Christi Gabhart, MH Director of Ministry and Benevolence, shares short stories demonstrating what it means to love like Jesus. Each testimony is an unique expression of friendship and gratitude. Keep reading as Christi reflects on the sacrificial love she has witnessed this past season.
Wouldn’t you say giving and receiving gifts is one of the sweetest things we get to experience in life? Gifts can come in many forms and can be given for a variety of reasons.
What are some of the most precious gifts you can think of… the newest model phone, the latest in electronics, a brand new vehicle, expensive perfume. We hear of the precious gifts brought to Baby Jesus born in a manger…gold and frankincense and myrrh.
For many of our friends here where we live, a ‘stick’ or ‘gode’ of laundry soap would be a precious gift.
Meet Adzeliah. She has no home of her own, certainly no car. You name it… she doesn’t have it! She has no children. Adzeliah lives in a two-room house with her younger brother. She was recently a recipient of a Creole audio bible; quite likely her most prized possession.
I have the gift of sitting and talking with Madame Bayade who also shares a gift… some clippings from her ‘bazilik dou’ plant… sweet basil… that is now planted and producing on MH campus.
We recently had discussion about the MANY chickens that were sharing the MH campus with us. They are noisy and they poop a lot. We determined that we needed to have our security team help get all these chickens back into their owners yards. A follow up conversation with head of security, Kalo, revealed an unknown fact. “Those are all Madame Christi’s chickens, ” says Kalo. “Do you remember before when Madame Christi was given TWO chickens? These all belong to Madame Christi.”
Oh! That is the gift that keeps on giving! Who knew?!
Roasted to perfection, they are beautiful AND delicious! This is one of Haiti’s best sources of protein.
Now, here is where the comparison to expensive perfume comes in. We have a friend named Charite who lives in Papite which would be the perfect “Can you hear me now!” test location for a cell service provider. It is more in the middle of nowhere than most can ever imagine. Charite is a man of many trades, one of which is being a bee-keeper. We met him through our friend Herode (pronouned Ewode) who works with leather and uses the wax from Charite’s honeycomb to pass the needle and thread through when sewing leather machete covers.
We have given the gift of Charite’s honey to our family for Christmas in the past. Last week our friend Herby (pronouned Ebby, pictured here on the right) accompanied me ‘to the middle of nowhere’ to see if Charite had honey to sell. His bees had recently produced one-half gallon. I asked for a price. He told me 5000 gdes. I reached for my money to pay him but Herby indicated he thought the price was too high and negotiating was certainly acceptable. Even so, I paid the asking price.
Below you see our Christmas tree, Charite’s honey ready to give, and the six eggs Charite slipped in a bag just as we left his home.
The family pictured below offered a reminder of how precious it is to be together with extended family. Here is grandma and grandpa, aunts, uncles, cousin all together on an ordinary Tuesday afternoon. The family welcomed baby Woodmykendel home just a few days ago. The woman picture second to the left recently gave birth but the baby died about a month ago. She had lost another child before that. The boy on her left is her one and only son for whom she is grateful.
“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” Matthew 2:10.
John Piper in his Advent devotional book titled “The Dawning of Indestructible JOY” shares these thoughts….
Worshiping Jesus means joyfully ascribing authority and dignity to Christ with the sacrificial gifts. God is not served by human hands as though he needed anything (Acts 17:25). The gifts given to Baby Jesus by the magi were not intended as a form of assistance or for the purpose of meeting a need. They were not royal care packages. These gifts were not meant to be bribes. Then what do the gifts mean? How are they worship? The gifts are intensifiers of desire for Christ himself. When you give a gift to Christ it’s a way of saying, “By giving to you what you do not need and what I might enjoy, I am saying more earnestly and more authentically, YOU are my treasure, not these things.”
May God awaken in each of us a desire for Christ himself. That whatever opposition we may find, we would joyfully ascribe authority and dignity to HIM and bring our gifts to say from the heart that GOD alone can satisfy my heart. That everything, every situation, every circumstance leads to God himself.
This might be what it means to worship God with gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.
So our desire for Christ himself is why we joyfully serve HIM. And we are grateful for our family who continues to say, “GO and serve”. We love you Oliver, Ivy, Lila, and Liam and all our family and friends who ‘send’ us to serve.