants to end world hunger in our lifetime and the way they are setting out to do that, is by providing meals to schools in impoverished countries. The children in these communities usually only eat when they go to school because of a lack of food elsewhere. If we can raise this $2,500, Stop Hunger Now will provide all the food, packing devices and materials for us to pack the meals. We call them with a date, they deliver the goods, we pack it, call them back when we are done, and they come and pick everything up. My family and I participated in a packing drive with Stop Hunger Now at Annual Conference and in about 30 minutes we helped pack 3,000 meals. I believe this to be a very worthwhile pursuit and know you will be blessed when you participate.
I know this may sound like an ambitious calling, and that is why we are talking about in July and August, so we have time and can be intentional about finding ways to meet this goal. Therefore, I want to encourage all of you to continue in your discernment about how you might help us reach our mark.
Earlier I said I was proud of you. That is because to date, two weeks into this challenge, we have raised $375! You have listened and the response is beginning. We have a long way to go, but I know we can make it. If you would like to make a contribution to this challenge, please mark your check or envelope “Heifer Fund” and our tellers will make sure your contribution goes to the right place.
Thank you so much for your consideration of this endeavor and I pray you feel the presence of God as you find ways to help us achieve this goal.
Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!