Grace Extending

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Way of Grace Family!

Looking for a simple way to bless others this Christmas... even if they live thousands of miles away? Here's your chance. We want to send an expanded Christmas 'e-card' to all of the individuals around whom our Away Teams have been formed. This includes:
1. VALERIE in the Philippines
2. ANTONNY in Ecuador
3. The LAUSTSEN and MURRAY families in Quebec
All we need from you is a photo and a greeting and/or note to all of these individuals (see samples below). We will then compile these into a kind of digital Christmas card 'book'. Just think about the blessing for these individuals to receive a Christmas greeting from abroad, and even more so, to see the faces and names behind the label, "Way of Grace Church"! 
Ready to contribute? Send these items in an e-mail to Joy:
1. Full name(s), first name(s), or family name (e.g., "The Morgan Family")
2. A recent or semi-recent photo (don't underestimate what a blessing a photo can be!) If you do not have one on hand, we have some from events and such that we could use (if you have genuine concerns about us including a photo of you or your family, just let us know).
3. A greeting and maybe a note to these individuals. It could be simple like:
"Wishing you and those whom you love a blessed Christmas in light of God's greatest gift to us. Praying for you! With love, Jane Doe."
Or it could include more, especially a few things about yourself:
"Even though we live thousands of miles apart, we are so glad to be connected with you by God's grace and for Jesus his Son. We live in the desert here in Arizona, so our weather is usually really nice at Christmas. Some people here will even decorate a cactus with Christmas lights! Our kids are 3 and 6 and enjoy going to the park and riding bikes. We hope your Christmas and the new year in 2021 is full of God's blessings and a growing faith in Christ. Merry Christmas, the Rogers Family"
I found the letter-writing tips (see below) from Compassion International to be helpful in general. But remember, this will be going to all three locations (the Philippines, Ecuador, and Quebec), thus the greeting/note should be addressed generically, rather than to a specific individual (e.g., "Dear Antonny...").
PLEASE send us your photo and greeting/note by November 1.
And no, you do not need to be part of an Away Team to help (we'd love everyone's help!). But this is a great time to let us know that you'd also be willing to commit to one of these Teams. It simply involves a commitment to pray, at least once a month, for that particular individual or team (learn more HERE). 
I'm so excited for us to be a blessing, as a faith family, in this way. Grace to you!
Pastor Bryce

Letter Writing TIPS (from Compassion International):

Here are some topics that work well:

  • Describe your family. Share everything you are comfortable sharing that is age appropriate for your sponsored child.

  • Talk about your children, parents, cousins, siblings, pets. etc. Tell stories about family members and friends, and tell your sponsored child why you’re thankful for them.

  • Talk about your favorite memories. Talk about your childhood. Share funny stories (remember that time Fido ate the Thanksgiving turkey right off the table when the family wasn’t looking?!)

  • Be sure to include photos of everyone. Sponsored children love to receive pictures of their sponsors' families.

  • Discuss your favorite pastimes. Explain what you did on vacation. Talk about the hobbies or sports you enjoy.

  • A description of your work, church or school would be of interest to your sponsored child. Work is an especially appropriate topic for older children.

  • Talk about your relationship with Jesus Christ. Your words can help your sponsorship child understand that God is real.

  • As you share prayer requests and remind your child that you are praying for him or her, share favorite Bible verses, and talk about your own faith journey, this will help shape your child’s journey as well.

  • Explain customs for special holidays. Tell your sponsored child how you celebrate Christmas or why Easter is such a big deal to your family. Share Fourth of July memories and write about the history of the holiday.

  • Just as you are interested to know about your child and family, they are delighted to hear details from you. Be careful not to talk too much about gifts, though, as children in poverty rarely receive gifts.

  • Provide a general description of the area where you live (no specific addresses, please). Share educational and fun information. Be descriptive and send photos if you have some.

The list above is a good starting point for exploring together what you have in common. There are, however, a few things to avoid, things that might make your sponsored child feel uncomfortable or create expectations that can't be met. These include:

  • Elaborating on your material possessions (for example, the size of your home or kind of car you drive). This will only accentuate the difference between you and your child.

  • Suggesting that your sponsored child visit the United States.

  • Using slang or colloquialisms that would be difficult to translate or understand.

  • Asking what your sponsored child would like as a gift from you. In many countries we serve, such a question puts a child in a very awkward social position.