Earlier this month I had the incredible opportunity to make my first visit to our hospital in the Dominican Republic. During my trip, I was able to spend some time in our hospital and witness the physical and spiritual healing that takes place there every day. I was also blessed to meet our amazing staff face to face and to spend some time learning about all the different needs for volunteers at the hospital.
One of the most memorable experiences from my trip was my visit to Lia’s house. Lia was born with bilateral radial club hands, a deformity that causes the arms to be short and bent. After a series of surgeries to fix her fingers and straighten her arms, beautiful little Lia, who is three years old, is now able to use both her arms to play and dance with her little sister. Lia’s mom was so thankful for the change in Lia that she wrote a nine page letter to the hospital thanking them for healing Lia. It was amazing to see a CURE success story like Lia in person.
Since I have been back from the Dominican Republic, I have been thinking about Lia and the fact that, although she is on her way to being cured, there is still a lot of work to be done in the Dominican Republic. There are thousands of children like Lia who still need help. There is also a need for help at the hospital. As Christmas quickly approaches and I have turned my attention to gift giving, I have become even more convicted about the real needs around the world. In America, very few of us truly understand what it is like to need something.
The gifts we give are often to fulfill our wants, and while there is nothing wrong with this, I am convinced that the greatest gifts we can give have nothing to do with wrapping paper and bows. Sometimes the greatest gift we can give is the gift of our time, our talents, and our lives to others. In fact, the reason we celebrate Christmas is because of God’s greatest gift to us, His Son, Jesus. God calls us to give of ourselves as well. I am humbled by our hospital staff as they give of their time and talents to bring the gift of healing to children.
As the New Year approaches, I have been challenged by their example to find ways to give more of my time, talents, and resources to furthering God’s kingdom. I hope that as we consider the gift of God’s Son this Christmas and look ahead to a new year, we all can consider giving more of ourselves to God’s work. Perhaps God is calling you this year to take part in fulfilling a need in a child’s life. If so, I hope you consider fulfilling that need in partnership with CURE. There are a number of ways to get involved such, as donating toward a child’s surgery through the CUREkids program. Or, take a more “hands on approach” and consider going on a short-term missions trip this year; there are opportunities for all kinds of volunteers.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Let’s all work together to make the world a little better in 2012.
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