Our church, Oakbrook, participated in the Advent Conspiracy (watch this video if you have never seen it!)this year. We collected a year end offering to support global & local compassion efforts and encouraged our small groups to also come up with creative ways to serve others during the Christmas season. I am always so proud of our church in times like this. Despite the fact that we live in one of the most economically depressed cities in the United States (~20% unemployment), our people continue to grow in the area of generosity because of their love for Jesus and others. Here is just a snapshot of some great stories that came out of Oakbrook’s 2009 Advent Conspiracy:
-Offering exceeding $25000 to go towards global (Haiti) & local missions!
-“Our group assisted 2 families: One family has not had a full-time job for 3 years and another family who has sent their teenage son to work to help pay the bills. We paid up the teenage son’s lunch account for the remainder of the year.”
-“Our group gave a $275 gift certificate to a family who lost their job and health insurance.”
-“Our group served meals at a local mission. It impacted us greatly and we are planning to go back and serve every few months.”
-“Our group wrapped gifts for the Rescue Mission and then helped deliver the gifts during Christmas week.”
-“Our group bought presents, grocery gift cards, paper goods, and toiletries for 2 families. We are also serving every other month by serving meals at Kokomo Urban Outreach the second Sunday of each month.”
-“Our group helped a family who had lost their dad in an accident earlier in the year. We were able to provide some clothing, shoes, toys, and gift cards so they could have a somewhat ‘normal’ Christmas.”
-“Our group collected $600 to sponsor the needs of someone we know who was going to Haiti. We also committed to contributing a minimum of $100/month toward his expenses for as long as he is there. We also provided gifts for ‘Angel Outreach’, bought diapers & wipes for Healthy Families, wrapped gifts for the Rescue Mission, rang bells for the Salvation army, supported a group member’s trip to Haiti right before Christmas, and made dinner for a group member whose mother passed away.”
“Our group helped 2 families by buying presents for their children. We gave another family $75 for groceries. We also paid for the repair of a windshield for a girl who could not afford this repair. Finally, we visited a retirement home and sang Christmas carols and gave gifts to the residents.”
-I had one group hand me a backpack full of cash ($300) to be given towards a local backpack program that provides food to needy students every weekend.
-“Our group gave about $200 to buy gifts for some children that had just lost their father unexpectedly and because of finances would not be receiving any gifts this year.”
-6 groups in our Young Married Community and many others in our church joined together to provide Christmas to about 75 ‘angels’ at The Community Youth Outreach Center. Every child received a gift (for many this would be their only gift!) and a whole lot of pizza to fill their bellies! These 6 groups also spent a night before Thanksgiving sorting over 800 pairs of socks that would be delivered to needy families by Kokomo Urban Outreach.
Does it get any better than this? Don’t just talk about it, be about it!
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