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Year-end gifts that make a difference

December 15, 2010 No Comment

by Allen Schellenberg

As year-end approaches many of us reflect on our blessings, and consider special ways we might thank God for His many gifts. In fact, this is the first year my children and I have decided not to purchase gifts for each other, and instead use the money for more meaningful purposes. 

There are many ways you can contribute to the work of the church. Perhaps your own congregation is experiencing a year-end budget shortfall or there’s a special mission project you’ve always had a passion for but not yet support financially. Now would be a good time to take advantage of the tax incentives offered through charitable giving.

Combined Canada Revenue and provincial taxation offer tax credits at the highest marginal tax rate or better (based on your province) thereby reducing the tax payable on earned income.

If you haven’t thought about how you might support the church in a special way, let me share with you my recent experience. 

In late November I travelled from Western Canada to Nicaragua to tour the congregations and mission stations located throughout the country. What a transition… from wearing a heavy overcoat that barely kept me warm, to carrying what is commonly called a “sweat-cloth” to wipe my face and neck after the least bit of physical exertion. What a change in both temperature and humidity! 

This church building in Nicaragua still needs work on its walls, windows and floor.

This church building in Nicaragua still needs work on its walls, windows and floor.

God is blessing His mission work in Nicaragua. And the Gospel is changing lives! Not only do people have a closer spiritual bond with their risen Saviour, praising His name and proclaiming His salvation, but they are also experiencing how God provides for His Church on earth. The communion of the saints was apparent, whether gathered in a small home with dirt floors, built from corrugated tin and rough boards, or meeting in a completely finished church building with concrete walls, tile floors, and iron-grated windows. Regardless of the facility, it was apparent their greatest joy is knowing about God and His saving grace, as we sang songs of praise and thanksgiving. 

As Canadian Christians, there is much we can do to help. During nine days of touring, we visited 21 different congregations. Some had a completely finished and furnished church building, but most did not. The needs vary greatly: some churches are without chairs; others require grating on the window openings to secure the building; washrooms are needed; floors remain unfinished; paint is required; desks for the children’s school program are desired, etc. For a list of various projects and associated costs, visit www.lutheranchurch.ca/missionprojects.

Perhaps before this year ends, you could consider supporting the mission work in Nicaragua as part of a special gift. For cash donations simply visit www.lutheranchurch.ca/donate  or contact Lutheran Foundation Canada (LFC) (www.lutheranfoundation.ca) if you are considering other ways to contribute. Options also include transferred ownership of shares to LFC, real property, insurance, art, jewellery, etc. 

Call an LFC Gift Coordinator to assist you if considering one of these options. Contact information is at www.lutheranfoundation.ca       

Allen Schellenberg is executive director of  Lutheran Foundation Canada

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