THE REASON FOR THE SEASON
God has been so good to us this year - all our needs have been met and we couldn't have asked for happier "season" in our lives. With two kids in college and one soon to be married, life is starting to take on a whole new perspective. Over the last few weeks, some of the stuff Jesus said, is starting have a whole new meaning in our hearts. God used Pastor Francis Chan and some of the other speakers at the conferences in Pittsburgh and Nashville to prompt and challenge us. We've trying to say, "how much can we give?" instead of "how much do we have to give?" The blessing has been wonderful!
OPERATION "BLESS YOUR SOCKS OFF"
The Canote family had an opportunity yesterday to experience the true meaning of Christmas and the "reason for the season". The Lord laid it on our hearts to reach out to the local Hispanic community in our area. We decided to try something we've never done before. We contacted a Pastor Martinez, who leads a weekly Spanish church service in Columbia. We told him about our ministry and that God had blessed us this year and we wanted to bless a local Hispanic family in need. He immediately knew of a family from his church who needed help.
Pastor Martinez put us in contact with a single mother of two young boys who is struggling to make ends meet. He told us she was unable to pay her bills this month and didn't know how she would cover Christmas for her boys. We were able to speak with the mom over the phone within a couple of days. In her broken English, she explained that she had been afraid to check her mail for 4 days because she knew she couldn't pay any bills if they came. We told her not to worry that we wanted to help.
I'm not telling this story to brag but instead to encourage you to try this as soon as possible! This was definitely the most rewarding thing we have ever done as a family. What's ironic is that we are probably the least able financially to do something like this, this year than we've ever been in the past. However, God laid it on our hearts to stretch ourselves. We decided it wouldn't mean much if we didn't at least make some sacrifice in order to bless this family. Boy, have we been missing out on a blessing over the years!
With some extra donations from some friends in ministry, (Thanks Ron & Suzie) we were definitely able to bless this family's socks off! What's great is that we were so blessed ourselves to be a part of it. Our whole family made a special delivery to their home last night. They were in a state of shock by the time we got done! It was so awesome!
We took several gifts for each of the boys and gift for the mom along with some cash for the bills. We took them some gift cards to Toys R Us, Barnes & Noble, and Wal-Mart. We stopped for some groceries on the way there. It was so much fun just going through the store trying to imagine what a Hispanic family might want to eat. In all, we carried in about 6 or 8 boxes of gifts and food. Our boys also took 2 bags of clothes including some winter coats. Samantha had a very nice coat that fit the mom as well.
They didn't really know what to say! I'm telling you this was so much fun! I'm getting a little moist reliving the story. :)
We stayed long enough to get to know Oscar, Juan, and Lorena a little bit. We asked about school and friends. We told them our names and about our ministry. We all had a big laugh when I challenged the mom to remember our names. We just explained that God had blessed us so we wanted to bless them. We prayed with them, wished them a Merry Christmas and left.
As we were walking back to the car, somebody said, "Now, we just need some more money so we can do this again!" This is definitely not the last time for this!
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"There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord."
~ Proverbs 21:30
"Many are the plans in a man's (and my) heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."
~ Proverbs 19:21
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