'Forgotten Christmas' Brings Holiday Good Intentions to Reality to Benefit South Asia's Most Impoverished
- Published on Tuesday, 19 November 2013 22:13
- Written by Super User
As merchants anticipate $400 billion to be spent on decorations, parties and gifts this Christmas season, "Forgotten Christmas" offers an alternative for those with long-standing good intentions to skip the commercialism and return the holiday to its foundation in Christ's birth. "Forgotten Christmas" (www.forgottenchristmas.org) offers extensive free resources to help churches and individuals move beyond consumerism to communicate the love of Jesus to some of South Asia's poorest people who lack life's basic resources. "As shoppers in the West head out to malls with their gift lists, people in other parts of the world are straining for their next meal," said Dr. K. P. Yohannan, founder and international president of Gospel for Asia (GFA), sponsor of "Forgotten Christmas." "But these gifts of a goat, a sewing machine or a vegetable cart not only make a difference in their lives; they help break their cycle of poverty and literally change a family's life."
Last year nearly 100,000 of these gifts were purchased for impoverished families in South Asia. The free church kit includes a choice of 11 videos to share in a church service on a December Sunday and an unlimited quantity of catalogs to distribute in church bulletins. Individuals may also request a catalog or shop directly online at forgottenchristmas.org/get-involved. "'Forgotten Christmas' will change the mindset of the members of your church-- to move away from consumerism and move toward changing lives," said Jerry Witham, pastor of the Ridge Church in Carrollton, Texas. The Christmas gift of a vegetable cart from an unknown donor a world away forever changed the lives of Dandak and Kala and their three children (forgottenchristmas.org/forgotten-people). Caught in the caste system, with little food, no access to medical care and a makeshift home, their outlook was hopeless. Everything changed when Pastor Namuchi arranged for Dandak to receive a "Forgotten Christmas" pull cart. By delivering and selling vegetables at the market for local farmers, Dandak is now providing food and shelter for his family, and his three children are able to attend school. The GFA Christmas Gift Catalog is full of gifts that change lives, not only for a holiday season, but perpetually. A sewing machine can end a life of begging for a South Asian woman and enable her to earn a living to support her entire family. A pair of chickens will produce enough eggs to feed a family and earn an income. Fishing nets provide a livelihood. These and many other gifts help both giver and receiver remember that Jesus came to this world to save the lost and to provide a direct means to meet their needs. Bible study groups, sports teams, extended families and friends are encouraged to join together for a group project, such as a well that will provide clean water for an entire community. Some donors will choose to give these Christmas gifts in honor of a loved one or in lieu of traditional gift exchanges.
"Forgotten Christmas does a great job of putting things in perspective," said Mark Dallalio, pastor of Northside Baptist Church in Carrollton. "Our people have been able to see the transcending purpose. Christmas has been forgotten, but now we're able to do something to nail down what Christmas is really all about."
Direct online shopping is available at forgottenchristmas.org/get-involved. To order free catalogs, church resource kits and DVDs, go to forgottenchristmas.org.
"Forgotten Christmas" (www.forgottenchristmas.org) was established in 2010 to help Christians rediscover the true meaning of Christmas in giving to others in need. Since that time, their videos and catalogs have been used by hundreds of churches to challenge Christians to give to "the least of these" in South Asia.