The Best Gift of All

Christmas is coming soon! Streets are decorated with Christmas trimmings and we see twinkling lights everywhere. While we look forward to celebrating Christmas and enjoying delicious Christmas meals, some children with disabilities living on the other side of the world may not have a chance to celebrate or even know the true meaning of Christmas.
閱讀中文版 (最好的禮物).
Mary lost her father at a young age. When she was seven years old, her eyes were affected by a rare, inherited disease, retinitis pigmentosa. The visibility in her eyes worsened over time to such an extent that she could only see a small shade of light. In 2002, her mother found out about a school for the visually impaired in a city in southwestern China.  After entrusting Mary’s sister to be looked after by the grandparents, Mary’s mother moved to that city with Mary and enrolled her in the school. They lived in a small flat. Mary’s mom eked a living by collecting trash from the streets. The money which was not much and very inconsistent, went primarily towards Mary’s younger sister’s living expenses and Mary’s education.  Life was very hard.

Unlike life in the United States, it is uncommon for people in China to celebrate Christmas. From the perspective of one who lived below the poverty line, Mary thought of Christmas as a “western festival” that was totally unrelated to her.

Nevertheless, Mary had an opportunity to learn about the true meaning of Christmas while she attended the school for the visually impaired. Although she has not yet believed in Jesus, she now has a new understanding of Christmas:

“Since childhood, I have received gifts from my friends and family during different holiday seasons. However, Christmas is my favorite. Because of my impairment, I studied at a school for the visually impaired when I was in a first grade. Almost every student had to live in the school where the living conditions were very bad and we didn’t have enough to eat. However, Christmas is a festival which we longed to celebrate because Rainbows Missions’ aunties and uncles visited us from Seattle. They bought us chicken drumsticks and burgers, and we sang Christmas carols together.  Years later, after having enrolled in university, RM’s aunties and uncles still keep in touch with me and blessed me greatly. There is no doubt that Lunar New Year is the most important festival in China; however, Christmas is now a significant festival to me. Thank you RM’s aunties and uncles for your visits and Christmas gifts. Your warm hugs and encouragement are my best Christmas gift!”

In the past seven years, RM has organized annual trips to this school to spend time to celebrate Christmas with visually impaired students.Through singing of Christmas carols, presenting Christmas gifts, and hosting delicious meals of chicken drumsticks and burgers, we have shared about the birth of Jesus Christ and have manifested God’s love to them.

The value of a gift is not measured by money. From Mary’s point of view, a warm hug and encouragement has been her best Christmas gift. Just as God sent His Son, Jesus, to live amongst us and to give His life as a sacrifice for us, we invite you to join us in sharing this love and Christmas message to children with disabilities and their caregivers in China. Together, we can remind them that they are loved and cared for. Our goal is to raise $10,000 to bless them with a simple gift and a Christmas meal, to provide local organizational support in the form of training and purchase of resources, and to provide a crisis fund for medical emergencies and unforeseen hardship.

  • (Item 1&2) A Christmas gift & meal for disabled children or youth and their special                                        education teachers
  • (Item 3)     A Christmas gift to provide training & resources to teachers and volunteers
  • (Item 4)    Crisis fund for medical emergencies and unforeseen hardship

If you would like to be part of this effort to bless these children with disabilities and their caregivers, please indicate how you would like to bless them and make your donation online at https://www.therainbows.org/christmas-giving-2017/. Alternatively, you can mail your check to Rainbow Missions, PO Box 1526, Renton, WA 98058. Please state “Christmas Giving: Item (no.)” in the memo line. Thank you!

最好的禮物

聖誕節快到了!大街小巷都掛滿了聖誕的裝飾,閃爍著的綵燈點亮了每個角落,而聖誕大餐和互送禮物更是一個不可少的環節。然而,當我們在這普天同慶的節日正興高彩烈地慶祝的時候,生活在地球另一邊的殘障孩子,可能從未有機會和條件像我們一般慶祝,更未必知道什麼是聖誕節的真正意義。

從小已失去父親的小孟在七歲的時候,不幸地被診斷患上了視網膜色素變性(病變),從此她的視力逐漸衰退,最後只剩下微弱的光感。2002年,母親得知在國內西南邊的一個城市有一所盲校,就毅然決定把小孟的妹妹委託給外公外婆照顧,獨自帶著小孟到盲校上學,母女倆住在鐵皮小屋裏,靠著撿回收垃圾來維持生活。收入微薄又不穩定,加上要支付妹妹在老家的生活費,還有小孟的學費等,她們的生活實在十分拮据艱辛。

相對於美國,在國內慶祝聖誕節的活動並沒有那麼普及,對生活在貧窮線下的小孟來說,聖誕節只是一個西方的節日,跟自己扯不上任何關係。

然而,自從小孟進了盲校以後,她有機會聽到聖誕節的真正意義,雖然至今仍未決志信主,但卻對聖誕節有了新的詮釋︰

「從小至今,無論是過生日還是過節,多多少少都收到過很多禮物。但是,唯有每一年的聖誕禮物是我最喜歡,也是讓我最開心的。因為從小視力不好,所以從一年級開始就在盲校上學。盲校的孩子幾乎都是住校的,每天只是吃食堂的大鍋飯,生活條件十分差。然而,只有每一年的聖誕節,是我們最盼望的日子,因為彩虹工程的老師們總是從遙遠的西雅圖為我們送上禮物和溫暖。我還記得在聖誕節的那天,是我們全校師生最幸福的日子,大家團聚在一起,聽彩虹工程的叔叔阿姨唱聖誕歌,吃著他們送來的雞腿和漢堡,真是美味極了!甜在嘴裡,暖在心上。後來我考上了大學,彩虹工程的叔叔阿姨還一如既往的為我們送上祝福和關心。在中國最盛大的節日莫過於春節了,而現在,聖誕節在我心中的意義非凡。每逢那一天,總會讓我思念起遠在西雅圖的叔叔阿姨們,思念你們溫暖的手掌和擁抱,想念你們所帶給我幸福的味道,謝謝你們送給我的聖誕禮物,也是最好的禮物!」

彩虹工程在過去有七年的聖誕節,都是在小孟曾就讀的盲校與視障學生們一同渡過的。透過分享聖誕詩歌、送贈禮物、雞腿和漢堡,(也在受助學生就讀大學後,郵寄禮物給每位學生),用生命見証神的愛,把基督降生的意義和祝福傳遞到他們的心中。

禮物的價值並不是用金錢來衡量的。對於小孟來說,最好的禮物莫過於叔叔阿姨對他們不離不棄的關懷與鼓勵。他們每一次的探訪和每一個擁抱都成為了殘障孩子們生命中最美的祝福。上帝把衪的獨生兒子耶穌基督賜給我們,住在我們的中間,衪就是我們最好的禮物,你願意回應上帝對我們的愛嗎? 彩虹工程摯誠邀請你與我們同工,一起把上帝的愛和聖誕的信息帶給國內殘障兒童及他們的照顧者和老師,使他們知道自己也是被愛和被祝福的一群。我們今年的目標是籌得$10,000來送出這份聖誕的祝福—透過簡單的禮品與食物、提供培訓資源、並預備緊急援助基金,我們盼望為100多位國內殘障兒童、老師和照顧者傳遞關愛:

  • (項目1)為殘障兒童和青年送上衣服、圍巾、個人護理用品,並聖誕餐點;
  • (項目2)為特殊教育老師及復康治療師送上聖誕禮物及聖誕餐點;
  • (項目3)為特殊教育老師、復康治療師和義工提供培訓資源;
  • (項目4)為有醫療及其他緊急需要的殘障兒童預備緊急援助基金。

若你願意在這個普天同慶的日子為他們傳遞關愛和祝福, 歡迎你們到https://www.therainbows.org/christmas-giving-2017/選擇捐獻禮物的項目並作出捐獻,或把支票寄往Rainbow Missions, PO BOX 1526, Renton, WA 98057。支票抬頭請寫Rainbow Missions,並註明「Christmas Giving: 項目(號碼)」。謝謝!

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