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Monday, January 2, 2017

Unbound Prayer Partners: Experiencing Christ's presence and love

                                    January 2, 2017
Experiencing Christ's presence and love Throughout the Advent/Christmas season, our weekly ePrayers have included a special series of reflections on the upcoming Sunday readings. We hope you've enjoyed them. This final reflection for The Epiphany of the Lord is from Unbound Managing Editor Loretta Shea Kline.
Foreigners from a distant land connect with a child and family living in humble circumstances. They offer material gifts and the gift of their presence. In return, they receive spiritual gifts of untold worth.
The scene could describe adventures of the Magi in the Gospel reading for The Epiphany of the Lord. It could also describe experiences of people who sponsor children through Unbound.
Sponsor Kerstin Geiger reflected on spiritual gifts she's received through sponsorship in her piece, "The Unexpected Fruits of Sponsorship," featured on the website of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Parish in Lawrence, Kansas.
Kerstin wrote that she and her husband sponsor a little girl in El Salvador, and the experience has been enriching beyond what she could have imagined.
"Through the letters we exchange with our sponsored friend we get to know her life and the life of her family," Kerstin wrote. "The simple joys she shares are in stark contrast to the ridiculous madness of the complicated lives we live in our culture."
Kerstin went on to say how her sponsored friend and family show her, through the witness of their lives, how grateful they are for the gifts God has given them.
"They count our sponsorship as one of those gifts and little Maria Gissele prays each night for us," Kerstin wrote. "… I can only imagine the multitude of blessings God has worked in our lives because of her prayers. Of course we pray for her and her family, too, but there is no ignoring the fact that we are giving from our material abundance, which isn't even a pinch in my budget!
"And she, in return, gives us spiritual riches. Which makes me realize something quite startling: We are the ones who are being sponsored spiritually; we are the ones who receive the greater gift!
"How magnificent God's ways are in leading us out of our respective poverties."
Through the visit of the Magi, Jesus was revealed as the Christ to the whole world. One of the ways sponsors and sponsored friends experience Christ's presence and love is through the gift of sponsorship and the relationships formed.
Could there be a more beautiful gift?

God of love, you sent your only son to be born among us. Let us look to the Magi and their visit to the infant Jesus as inspiration in reaching out across great divides to experience the presence and love of Christ. We ask this in your holy name. Amen.

Unbound Prayer Team
P.S. We welcome you to submit your prayer requests to us. These prayers are offered in the chapel at Unbound's headquarters in Kansas City and are not shared publicly. Submit a prayer request.

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