I look at young families with admiration. It takes a lot of energy, patience and prayer to raise children. So when I see a fun, creative idea, I like to pass it on to those raising young ones. When I saw the pictures from Caleb’s birthday party, I knew I had to share this idea. What I really appreciate is the concept that giving is a joy. All of us could use a refresher course in learning that sacrifice has positive outcomes, but what a powerful life lesson to learn early in life!
I’ll let Caleb’s mom describe the genesis of the idea and how the party unfolded:
“After reading the following Ellen White counsel, I thought of how we could change our normal way of celebrating birthdays.”
Parents have not taught their children the precepts of the law as God has commanded them. . . . They have taught them to regard their birthdays and holidays as occasions when they expect to receive gifts, and to follow the habits and customs of the world. . . . If children and youth had been properly instructed in this age of the world, what honor, what praise and thanksgiving, would flow from their lips to God! What a revenue of small gifts would be brought from the hands of the little ones to be put into his treasury as thank-offerings! God would be remembered instead of forgotten. (RH November 13, 1894, par. 5).
“So we talked about it as a family, and there was some resistance at the thought of not getting gifts. I told Caleb he could pick a mission project to give to, and he chose the AFM Ama Project, which we have been following since the Lellos were fundraising.
“The Lord prompted me that we should make it a mission-oriented party and not just play random games. So we planned and decided what would work best. The children started at the mission station with a brief overview of the country, the Ama people, and their desire for a missionary. Their mission was to build planes, head to the airstrip, take packages to the Ama village, and take people from the village to the hospital. We then played games by the Sepik River. Later we made the flag of Papua New Guinea and played capture the flag. We ended our game time with the story the Lawrences wrote about being patient like a butterfly in a chrysalis, and the children made butterflies.
“As we counted the money raised at the party, Caleb was so glad we had decided to do a mission birthday party. He is planning to have another mission birthday party next year.”
Thank you, Lord, for this attitude of giving!