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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Night of Giving

Tonight we had our monthly 4H club meeting.  The main part of the business meeting was the norm for our club....project and committee reports with a little new business thrown in.  However, I wanted to focus on three things that occurred tonight that made the meeting a night of giving back to our community.

First, we had an awesome idea thanks to some great thinking on the part of some of the moms.  We wanted to do something different for refreshments this month.  Really in the past years we have not even had a club meeting in December so the issue of what to do for refreshments has never come up.  This year (due to our meeting date changed to earlier in the month) we had a regular meeting.  In the past we exchange our regular club meeting for a community service outreach (Salvation Army bell ringing...Christmas caroling...etc).

I thought we could combine our refreshments with a community outreach project.  We could have an old-fashioned cookie exchange!  However, instead of taking cookies home ourselves, we could give the cookies to a charity organization.  I sent a message out to the other moms who were signed up for refreshments and the idea grew into a full blown Christmas charity for a local women's shelter.  We made contact with the shelter and the director suggested that we gather cleaning supplies and toiletries for the families at the shelter.  It turned out that we had the same number of families in our club that were at the shelter!  It was a perfect match!

In reality, it turned out better than could be imagined.  Our club members were very generous in their donations.  We had enough cookies to fill a nice size tub with an assortment of goodies.  We also filled a basket for each family with various cleaning supplies.  These will be taken to the shelter tomorrow for distribution.  This will also include several special items that club members made or purchased above and beyond the requested items.  And...there are blankets and a quilt that we had set aside from last spring to add to the assortment of gifts.

Then we discussed serving lunch at the VA Clinic.  The last couple of months have difficult for our club to keep this activity going.  I was not sure if our club wanted to continue for the next year.  I could not continue to lead the activity myself (although we want to help), so I gave several options (including stopping the activity altogether).  The main thing that was needed was someone to lead the activity.  After the meeting, I had two moms volunteer to help lead.  I think we will be able to continue to help our local veterans each month.  I am so glad because it means so much to our family to see the veterans served in this small way.  I am looking forward to continuing this effort.

The last thing that I wanted to share from the meeting was our guest speaker.  At the last minute, the planned guest speaker lost his voice and could not attend our meeting.  Kevin (our Vice President) quickly thought of a replacement...his church youth pastor.  A great he was very comfortable talking to youth and he had a great message (it went right along with what our family had as a focus for our daily Advent devotion!).  He talked about the angels announcing to the shepherds the Good News (Luke 2:8-20).

What I thought was so fitting was the connection he made in this one line of the passage.  In Luke 2:14, we hear the angels say, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."  The pastor spoke about this in two parts.  First, Jesus comes to give glory to His Father in heaven.  Second, Jesus comes to give us peace on earth.  It is the two levels of being that are connected because of Jesus.  God in heaven is glorified and men are given peace...the greatest gift we can give to God is glory and the greatest gift He can give to us is peace. God does not need a gift but he is always deserving of glory.  We desperately need peace and can only find it through the sacrifice Jesus offers us by becoming man and dying for our sins.  Jesus bridges he gap between heaven and earth!  Praise be to God!

A great meeting and a wonderful way to lead us into the Christmas season.  I am so glad we were able to share all of these gifts as a 4H all ways we were able to truly share the spirit of 4H to "make the best better!"

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