This year as the holidays approach, we are very aware of the many blessings God has given our families. At Fishhook, we want to live with purpose by giving thanks and sharing our resources with others. So we contacted our friends in India and asked how we could bless them this Christmas. Several ideas were bounced around, and we all agreed to focus on the children.
His Rest Retreat Center has become a destination for many Christian families and school children to escape the city and find a place of respite. Every month about 500 children visit the mango groves in the country to enjoy God's beauty. Often their parents are attending prayer retreats or discipleship training sessions. The Christmas season at His Rest is especially busy as several orphanages bring their children to run, play and rest.
Currently His Rest has dorms, a conference/worship center and a dream...for a playground! Two playgrounds actually - One area for the younger children to play safely and another area for older kids to enjoy. And it would be complete with shaded areas for everyone to escape the Indian sun.
We want to help build part of this dream by the end of the year, and we need your assistance! Inspired by these Advent Blessing Jars we plan to engage our own children in the act of giving with a special Advent challenge. And we want to invite you and your family to join us!
Gather your supplies. We decided to keep things simple and went to the dollar store to get a pack of jumbo craft sticks and a Christmas dish (which was later switched for a less breakable box). Be as creative as you like. Let your kiddos decorate one side with stickers, markers, crayons...have fun crafting if you wish!
Look for things around the house that you are thankful for. Write one item on a craft stick and designate a donation amount. This is a great activity to do as a family! My two year old went through his room and picked out his favorite toys, then I wrote down each category and came up with an amount within our budget.
Pull out one craft stick each day of Advent and count the blessings written on that stick. Once you have a total put that money in your donation box! For example, let's assume the first day of Advent we pick the stick labeled "Trains 10 cents" My son will then count all of his trains, lets say 20, and we will add $2.00 to our donation jar.
If you have older kids and want to use this as a learning opportunity UNICEF India has great photo essays that show the differences of life in India.
One of the things mommy and daddy are thankful for is indoor plumbing so we will count our showers one day and talk to our children about water scarcity in India.
At the end of Advent add your contribution to our Playground Fund and watch the blessings multiply! Our goal is $8,000. We will keep you updated on our progress and hope to have enough money to build both playgrounds in the New Year!