A Violin from the Blessing Box
Elena Huegel – Chile
My parents were married at Heights Christian Church in Houston, Texas, the same church where my grandmother was a member for many years. The two things I most enjoyed about visiting Heights Christian when I was a child were the library and the kindergarten Sunday School class. The library had a large youth section, and I remember reading one book in particular.
My parents were married at Heights Christian Church in Houston, Texas, the same church where my grandmother was a member for many years. The two things I most enjoyed about visiting Heights Christian when I was a child were the library and the kindergarten Sunday School class. The library had a large youth section, and I remember reading one book in particular. The story itself has taken on a rather fuzzy dreamlike quality in my memories, but I remember that it was about a horse. To this day, I can still feel the joy and excitement I felt as I lived the adventures inside that book. The memory of the Sunday School class has quite the same quality: a happy and welcoming place I loved to return to each year.
Sometime in the past fifty years, Heights Christian Church built a new sanctuary. The old sanctuary where my parents were married became Lambert Hall, a place where the whole Heights community now gathers for different cultural events including performances of the Heights Opera Company.
This year, just before Christmas, the ladies from Heights Christian Church sent me the contents from their “Blessing Box” via my parents with a note that said “for you to use any way you desire at this time of year. We pray for you.” I thought I would use it to buy a pair of new khaki pants or sandals for summer camp, but instead I had a conversation with God about what to do with this little Christmas gift. The answer came to me with a skip in my heart that made me smile. I would celebrate Christmas by purchasing a violin!
Debora is a bright young woman who at the age of 17 is already the choir director at her church. She plays the mandolin exceptionally well, but all her life she has dreamt of playing the violin. Her parents have never been able to afford even one of the cheaper instruments, but this year, believing that someday God would answer her prayers and send her a violin, she began to take lessons. As she couldn’t practice between her weekly lessons, she would squeeze every second out of the hour she would have with her teacher’s instrument in her hands.
The Blessing Box gift wasn’t nearly enough to buy a violin, but if Debora could step out in faith taking lessons without having an instrument, I could believe what God had whispered in my heart. First I spoke to Deborah’s family: father, mother, and older sister. They agreed with me not to purchase any Christmas presents this year and pool their gifts in one for Debora. My dad surprised me by adding his Christmas present too.
And so God multiplied the gift from the Blessing Box! The Friday before Christmas, Debora’s mother and I went downtown. Neither of us had any idea of what kind of violin we needed to buy. With the violin professor (a young college student from the Universidad de Talca symphony) describing the violin over the cell phone (…it has to have micro tuners, little dials at the base of the strings. Make sure it has a shoulder brace…), we purchased the last instrument of its kind in the store complete with case and shoulder brace.
On Christmas morning, I packed the gift-wrapped violin into the food chest for the trip to the Shalom Center. Debora’s family thought that the special place where the camp devotionals are held would be perfect to give her the gift. We had Christmas lunch together, and when we finished, the four of us, Debora’s mother, father, sister and I, couldn’t contain our excitement any longer.
“Debora, would you help me to unload the food for summer camp? In character with her usual cheerful and willing self, she popped up from the table and said, “Sure!” I opened the chest and handed her the present. She took it and asked me where I wanted her to leave it. It was when I laughed saying, “maybe you would like to open it,” that she realized what she had in her hands. Debora started weeping for joy before she opened the wrapping paper. She was speechless as she carefully slit the tape with her finger not wanting to rip the paper, tears running down her cheeks. Then, with the instrument still in her hands, we formed a circle around her. She thanked God for answering her prayers and dedicated the violin and its music to the glory of God.
Debora’s dad told me that the week before Christmas on the way home from church, she had said to him, “Don’t feel bad about not being able to buy me the violin. I know God is going to give it to me some day.” And so God did. What a privilege it is to celebrate God’s Wondrous Gift, the one wrapped in a diaper and laying in a manger, by sharing the selfless love of the Christ Child with one another. So we all, Debora and her family, my dad, and I were blessed by the gift from the Blessing Box at Heights Christian Church: we all received a violin for Christmas!
Elena Huegel is a missionary with the Pentecostal Church of Chile (IPC). She serves as an environmental and Christian education specialist.