Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Thanking those who teach us to give.

Grace and peace to you good friends and Merry Christmas!  What a pleasure it is to send greetings to friends and family during this very special season.  

As surely most of you know, I am in the profession of raising funds for Luther College.  I love my job and the wonderful colleagues with whom I am privileged to work.  And I know how very fortunate I am to be able to say this … as there are so many who have no work, or who see their work as unfulfilling, or who might never think of their career as a calling.  How grateful I am for the many opportunities I have to work with generous friends who support causes dear to them.    

For as long as I can remember I have believed that we learn how to give.  

This personal belief has been a guiding force in my life.   I love asking donors “who taught you to give?”  I am convinced that for each of us there is a memory tucked away of someone dear to us, who showed us by example, how to give.  

For me it was my parents.  Among many such teaching moments, I remember most vividly the weekly discipline of putting my envelope in the offering plate at Grace Lutheran Church and watching my parents do the same.   To this day, that profound giving memory and the Offertory that followed: Create in me a clean heart, O God … is etched upon my heart. And how wonderful for so many that this beautiful choral arrangement by Paul J. Christiansen has become the signature piece for Luther’s Africa Choir.   

Abundant memories.  Such is this time of Christmas as we’re surrounded by family.  Looking back.  Looking forward.  Giving thanks for all we hold dear.

Last Wednesday, December 18, Christmas came just a little early for Empowering Learners, and a new and beautiful giving memory was created.   Braylon, the second grade son of my dear colleague Chantel Olufsen, came by Loyalty Hall for a visit.   

This young gentleman came bearing a significant gift.   

It turns out the Share Save Spend (and Moonjar) philosophy is alive and well at Braylon’s house and in the teaching of his parents.  What a joy it was to hear about his interest in helping children far away.  We had a good major donor visit and I explained that his $14 of “share money” would be put to very good use as we bring school supplies and build a much-needed kindergarten in Oshigwedha, Namibia.

Dear Braylon,  Thank you for your thoughtful and exceptionally kind gift of share money.  I am pleased to make your acquaintance and I am very happy that you like our project.  Your gift will help make some children far away very happy.  These children will soon have a new school building with walls, and a door, and two windows – and then they will be able to learn their lessons much better.   When I see these children in January, I will tell them all about you and show them your picture.  Thank you Braylon!  

Bless all the dear children in thy tender care.   This Christmas and always.

Empowering Learners.          

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