APC 28th October 2020 Babushka and Team Hope Shoe Box Appeals
Welcome and Introduction
Good morning everyone and welcome to our Midweek worship. Last week we reflected on what it means to pray “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
One of the lessons we learned was that this phrase is an example of ‘parallelism’ – the second part of the sentence explains or reinforces the first. That means that to pray for God’s Kingdom to come, is to pray that this world and the experience of all its inhabitants will become a bit more like what it currently is in heaven. People in heaven are always happy, they live in harmony. There is no pain or suffering there. So if we pray this prayer and really mean it, we are asking God to bring about these realities in our world and in the lives of the people around us. But perhaps even more importantly, when we pray this prayer, we are offering ourselves to God to be willing to be the answer to our own prayers.
The pandemic that we are living through has given all of us a deep realization of the devastating effects of sin on this world, for ultimately that is the source of all viruses and diseases that cause illness and even death. So as we pray this prayer each week, God sets before us the challenge – what can we do to help relieve the suffering or bring God’s light and hope to someone else even in the midst of the difficulties we are facing?
The answer to that question will look different for all of us. For some of us it will mean getting the groceries for an elderly parent every week.
For others it will mean coaching a sports team to enable our young people to maintain their physical and mental well-being.
For some of us it will mean having the courage to keep putting ourselves on the frontline caring for people in schools, shops, hospitals and residential care homes.
For many of us it may be as unglamorous as cleaning down the counters in the kitchen and wiping the door handles around the house or spending extra time with our children to keep them entertained and happy during this next 6 weeks of restricted activities.
The point is that all of life is spiritual and every day God gives all of us opportunities to let His Kingdom come in any number of small but significant ways as we get our eyes off ourselves and focus on how we can help the lives of the people around us.
So in light of that, this morning I want to bring your attention to two opportunities for how you and I can bring a little bit of God’s Kingdom into the lives of other people through the Babushka and Team Hope Show Box Appeals. These are two charities that Arklow Presbyterian Church has had a close association with over many years.
Since 2006, the charity Pashli have shared God’s love and care at Christmas in Belarus by distributing wrapped shoeboxes filled with simple gifts for elderly ladies called ‘Babushkas’ and senior men called ‘Dedushkas’. In a country that has been deeply affected by political unrest and the Chernobyl disaster this appeal has made a significant difference in the lives of many elderly people by reminding them that they are special and that someone else in the world is thinking about them. If you would like to prepare and send a shoe box this Christmas to a senior citizen in Belarus then please download this form (HOLD UP) from our church website or the link on our Facebook page and follow the instructions. Please note that the last date for receiving boxes is the 10th of November.
Another way you and I can bring a little of God’s Kingdom to the lives of others is to partner in the work of the charity Team Hope. Founded in 2010, Team Hope work in 14 countries across Africa and Eastern Europe to help children affected by poverty or marginalisation.
They are best known for the Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal which is an annual campaign where thousands of individuals in Ireland donate shoeboxes filled with gifts to be given to children affected by poverty in Africa or Eastern Europe. It is an opportunity to share a little joy and excitement with children who live in circumstances where these can sometimes be in short supply. They also help set up and support self-sustaining projects for the communities where the shoeboxes are distributed.
This year as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions, the Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal has moved online.
It is unfortunately not possible to send gift-filled shoeboxes from Ireland this year, so Team Hope is asking churches, schools, families, friends, communities and businesses to ‘team up for Team Hope’ by donating gift-filled shoeboxes online for children affected by poverty. This will involve designing a personalised shoe box online and donating Euro 20. This will enable local partners in many regions of the world to purchase and make up the gift filled shoe box that you have designed for thousands of children living in some of the poorest parts of Africa and Europe.
So how can we get involved in this? Well sit back and enjoy this year’s Team Hope Video to find out..
TEAM HOPE VIDEO
Over the years there has been a fantastic response to these Shoe Box Appeals by so many of you in our church family. Most of our world lives in conditions of great poverty. At a time when this pandemic has made us acutely aware of how much freedom and all the privileges we normally enjoy, what better way to show our solidarity with the poorest people of our world than by getting involved in these shoe box appeals again this year.
Let’s be the answer to our own weekly prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Let us pray…
Heavenly Father we remember the impact that COVID-19 has had both in Ireland and also on vulnerable communities across the world. We thank you for all the schools, businesses, families and individuals in Ireland that are sharing your hope with others through the Babushka and Team Hope Shoe Box Appeals and through the work of so many other charities. We ask that the overseas partners of Pashli and Team Hope would be kept safe as they are provided with all the resources necessary to distribute shoe boxes to so many people. We pray for the safe delivery of these shoeboxes into the hands of children and the elderly in Africa and Eastern Europe and the difference they will make to all who receive them. We pray that through these gifts that people will know how much they are loved by you and by other people.
Finally Father we pray for the ongoing impact of COVID-19 in the countries where shoeboxes are given out. We ask for this virus to end soon and for the social programmes and sustainable development projects that support the families of children and the elderly to resume at their normal capacity. Thank you for your provision of strength, patience and resources during this season.
Thank you for all your love and all that we have and can still do despite the most recent Covid 19 restrictions.
Help us even in the midst of our own trials to think about the poorest and most vulnerable in our world. Show us what it will mean for each of us to make a difference.
This we ask in Jesus’ name.
Join with me as we say the Lord’s Prayer thoughtfully together…
Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name,
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day, our daily bread, And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us,
And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil,
For Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory,
For ever and ever, AMEN.
Thanks again for logging on everyone. I do hope you enjoyed finding out about the Babushka and Team Hope Shoe Box Appeals. Don’t forget to tune in again on Sunday when we will be reflecting on what it means to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.” In the meantime as always, let me lead you in a benediction after which I invite you to share in saying the Grace together…
Loving God, lead us out into the world, renewed in vigour, in hope, in faith and in purpose. Send us back to live and work for you, sharing your love and living your life through Jesus Christ our Lord. And may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us now and forever more Amen.
Click the link below to upload the Babushka Leaflet
Click the link below to see the team hope website
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.