Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Missionary Barrel

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I'm pretty sure you have all heard stories about missionaries that were abroad and every once in a while a shipment would arrive that would have all kinds of supplies. Some very needed medical equipment perhaps, maybe treats from far away, and sometimes clothing.

When our children were home and, of course, much much smaller and "uneducated", we would receive "missionary barrels" from time to time. It didn't always come in a barrel, but perhaps in the more current black garbage bag.

We knew families that had children that were older and sizes larger than ours, and when their children outgrew their clothing, they were kind enough to "pass it along" to ours. We had three older girls that were somewhat of a size, two boys - one a husky and one a slim, and a younger 'tag-along' girl. We had almost all the sizes!

At a Bible study, I would get a 'heads-up' from a mother that a 'bag' would be deposited in our van. We had strict rules that we would open the bag at home, and with all present, so it would be fair.

What a fun time we had opening the bags. There may be dresses or skirts for the girls,shoes, maybe even a coat or hat. The boys sometimes had pants that were too large, too long or just not appropriate for wearing at the present time. Many try-ons were had then and there. Giggles at how some of the clothing fit, silly outfits from several pieces and on and on. Occasionally, one outfit was designated to one child and another outfit to a second child and then perhaps, the top was traded out for a new find, etc. Everyone got something...

I had a basket that stayed up on a tall shelf in the boys room with pants, shirts, ties, etc that could not be worn because they were too large. I can't tell you how many times I visited that basket and there would be just the right garment for a wedding or special occasion. It seems that the Lord put just what we needed for the special time.

I don't want you to think that we relied only on our "missionary barrels", but they were a real blessing in a time of "not quite enough". I want to remember that the Lord provided for us through other's kindness and I want to give also, for we have received much.

Thank you to those that supplied our needs through your generosity. And, I think that is when I first appreciated that just because you are finished with something, it still has life and can perhaps be used somewhere else, in someone else's life.


  1. Wow, do I remember those bags of clothes! It was always so exciting to see what was in the bag and who it was going to fit. But the most important part to me was that I was going to wear a piece of clothing that came from someone I looked up to and admired!

    1. That is a sweet way to think of it, instead of someone's 'hand me downs'. They sure came at good times. The Lord is good and always provides.


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