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.

What about a gift given or received that is a true sacrifice? We have been so tremendously humbled in the past weeks with some of the most seriously sacrificial gifts we could imagine.

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.

Adzeliah asked if we would visit her one day. This in itself was a bit of a sacrificial gift on our part…the gift of time! However, Adzeliah demonstrated the true act of sacrificial giving when she handed us two of her hand-gathered eggs which she pulled out of a small bucket stored under her bed. As well, she uncovered four of the most beautiful avocados you can ever imagine.
Angna is a widow, a mother and grandmother. She is blind. She often appears at the main gate of Many Hands with one of her children hoping to find some provisions for her family when often she has nothing of her own to offer them. Yet Angna also has mastered the art of sacrificial giving. She insists on giving us the gift of several ‘joumou’; in English… pumpkins. She first comes with three large joumou. I have a ‘macouti’, a handmade basket, that has exactly just enough space for them. BUT, she offers a fourth. My mind is calculating… ‘how can I transport all these?’ and my thoughts are fixed on the fact that I still have to purchase and transport a ‘flat’ of eggs (30 eggs) on my way home. This puts my skills and my ‘mini van’, AKA scooter, to the test! How thankful can one be for a ‘Haitian bungy cord’ and that a pumpkin has a stem?
Bayade and his wife and grandson blessed us with sacrificial gifts from their yard.
The delicacy of ‘nature’s Gatorade’, drinking straight from the coconut shell. A straw would be a luxury but not a necessity. And then the fresh meat of the coconut! Grandpa Bayade has taught his grandson some good machete skills.

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.

AND then there is the gift of a …… CHICKEN! This handsome Cock came from Erfisa (on the left). Erfisa’s gratitude comes from the fact that she has a house to live in. Another act of sacrificial giving. (There is MORE to this story… check back in again for the rest!)

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?!

Here is Joslin (center) with his father. You have ‘met’ them before! They both have limited mobility and are so grateful for their mobility carts. Joslin works hard in his raised bed garden and also has a garden with peanuts which he offers in the black sack as a gift.

Roasted to perfection, they are beautiful AND delicious! This is one of Haiti’s best sources of protein.

You have met Elence before as well. He has a job with MH as a community spiritual helper. He lives in the community of Fontenn and assists MH ‘beje espirityel’, spiritual shepherds, by being attentive to the spiritual needs of his neighbors. Here he offers these beautiful papaya direct from his garden.
And of course the classic gift. A pigeon. Now what does one do with a pigeon? Well maybe ‘re-gifting’ is in store!

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.

Charite offered to share the ‘patat griye’, roasted potato, he had prepared for own lunch that day. So lunch for one became lunch for three! No butter, no salt, no pepper, no sour cream, no fork or plate… just pure delicious flavor. Lunch was over, the honey sale was complete and Herby and I were headed back to civilization. I told Herby I understood and appreciated his effort to help me pay a more reasonable price for the honey but I said that for me, this honey is like an expensive perfume. It is a precious gift we get to give to our kids that in a small way expresses our love for each of them. Charite’s honey is a one-of-a-kind gift that no one else can give them. Through Herby’s smile I could tell he understood.

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.

Milor had nothing to offer except her blessing of prayer. Milor received life-saving medical care with the help of MH “Komite Jenewozite”, MH Benevolence Committee. She prays for us… protection, good health, and for God’s blessing to come back to us.

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.

These and other sacrificial gifts we have been humbled to receive is in itself a very precious reminder of our truest treasure. The gift of God’s one and only son, Jesus Christ. We can bring our worship and praise before the LORD as a gift.

“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.