Two years ago near Christmas, our son was asked to draw a picture about the meaning of Christmas in his Sunday school class at church. He produced a crayon drawing of Santa bringing baby Jesus a box of diapers as a Christmas gift. Although we can now see the humorous side of the situation, at the time we were horrified that our children were so obviously confused about the true meaning of Christmas. We promptly told the kids, “Santa does not exist!” and increased our efforts to focus the Christmas season on Jesus only.
I’d guess that we are not the only parents out there who have been frustrated by our children focusing on the commercial and material side of holidays, and not on the true meaning behind the celebration. In 2012 alone, American’s spent more than $2.1 billion on Easter candy. More than 90 million chocolate Easter bunnies were produced, and I’d venture to guess most children received an Easter basket full of sugar, plastic eggs, and cheap toys.
For the last two years, the 31:20 board members have attempted to refocus our children’s Easter celebrations from the “crap in a basket” to Jesus rising from the dead. In 2013, we stuffed giant “Easter Barrels” full of food, shoes, books, and medical supplies and sent them to Christian communities in Africa who needed help. In 2014, we collected items for the “Suitcase for Hope Home”- hair care supplies, watches, socks, school fees- and sent the suitcase with a friend to the Hope Home orphanage in India.
And now, in 2015, we are “Sending Easter Abroad” by mailing care packages to our missionary friends around the world. We are filling the boxes with items they miss from America, items they need, and notes of encouragement. We would love for you and your family to participate!
First, join us for a Fat Tuesday party on Tuesday, February 17th at 6:30pm at Horizon Community Church to kick-off the Lent season. We will feast on Jambalaya, King’s cake, and dirty rice, then talk about the missionaries each family has chosen and pray over the boxes.
We will talk about ways to fast through Lent, helping to save money and reallocate what we’d usually spend on Easter crap toward sending a meaningful and needed gift to people serving overseas. We are using flat rate international shipping boxes that will cost between $25-$60 to ship (depending on size of box and destination country).
My family has chosen the Shrum family, friends who are working with rescued victims of sex trafficking in Germany. They asked for: peanut butter M&MS, ring pops, pop rocks, fruit snacks, Guacamole seasoning packets, Ranch dressing dry packets, Velveeta shells and cheese, and Zaterain's Black Beans and rice. My kids are also sending cards, pictures, and small gifts for their 3 children, since they don’t receive much fun mail from the U.S.
I hope your family will join us on Tuesday!