Gifts of love for the children of Albania at Christmas
For a number of years, Webnet has been developing a partnership with a small group of churches from the Baptist Union of Albania. One key outcome of this partnership has seen many baptist churches across the West of England filling shoeboxes with Christmas presents for children each year, in time to be distributed by the local churches in Albania for Christmas.
This has been a fantastic way to put tools of compassion in the hands of local churches in Albania, helping them to express God’s love for children. 2019 was our fifth WEBox year. A small group of people from Webnet churches collected over 3000 filled boxes from across our region and helped deliver these to children in Albania with the help of our partner churches there.
We are so grateful to the churches and individuals who have worked so hard together over the years to provide this wonderful expression of God’s love for the churches in Albania to share in their communities. If you’ve been part of a team giving, collecting, sorting and filling, or if you’ve faithfully filled boxes at home: Thank you!
Please continue to pray for the churches and the children they’ve been able to share your gifts with; may they know the hope, joy and salvation of Jesus.
Rolling with the changes in a Pandemic
Major limitations on in-person contact and travel during the pandemic of 2020 made running the WEBox project in the usual way unfeasible, both at a local level in Webnet and in terms of crossing borders to hand deliver the boxes to children in Albania. However, we were not deterred, and neither were you!
The earthquake at the end of 2019, and then Covid-19, meant that it was more important than ever to share God’s love with children in Albania in any way we could. And so while a number of charities paused their work in Albania during the pandemic, we explored a different way of putting tools of compassion into the hands of baptist churches there.
Instead of buying gifts and other items here in the UK, and then packing and transporting them across Europe to Albania, we, as a regional network, raised over £13000 in our 2020 WEBox Appeal. This meant that our partner churches in Albania could work together to purchase, pack and deliver gifts to children on our behalf. They delivered these in lovely gift bags, and so the WEBag was born!
Due to the pandemic the churches’ local contacts hadn’t expected any special visitors and were so delighted when teams turned up at nurseries, schools and even the children’s hospital with WEBags filled with goodies, made possible by you.
You can see more pictures of what happened, here on the WEBox Project Facebook Page.
It wasn’t what we’d expected to be doing at the start of 2020, but it was a real blessing nonetheless and we don’t underestimate the benefits to the local Albanian economy and for the environment, of doing things in this new and unexpected way.
Here is a thank you from Maki:
What’s happening in 2021?
Although we are much further on in the pandemic and the lifting of restrictions, much uncertainty remains. This, coupled with the clear benefits of how the WEBox Project ran last year has led us to decide that certainly for 2021, we will do another WEBox Fundraising Appeal and we’re really hoping you’ll get involved again, or for the first time.
We are aware that half the fun of doing mission together as a church or as a community group is the ‘together’ aspect and that getting together to fill and check WEBoxes was something many looked forward to as part of their autumn mission each year.
Individuals who have previously given on their own or as a family might feel it’s a little unimaginative to ‘just give’. We don’t think so, as your giving will trigger creativity in Albania, but we undertand if you feel that way.
Whether you’re part of a team or giving as an individual, we have a few ideas that might lend a bit of pizzazz to your WEBox Appeal this autumn:
- Albania themed coffee morning or breakfast – put up some Albanian flags or bunting and invite people to find out more about Albania. We can share some Albanian cake recipes or breakfast ideas with you if you like
- Invite a speaker or request a pre-made video to share about Albania and WEBox at your Sunday Service or homegroup
- Time for a clearout? Host a bric-a-brac sale for WEBox and offer your Albanian coffee and cake too
- Look into setting yourself a challenge – a run, a long cycle, a big walk?
- Create a Facebook birthday fundraiser
- eBay something you don’t want anymore and donate the proceeds to WEBox
Let us know what ideas you come up with so we can share them!
Just want to give?
Fantastic, thank you! A WEBag of gifts costs between £12-£15 and so individuals, as well as churches and schools or any community group here, can gift money towards one or more bags.
To maintain the personal connection, there will be the opportunity for people to send in messages electronically, which we can then print and put into the bags.
A fundraising page will be set up so you can give electronically in due course.
This will be a great way for those of you that can Gift Aid, there is a small charge which you are informed about on the page.
If you would prefer to pay directly to our bank account then please do so by quoting WEBox to the following account:
Account Name: West of England Baptist Association
Sort Code: 40-52-40
Account Number: 00006162
Please remember to use the reference WEBox when making the payment.
If you would like to send a personal message please email: email@example.com
Please be praying. Thank you.