• Doug Brendel

What you give, what you get


I’ve come to think of Christmas presents like this:

They’re given in two ways, and received in two ways. Giving? Maybe you give a gift from the heart. Or maybe, truth be told, you give a gift because you feel sort of obligated. And receiving? A lot of times, you get a gift, and ... well, it’s nice, but... Honestly? It’s sort of a shrug of the shoulders.

On the other hand...

If you’re hungry, and you get a grocery store gift card...

If you’re freezing, and someone pays your heating bill...

If you’re sick, and someone brings you the medicine you need...

That’s a whole different kind of Christmas present.

This year, friends like you have given lots of gifts to New Thing, for the people of Belarus.

All year long. No waiting for Christmas.

What kind of giving was it?

Well, I don’t know of anybody who feels “obligated” to help the people of Belarus.

Must have been from the heart!


And how were your gifts received?

Hm, let me ask the homeless guy ... or the orphan, and the “house mother” who’s caring for her....

Let me check in with the hearing-impaired child, or the visually impaired child ... or the dad sitting with his sick baby in the hospital....

Let me call our “Response of the Heart” team, the ones serving people in need, all over Belarus, every single day...

Nope. Can’t find anybody shrugging their shoulders.

Quite the opposite. I think I see some tears in some eyes.

Yeah. I’m pretty sure they’re grateful. Way, way grateful.

Because they really needed help. And there you were.

I think I speak for them when I say — from my heart — Thank you.

Yes, there are still needs in Belarus ... lots of serious needs.

But hey, look! They celebrate Christmas on the Orthodox calendar.

So Christmas doesn’t happen till January 7th.

Which means we have an extra two weeks to do the kind of giving we do.

The “from-the-heart” kind.

Meanwhile, here in the USA, I wish you a wonderful December 25th Christmas, with all the best kinds of giving and receiving.


Thanks for journeying with us!

Much love,




Doug Brendel

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