Monday, April 05, 2010

BIG love

 

These past few weeks I have been thinking about the way that God loves us. And we had one things happen to our family that is a good illustration of that concept of God’s big love.

This past week we had a family come from Calgary , Alberta from our home church. The pastor and his wife came all this way with their two toddler children and their own parents. So the 6 of them arrived and we had a wonderful time. Blog coming about that soon! However, they also brought us a care package and greetings from one of the main churches who support us back home.

So how did this remind me of God’s love? Well…God doesn’t just love us half way.  If we were to ask him to love us just a little, he would still blow us away with the amount of his love. If we ask a hundred times for grace and forgiveness, he is standing by to offer a million. We see ourselves worthy often of only small amounts of love and small amounts of blessing. And yet God wants to offer us everything – his undivided attention, his unfailing grace, every bit of love inside of Him. And this expression of over-whelming, unrequested and unexpected love is something we are blown away by each time we experience it, and this is something that our church did for us.

Before they came out, they asked for some ideas of things we would love in a care package from the church. Like any international worker, I have a list on my computer with things I want to pick up when i go to a country that has access to more items than Niger. So I sent them that list to give them some ideas. I told them by no means should they consider getting it all! However, i think they were purposefully hard of hearing in that area and filled every single item!

Here are a few things on our list that we asked for as an example for you:

A box of Ziplock bags

a few packs of nacho cheese mix sauce

some flavoured oatmeal cereal packs

whole coffee beans

honey

vanilla extract

some macaroni and cheese sauce mix

cheddar cheese

some grocery twist ties

some dress up clothes for the kids (especially Bennett since he only has princess stuff here so far!)

Also, We give out some basic medical supplies to the poor around us. When they have wounds and cuts we like to give them a little tube of polysporin and talk to them about keeping it clean. All too often have we seen nasty infected messes here and one little boy almost died last year from this exact problem. We like to give women who are pregnant some prenatal vitamins. Their own nutrition is bad enough that I would like to be able to help their baby get some of the vitamins and nutrients it needs to grow healthy! I also give out childrens tylenol to sick children (with information and not in excess obviously!) when they are sick with fevers. So we asked for a few bottles of each of those items to be able to hand out.

---And wow did they respond! We got 26 tubes of polysporin, 30 bottles of prenatal vitamins to give out and around 40 bottles of children’s tylenol! My mini-pharmacy is re-stocked! 

Some other numbers? I counted up a bit (even though some things had been put away) and we got roughly 350 Ziplock bags, 35 packs of mac and cheese sauce mix, 50 packs of nacho cheese sauce mix (wow I better throw a huge Mexican food party now!) around 80 packs of instant flavoured oatmeal and a huge bag of twist ties (from which I hear one man raided Safeway’s whole stock!)

carepack

Now the reason I write this isn’t just because it is exciting to get all this stuff. Don’t get me wrong, it was like Christmas day! You can’t see it in the picture (because I had already put it away!) but there were also books, kids dress up clothes, lego, cheddar cheese, two great thermarest camping pads for when we are sleeping in villages, donated small cameras to use for a ministry, coffee beans and many other things. It was so much fun. There were letters and cards from dear friends and family and their words touched my heart and brought great encouragement. But the greatest gift of all was the support behind it. This is our church family and friends who all got excited about sending something tangible our way, to help our ministry and encourage us. This isn’t one family or a small group. As a whole community they chose to get involved in a “BIG LOVE” way with our work here in Niger. We opened a giant hockey bag full of things you had sent to love us and the people we work with. This gift was indicative of a connection to us and our work. We are the hands of those who are back home, yet we are still connected and working together. That is the greatest gift of all!

To those of you out there who know people working far away from comfort, family and home – why don’t you send them an email? a letter? a package of goodies? or pick up the phone and just call. Nothing means more than knowing you are loved and cared for and still connected even when far away. And for yourselves- know that God loves you in a BIG LOVE sort of way. He has a whole giant hockey bag just waiting to open up with blessings and love for you. His nature is overwhelming, unabashed love.

Thank you so much Rockyview  and the others that dropped things off – for being the feet to my hands, the grocery cart to my grocery list and the pack horse for the luggage! To each of you who have ever loved us through care packs, letters, emails and phone calls- we appreciate you so much. And to those of you who are now eating many boxes of plain macaroni noodles without their cheese packs- we thank you!

You blessed us in a BIG LOVE way!!

- Paul, Chantelle, Bennett & Arielle

1 comment :

Cheryl said...

soooo glad, happy that you guys have enjoyed what Rockyview sent. It was such fun to see all the items that people brought..we asked for a few things.. and you see what we received. Need any KD noodles?? ;)