Our volunteering adventure was a great blessing yesterday.
We picked up a friend of Ally's and then the six of us head to The United Way. Once there, we loaded up the van full of bags of groceries for three families and a bag of toys for one of those families.
The first family was about a 15 minute drive. So the kids and I picked up lunch from Zaxby's and headed to the first house. Before we arrived, we practiced our carol. We chose to sing "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." The children new the words & I felt that it sang wonderfully of Christ's birth. When we arrived at the first house, I knocked on the door and a nurse answered. I informed her that we were making a delivery from The United Way and asked if we could bring the things inside for the elderly couple that lived there. She agreed and then I asked her if she would see if the couple minded if we sang a Christmas carol before we left.
All of the children (including the little ones) got out of the van and we all carried in the bags. We set them in their kitchen and the nurse informed us that we could, indeed, sing for them. The husband sat on the couch in the living room and the wife was confined to her bed so they requested that we sing to her in her room and we gladly obliged. We lined up in front of her bed and joyfully sang through our song. She smiled and mouthed through the song with us. We chatted with her a little bit after, then wished her & her husband a Blessed Christmas. They thanked us and wished us the same in return. We then filed back into the van and headed to our next family...
The next family was about ten minutes from where we were. It was a single mom with two children. We arrived to find her in the garage. I introduced myself and asked her if we could unload what we had for her. She agreed. The older two carried a big bin full of groceries while I carried the big bag of gifts. We set them in her house, stepped outside, and got her permission to sing a carol before we left. We, again, sang joyfully for her. She mouthed some of the words and tended to look downward. As we finished, she asked if we went to church. I replied yes & informed her of where. She said that she used to go to church when she was younger (her present age was probably late twenties to mid-thirties). We talked a few moments as the children loaded back into the van. I then asked her if I may give her an extra something for her children that had nothing at all to do with The United Way. She said sure. I went to my van and grabbed out two "Happy Birthday, Jesus" coloring books for her children and a tract for her. I handed her the coloring books and then asked her if I may give her the tract. She agreed and I proceeded to ask her if she knew where she would go when she died. She said not really and that she knew she needed to get back to church and do good. I quickly explained to her that while those are good things to do, those DO NOT get you into Heaven. I then was able to share the Gospel with her about how Jesus Christ came and died for our sins. How He was resurrected and how repentance of sin and faith in Christ is the ONLY way to Heaven. I told her that the tract also explained, in detail, the plan of salvation. She needed to get inside... I was able to hug her, thank her for letting us stop by, and encouraged her to call our church if she needed or wanted to talk with someone else, that the number was on the back of the tract. She thanked me and then we were on our way...
The last house was about twenty minutes away.
On the way, I talked with the children about my conversation with her. We also sang Christmas carols and they did Christ-centered activity pages. We arrived at the last house and a woman was outside getting the mail for the elderly couple. I told her who we were and why we were here, and asked her to see if we could sing a carol, too. All of the children got out of the van and we loaded up our hands and arms with bags of groceries for the couple in the home. Even the littlest two, again, carried bags. Beth (3 yrs. old) carried a bag with flowers in it. We took the flowers out of the bag and she presented them to the elderly woman once we were in the house.
We set the groceries on her kitchen table and filed in front of her in her dining room to sing. We sang joyfully to her and she sang along. You could see in her face that she enjoyed it. When we were finished, she informed us that her husband was not there and that he would have wanted to be (he was at dialysis). I related with her, telling her how my mother, also, does dialysis and we talked a little about it and other things. She thanked us for coming and wished us a Merry Christmas. We thanked her and wished her and her husband a Blessed Christmas and then we head to the van. The children played and chased each other around before getting in the van. The were full of energy and excitement. They enjoyed doing what we were doing.
We then headed back home.
I was so thrilled to see the children enjoy what we were doing. They worked so well together, they had joyful, caring attitudes. They sang loudly and clearly. They were polite and helpful.
It blessed my heart to see the compassion and concern they had for the families we visited.
Giving the gift of compassion and love is greater than any gift we can give and to see the faces of deep, sincere appreciation of those we give it to is priceless and unforgettable.
We hope to have started a new family tradition this year.
May God be glorified!