Jessalyn is not impressed by the consumerism of Christmas, so this year, the college sophomore is doing something special to celebrate the holiday: She's asking for a brand-new, $17,000 truck.
College Student Reaches Out to Dalits
Last year, Jessalyn realized that most of the gifts she bought her friends would soon be forgotten, and she felt like God was asking her to do something more with her money. That's when she learned about Gospel for Asia's Christmas Gift Catalog and how she could use it to reach the Dalits of Asia.
Trapped by the caste system in lives of poverty and scorn, the Dalits are deemed worthless at birth and undeserving of any chance at a better life. But poring over the catalog, Jessalyn found blankets, sewing machines, fishing nets and other gifts that would give families the opportunity to make a living and receive a practical expression of Jesus' love.
"It was the most exciting Christmas I have ever had," she says. "I discovered in greater measure the truth of God's Word when it says it is more blessed to give than to receive."
Jessalyn was joined by GFA supporters around the world, who together gave more than 75,000 gifts to impoverished Asian families.
Christmas Catalog Givers Get Creative
When Florence and her husband found out they needed expensive roof repairs, their only option was to ask God to provide. They were relieved to discover that their insurance company would cover the replacement.
"When we looked at the Gospel for Asia Christmas Gift Catalog and saw we could buy a roof for a family, we felt God wanted us to bless a family in India with the same blessing we have received ourselves," Florence says.
Katie didn't have enough spare funds for gifts, so she started a business. Putting their scrapbooking skills to use, Katie and her friends began making and selling Christmas cards so she could purchase a water buffalo. She received enough business the following year to buy a Jesus Well.
Other supporters found ways to give up date nights, smart phones, lattes and even their own Christmas gifts so they could use the money saved to help needy families in Asia.
Parents watched in astonishment as their sons and daughters took on extra chores and new jobs so they could buy more than 3,000 pigs, 8,000 pairs of rabbits and 6 million Gospel tracts for other children in need.
"It really makes me feel like I am a part of the work GFA is doing," says Sandra, a mom who gave up part of her clothing budget.
Givers Prepare for 2012 Christmas Catalog
As December approaches, many GFA friends already have plans in full swing for accomplishing their 2012 gifting goals.
After the joy she experienced giving gifts in honor of her friends last year, Jessalyn felt God calling her to go bigger this year and buy a heavy duty vehicle to carry missionaries, their equipment and the Gospel across Asia. The price tag was a bit intimidating to the 19-year-old, though.
"How could I find the $17,000 I needed to purchase this truck?" Jessalyn recalls wondering. "I knew I couldn't do it on my own."
So she started a MyGFA campaign, created a Facebook page, put together a video and began sharing at churches—and people have been excited to join her.
"I have been immensely blessed by watching God move and work in amazing ways," she says.
This year, you can join in the experience of seeing God work in thousands of lives this Christmas.
Whether it's with a heavy duty vehicle or an $11 pair of chickens, giving up a date night or doing a catalog gift exchange, there are all kinds of ways to bless a needy family in Asia and tangibly show them Christ's love. You may even discover that it's your most exciting Christmas yet!
Published 2012 Gospel for Asia
*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are GFA stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.