Usually, I’m a stickler for keeping the holidays in their proper order. Poor Thanksgiving is always getting overlooked, what with all the attention that Christmas gets. Everyone knows you are supposed to wait until the day after Thanksgiving to get out the Christmas decorations. Except, for us, this year is different.
This year, we’re heading for Asia on December 12th. That means any decorating, baking or shopping that needs to be done, has to be done SOON. There will be much less decorating and baking. I mean, let’s get serious. There’s no time! And the plan is to do less shopping for the family. HOWEVER… this year we have the immense blessing of spending Christmas Eve in Cambodia with our friends, Mark and Rhonda Benz, and their very large family of Benz and Bykota House kids. And I really, really want to bless the socks off of them.
Do you know about Bykota House? It was started by Mark and Rhonda, just a few years after they adopted two of their children from Cambodia. As Rhonda says, “We thought that God was bringing them to our family but in reality, what He was doing was using them to take our family to Cambodia.” Yup, they sold their house and most of their worldly belongings, packed up the family (at that time, five kids) and moved to Cambodia. Once there, they went about setting up a home for some of the children left behind after adoptions were shut down. And in the last eight years, their little family has grown. A lot. Between the Benz and Bykota House kids, Mark and Rhonda are caring for thirty-two children.
That is a lot of kids. Also, a lot of day to day expenses.
Which means, come Christmas time, there isn’t much left over for presents.
The “kids” range in age, from Lily who is just one year old, all the way to nineteen. (One of the first Bykota girls is now 22 and got married this year and of course no longer living at Bykota House, but I’d kind of like to bless her too…)
There are five boys who are around 9-11 years old, and five who are all about sixteen. Five girls between the ages of two and six who all love to play dress-up. Two pre-school boys who are rough on toys, and a four year old who really wants a “green car/blue car”. The only teenage girl at Bykota House loves all things “girly” and would love some bath and body works lotion. One girl is exactly Leah’s age, and is a tomboy just like Leah.
Bykota House has a few special needs kids too. Two girls have Cerebral Palsy… one can’t move much at all, but she loves to have her hair done with pretty hair things. The other can move, but has low muscle control. She’s eight, and Rhonda says a toy that she could hit and get a response would be great. There’s a seventeen year old boy who is in a wheel chair. He loves music and a player that is tough enough to be dropped without breaking would be just the thing for him. Also, brushing his teeth is difficult, and Rhonda thinks a motorized toothbrush (and some replacement heads) could help a lot. Another boy has severe Autism, and can be hard to reach; but he loves toys with flashing lights.
And don’t forget the Benz kids. It’s hard sometimes when your parents run a children’s home. People are eager to bless the “orphans” and forget about the missionary kids who share the same home with them. The Benz boys want a “ribstick”. I don’t know what that is, but I’m sure my good friend am@zon does. The girls could use a couple of new games for their wii. (Living in a not so safe city, much of their recreation comes via the wii).
Are you feeling it? That excitement at the thought of blessing each and every one of these kids? When Rhonda sent me the list, I got so excited I wanted to head right out to the mall. And then I thought, “How selfish can I be?” Why should I get to have all the fun of blessing these kids? Why not give my friends and readers a chance to join in the blessing? Even though you can’t all hop on the plane with us, you can be there in spirit, and I promise to take LOTS of pictures so it will be almost like you were there yourselves.
You can donate with a paypal account, or a credit card. And I promise we’ll keep careful track of every donated dollar and make sure it all goes to the kids. (The button goes to our personal paypal account. I’m not a non-profit. So there’s no tax benefit. Sorry. But! If you want to make a tax-deductible gift to Bykota House, separate from our Christmas fund, just click here.)
Also, if you have experience with kids with CP, or Autism, I’d love your gift ideas!
And just in case you need a little help getting into the Christmas Spirit in early November, here ya go…
You’re welcome! And Meeeeerrrry Christmas! Ho! Ho! Ho!