Taun Cortado at 972-300-3379 or tauncortado@gfa.org

CARROLLTON, TEXAS — How does a pair of rabbits, chickens, pigs or goats relate to the greatest gift of all?

By being a part of the “Critter Campaign” (www.gfa.org/info/critter)<span>,</span> an annual Christmas-season program of Gospel for Asia (GFA), gifts of livestock give impoverished families in South Asia an opportunity to have their daily needs met, provide a long-term income source and open the door to hear about God’s ultimate gift — the love of Jesus.

GFA’s “Critter Campaign” runs through the end of the year and allows individuals, churches and ministries the chance to choose from 19 different gift options. In addition to animals, gifts also include Bibles, water wells and scholarships. For only a few dollars, givers can literally change the lives of families in some of the poorest areas of the world.

“As shoppers in the West head out to malls with their gift lists, people in other parts of the world are straining for their next meal,” said Dr. K. P. Yohannan, founder and international director of Gospel for Asia (GFA). “But these gifts of a goat or a sewing machine not only make a difference in their lives, they help break their cycle of poverty and literally change a family’s life.”

Three days a week — whether rain or shine — Tarala and her family begged on the streets, barely earning enough to survive. When Tarala’s parents became sick, as the oldest daughter she needed to do something. Her situation was seemingly hopeless until she met a pastor who offered to enroll her in a sewing class. She learned quickly, but she still faced a problem: she couldn’t afford a sewing machine.

That’s when she received the gift of a sewing machine through GFA’s “Critter Campaign.” Since then, Tarala has opened a dress shop, and business has boomed — so much so that she was able to purchase a second sewing machine and teach her younger sister the trade. Tarala is now teaching others in her village how to sew, literally changing her family’s life and those of an entire community.

When a family is presented with a gift, a local pastor or worker will also share the love of Christ with them. Most families who receive gifts are considered Dalits or “Untouchables.” The gifts and good news about Jesus communicate to them they are loved and cared for by God.

Bible study groups, sports teams, extended families and friends are encouraged to join together for a group project, such as a well that will provide clean water for an entire community. Some donors will choose to give these Christmas gifts in honor of a loved one or in lieu of traditional gift exchanges.

Last year through GFA more than 100,000 gifts were purchased for impoverished families in South Asia. This year the ministry hopes to exceed that mark.

GFA partners with more than 650 Christian radio stations across the country for its “Critter Campaign”. Listings for Yohannan’s “The Road to Reality” radio show can be found at www.roadtoreality.org.

“When Jesus walked the earth, much of His work was to those who were considered ‘untouchable’ by others in society,” said Yohannan. “He came to give life and demonstrate love to all – regardless of their situation in life. We are carrying on Jesus’ mission by loving and caring for those whom society considers unworthy. But they are not unworthy to Jesus, or to us.”

Gospel for Asia (www.gfa.org) is a mission organization based in Carrollton, Texas, involved in sharing the love of Jesus across South Asia.