For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Luke 19:10

Friday, December 1, 2017

Christmas Baskets for the Neighbourhood - St. John's, NL

It's so encouraging to visit other places and to see what Christians are doing, both individually and collectively, to show kindness to others. Sometimes we do 'good works' as merely a strategy to ultimately see people respond to the Gospel. And if, after several attempts of showing kindness, they don't respond, we get discouraged and move on - because our strategy failed. The reality is, Christians should show kindness and do good works - not as a strategy but as the outflow of one's redeemed and regenerated heart. We are to do good for the sake of doing good. Period. 

Matthew 5:16, Luke 6:35, Acts 9:36, Galatians 6:10, Ephesians 2:10, Titus 3:1, Hebrews 13:16, 1Peter 2:12

Often the only time our neighbours ever hear from us is when we drop an invitation in their mailbox to attend a special Gospel service. What do we do to show them we are just 'nice' people? NICE regardless.

Recently in St. John's, Newfoundland, I noticed special Christmas bags and a few other things around the lobby and auditorium of the local church. And then I heard an announcement about Christmas Baskets for the Neighbourhood. I asked one of the Christian sisters, Cathy Tarrant, if she would prepare a report for and share enough details about the activity that others will be able to try the idea in their area. She kindly submitted this report: 

Christmas Baskets for the Neighbourhood

We started this work about 5 years ago.  It started as an exercise of Ruby Williams.  She discussed it with me and we decided to go ahead and do a dozen baskets for the houses in the immediate vicinity of the hall. [Gospel Hall / local church]  The next year we expanded and with others helping, we did 25.  For the last 3 years (including this one), we have been distributing 50 baskets.

The area residents now expect the baskets and are always very appreciative.  We always put a calendar with scripture verses, usually a Christmas tract and a small booklet such as 'The Case for Christmas', 'The Cradle, the Cross and the Crown' or similar.  Then we fill it with various items such as a mug, candles, candy chocolate.   

Last year we switched to Christmas bags which can be purchased at for $2-$4 each.  The bag is much more convenient for delivery plus the re-usable bag itself is a part of the gift. 

Ruby has not been able to help much for the past 2 years due to her severe medical issues, so this year we are trying something new.  All the unfilled bags have been brought to the hall and the Christians are encouraged to take a bag or 2 to fill and bring back to the hall by a certain date for distribution.  Each bag already contains the Christmas booklet and tract.  

Click here to see the detailed instructions placed inside each bag as a guide to help those wanting to fill a bag(s) for the neighbourhood distribution. (Editor's Note: If this link does not work for you, click here to email me and I will send you the helpful document.)

This work is another way we have been trying to reach the people in the neighbourhood.  We have a community barbeque every summer, complete with a Bouncey Castle for the kids, balloon art, etc.  and we have recently been having community suppers every month.  We have had a good response from all of those works so it is very encouraging even though it is a lot of work!

Cathy Tarrant
St. John's, NL

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