My friend Shannon and I have never met in real life, but that hasn’t stopped her from encouraging me a bazillion times over the past many months (years? I can’t remember when we met!).
I love, love, LOVE her heart for the poor and refugees and orphans and pretty much THE WORLD. She shared a story with me recently about her friend Marzia, and I knew I had to share it with all of you.
<–Marzia is a widow (originally from Afghanistan) who came to the States as a refugee after living in Ukraine for 12+ years. She brought 7 of her kids with her–three boys ages 7, 12, and 15, and four girls ages 16, 18, 21, and 27.
Shannon’s family met 5 of the kids last year when they lived at a Christian Children’s Center in Ukraine. And here’s a cool God story. Shannon and her husband fell in love with a teenage boy from the Children’s Center and tried to adopt him, but it fell through. That boy’s best friend? Is Marzia’s oldest son who is now at Shannon’s house every day!
I’m going to let Shannon share a little about Marzia & Kiddos in her own words:
I’m most struck by the joy that radiates from these kids and the hope that pours out of them, even with all they’ve overcome and all the new starts they’ve had to make as a family. They’ve packed up and left every blessed thing they own multiple times, and instead of becoming anxious about their “stuff,” they are people who give of what they have freely. The teens joined our youth group on a missions trip this summer, and they loved spending their energy and time investing in kids and serving the poor and homeless.
Three of the kids are now 3-sport athletes, and they’re wonderful students, too, never having spoken English before moving to the States a year ago. Their mom speaks very little English, but she speaks the language of hospitality like nobody’s business. We’ve had more dinner parties at her home than I’ve had with ANY of my neighbors (by the way, God found them a home to rent only THREE houses from mine!!!! Cool!) in the 10 years I’ve lived in this house.
Every time we get together, we do crazy Afghani dancing (I am not good at this, but I think I might be amusing to watch, at least), we play UNO with “Ukrainian rules” which has us in stitches, and I’ve never seen any people get more excited to celebrate a birthday than this group. They know how to live extravagantly in spirit. They bless my socks off continually.
Shannon’s hope and prayer this Christmas season is to find some generous folks (like YOU!) who would be willing to bless Marzia with gift cards to Wal-Mart or Target, so she can go Christmas shopping for her 7 kiddos.
This is a mama who works so, so hard to provide for her family and is a wonderful steward of what she has, but there’s just no extra for Christmas gifts.
Local friends are coming together to buy them a tree and Christmas decorations and some “some secret-blessing-gifts waiting from Jesus under the tree,” but wouldn’t it be cool to get her the gift of being able to choose something for her own kiddos from their mama?
Oh, I think so.
Please consider blessing this dear family in this easy, but oh-so-special way. E-mail me, and I’ll give you the details for mailing (or e-mailing) the gift card. Or leave a comment, and I’ll get in touch with you! THANK YOU, friends!!!