Goats, pigs, bunnies, chicks, a yak and a llama greeted us at church last week. This could only mean one thing.. it was the highly anticipated Heifer Sunday.
The kids collected change for 3 weeks. They couldn’t wait to see how much money their friends brought to Sunday School in their ark coin banks. Each Sunday School class counted up their nickels, dimes and dollars, pooled their resources, and decided on what to buy: things like honeybees or a share of a water buffalo for impoverished families in other parts of the world. They chatted excitedly, looking over the animals, and discussing the merits of sheep vs. chickens. Which would be better? Which would cost more? How could they get the most for their money?
Heifer International is a nonprofit organization working to end world hunger and poverty through gifts of farm animals and training. Over the past 60 years, Heifer has helped 4.5 million people striving for self reliance in 128 countries, including the United States.
The idea is simple. Instead of providing hungry families with a temporary source of food, Heifer provides a living animal. A family’s health and standard of living is greatly improved by what the animal can provide. Heifer also turns recipients into donors, by asking that an offspring of the first animal be given to someone else. This program lifts up whole communities.
In this season of giving, I want the kids to think of others and not just themselves. I want to show my kids how their gifts can change lives. To that end, I bought a beautiful picture book called Beatrice’s Goat by Page McBrier. Written for 4-8 year olds, Beatrice’s Goat simply but powerfully tells the true story of a 9 year old Ugandan girl whose family receives a goat through Heifer International. She names her Mugisa (“Luck”). Mugisa gives birth to twins, who will eventually be sold. Mugisa’s sweet milk makes Beatrice’s family healthier, and there is enough left over to sell at market. Pretty soon, the family has enough money for Beatrice’s dream to come true. She gets to attend school.
Beatrice received her goat in 1991. Click HERE to see what her life is like now.
What do you want for Christmas? Is a water buffalo on your list? Maybe you already have everything you need, and all you could ask for is Peace on Earth and an end to world hunger. You must check out Heifer’s gift catalog. It just might have exactly what you’re looking for.
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