Note: The December issue informed us of a gift of more than 6,000 household items provided by the staff of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund. The article also referenced a “Christmas Giveaway” event to be held at the Peace Center on December 20 and 21. Here, Rev. Stanish Stanley tells us about it.
After staging the items during the morning of December 19 and 20, the Giveaway took place the evenings of the 20th and the 21st. Distributions were made by ethnic communities, and the response from all these New American friends was both enthusiastic and contagious. Francis Nkenyere from the Congo, on seeing his gift bag that included washing detergents, soaps, shampoos, hygiene items, paper towels, toilet paper, clothes, and blankets, exclaimed, “Ahh . . . this is very good. My family will love this!”
A total of 79 families from seven ethnic communities came to the Peace Center for the Giveaway as per the following: Nepali (17); Eritrean-Ethiopian (8); Liberian-Sierra Leone (9); Congolese (6); Syrian (12); Sudanese (2), and Afghan (25). Together, they counted for over 400 New Americans. More than 25 volunteers, including the Missouri District president, Rev. Dr. Lee Hagan, and his daughter, Caroline, turned out to help with arranging and distributing the items. All who participated were blessed in their own special way, as Mrs. Candy Redel confided: “It was a blessing for me to serve at CFNA. . . . Thank you for all you do!”
For bringing Christmas cheer into the lives of our New American families, CFNA remains thankful to our generous donors and all our volunteer participants, one of CFNA’s primary strengths. In their various roles, they represented the “gifting spirit” of our Lord during this past Christmas season. As we give our thanks to them, we also thank our Ministry Facilitators for working to ensure that members of their ethnic communities were among the recipients.
Most of all, we thank our gracious Lord who came to live with us, so that we might live with Him.
Prepared by Pastor Stanish Stanley
Executive Director, CFNA
Christ Community Lutheran Church