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Christmas is well and truly on its way! The advertising has been telling us this for a few weeks now. I’m sure we all have that one friend who’s had their tree up for a long time. If you have children, the anticipation will be palatable!

I love the Christmas season, the traditions, the food and the chance to catch up with family and friends at various events and celebrations. It’s such a special time. However, our mission partners on the field miss out on much of the Christmas festivities if they aren’t able to make it back to NZ. In fact, Christmas can be a really lonely time as social media feeds are overflowing with family gatherings and feelings of ‘missing out’ rise to record heights. So as a supporting church or individual what can you do to support your mission partner
this year? I’m glad you asked! Here are a few practical ideas and tips for sharing the festive feeling with those serving overseas:

Real Mail – It’s so nice to receive physical mail with handwriting in it at Christmas. Emails are awesome but there is something extra special about physical mail at this time of year. Last year my church (Lifezone) had pen and paper available after several Sunday services alongside mission partner profiles so that anyone in the congregation could send them a hand written Christmas message. Imagine the delight in receiving an envelope full of personal messages!

Care Packages – While we all know and deeply value the true and precious meaning of Christmas, there are also modern traditions (and flavours) wrapped around the annual celebration. While postage can be expensive, there is something extra special about enjoying a few familiar flavours and rituals at Christmas. Package suggestions: Whitakers chocolate, Pineapple Lumps, advent calendars for those with kids, a fruit cake or Tim Tam biscuits. TIP: Some countries have high taxes on parcels sent from overseas. So it might pay to check first before leaving your MP with high postage levees. Also with the rise of food intolerances it would be wise to check with the MP or family members what kind of food would be most enjoyed.

Christmas Messages – If you have someone who’s a bit tech savvy in your congregation, arrange for a special Christmas recording that includes a congregational message as well as individual messages from family and friends. TIP: Some countries or remote locations have limited or expensive internet access. So find this out before you email your recorded Christmas greetings.

Gift Cards – If physical mail and data heavy messages are a problem then gift cards are always a great way to bypass these issues. With devices like Kindles and the increase of global companies you can easily get gift cards that will be suitable. Most websites give the option of physical or digital gift cards to make sending easy. A few suggestions are Amazon.com (for physical books, general items and ebooks), bookdepository.com (Book Depository provides free shipping worldwide as well as eBook and audio book options), iTunes or Google Play gift cards (these can be used to purchase music and movies, you might even like to suggest one you think they will enjoy) TIP: It would pay to check on the type technology they use i.e. Apple vs Android before you make your purchase to ensure the recipient is able to use them.

Charlie Shadbolt
GC3 Youth Director




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