By Cath Taylor

Life-changing gifts from our partners

December 7th, 2017

There are a lot of frankfurters in the freezer at the one and only supermarket in Funafuti. Ice-jewelled and plastic-wrapped to within an inch of their lives, they nestle beside chicken parts and bits of beef.

In the fresh food section, it’s a desert: carrots, potatoes and some celery that droops in the humidity. We hold no grudges. We all feel the same.

Fresh food is a luxury on Tuvalu, a tiny coral atoll half way between Hawaii and Australia
in the Pacifc. Rising sea and salt levels makeit increasingly difficult to grow traditional foods; changes in water temperature are bleaching the coral and driving fish further out to sea. Most Tuvaluans live on packaged food brought in a few times a month by boat or plane.

Today though, we’re feasting. In the lofty, open aired space beside the church, we sit cross-legged on woven mats and are gifted with platters of food miraculously conjured up from places unimagined. The men, the women tell us, have cooked all day. There’s not a frankfurter in sight.

I’m staggered at this extraordinary bounty. This is a culture where daily survival is threatened, and yet hands are opened, strangers are welcomed as family and warmly embraced. For hours, this community will sit and laugh together, sing and watch the sun go down. For the past five days they have given us their time and told us their stories, as open as the ocean. Their situation is dire, but they know how to find peace.

This Christmas, we’ll give generously to our partners, providing them with resources that save lives – clean water, healthcare, small business start ups that break the chains of poverty. Click here to give a life-changing Christmas gift!

But equally, our partners give back to us. In the midst of great scarcity, they’ve learned to live here and now, drawing from their faith, listening to one another, giving not from the left -over crumbs but from the very best they have to offer, in spite of what it might cost them.

And as I prepare for my own Christmas, it will be the faces of women in Tuvalu I’ll be remembering as I seek grace, groundedness and generosity. These Christmas gifts are as life changing as any that money can buy.

Grace.  Groundedness.  Generosity.

Thank you for standing with us this year to build the world we all long for. With our brothers and sisters in the Pacific, Asia and Africa, we wish you the joy, peace and love of Christmas.

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