Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Card 2009

We did not do the typical christmas cards this year. We both had something a lot different on our hearts this year and decided to go in a different direction. We used the money that we normally spend on the cards and postage to purchase postage for 100 letters that we sent out to family and friends.

This letter is one of my three situations that I drop at God's feet every morning. I haven't told anyone other than Dave this, but I've been praying for 100% participation. I don't think we will get that - we've had several people tell us they won't be giving. However, I'm still praying for it because God can change some minds:) I also know that this could easily become a matter of self-fullfillment and pride for me and I lay that at His feet as well. The response to this letter is not an indicator of how well people like me or what they think about me, although I'm tempted to feel wounded by not receiving responses from some people. This letter is teaching me many things. And the response to this letter is completely out of my control. Completely. I did what I felt called to do - I wrote the letter and mailed it to people within my circle of influence. After that I can no longer do anything - only He can.

So I continue to pray that God will move people to give small amounts in the hopes that we will be able to help our little African girls. There have been days where I've been overwhelmed by the generosity of people and tears have been difficult to stop. And there have been days where I've been disappointed because there wasn't anything in our mail. Regardless, I know a couple of things: we have already received more in donations than we could have given on our own and God is working. I am excited to see the results in the next week.

In case you didn't receive an actual letter, I am posting it here... and perhaps you will be moved to help. If you have given already, THANK YOU! If you haven't and would consider a small donation, please email me at and I'll give you my address as I don't want to post it publicly.

Dear Family and Friends,

A couple of years ago our family attended a weekend worship service at Parkview Christian Church and were presented with an opportunity to sponsor a child in Africa through Compassion International (CMF, International). That weekend people from Parkview sponsored almost 800 children - they had such an overwhelming response that they ran out of kids! We took a couple of steps in faith and chose two little girls who were close in age to Nora and Ryann. We have sponsored and prayed for our little girls, Brenda and Priscilla, since then. We have been blessed to have an opportunity to help these girls as well as teach Nora, Ryann and Georgia about other children who live a life that we cannot imagine.

Recently, we received information from CMF International listing 7 possible Christmas gifts that we could provide for Brenda and Priscilla. These gifts are:

* Christmas dinner food basket - $30 - Food "baskets" will be given as a gift to each family within a center. This gift includes: plastic basin with 2 packages of corn flour, 4 lbs. rice, 4 lbs. beans, 2lbs. sugar, 2 lbs. of cooking fat, 2-liter of Coke, tea, salt, and cinnamon.
* Dorms and Classroms - $50 toward building materials - There are current construction projects that will accommodate more children in their education and employ more staff.
* Backpack with school supplies - $20 - School supplies are not easily accessible in the Nairobi slums. The expense is great and hard for parents to provide. A backpack with the necessary supplies will help a student meet classroom goals.
* Sewing machine with business start-up kit - $130 - Women who learn to sew have a trade for employment or to begin their own home-based business. Along with the machine, a woman will receive business training and accountability.
* School shoes - $20 - Although children receive their uniforms for school through the child sponsorship program, they do not recieve shoes. Many families cannot afford this extra expense for their children. School shoes would be appreciated and a source of pride for each child.
* Sweater - $10 - Believe it or not, it gets chilly in Nairobi. A sweater will bring welcome warmth to a boy or girl, expecially on school days.
* Bed at Joska - $110 - The new upper primary boarding school, about 24 miles from the work in Nairobi's slums, has 559 children. Each child has a bed (within a trible bunk bed). A fully outfitted bed includes bed frame, mattress, blankets, and bed sheets.

While each individual option is not a lot of money, we feel conflicted in choosing WHICH gift(s) to provide because each one is needed and important - how do we choose which one is most important? We also realized that for ony $370 we could buy the entire list for one girl. Thats still not a ton of money, but how could we do for one without doing it for the other?

Taking inspiration from John Ortberg who writes that we should ask God, "Lord, how do we make Up There come Down Here?", President Obama who believed he could run a successful campaign with many small contributions, and God who says in Haggai 2 "I am living and breathing among you right now. Don't be timid. Don't hold back", we are asking you for help. Would you help us provide these gifts for Brenda and Priscilla by making a donation - no donation is too small - and by passing this letter on to one of your friends or family members?

Please make checks payable to CMF International (donations are tax deductable) and mail in the enclosed envelope or mail to our home at: David and Jana Dykstra
email me at for address

Thank you for taking the time to read this. You are a meaningful part of our lives and our family. We wish you a wonderful and joyful Christmas as we celebrate God's compassion and tenderness for his people in the gift of his son!


David, Jana, Nora, Ryann and Georgia Dykstra

PS - In lieu of Chirstmas cards this year, we are using the money we normally spend on them to purchase postage for these letters. Please don't be disapppointed when you don't receive the annual cutest-girls-in-the-world photo!


Skooks 11:10 PM  

Yours was my favorite Christmas "card" this year. For real. Can I Paypal you after my payday this week? I don't have checks (I know, what??) and I don't feel terribly secure sending cash through the mail.

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