Years ago, Jeff Berryman, a well-known playwright in Seattle, began writing plays and musicals for our church to perform at Christmas. One of my favorites was called “The Creche Collector.” I liked it so much that I became a creche collector. A creche is a nativity set. Since I travel internationally so much, I thought that I should collect something. So I started collecting creches. When I’m in a foreign country, you will always find me checking out the local stores in search of a creche that is unique to that country.

I have several unusual creches. One of my more unusual creches is a metal one from Haiti. It is strange because it has a snowman in it. Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, and all the other usual characters of the birth narrative are there—and a snowman. And then there is the one from Honduras. It has all the usual characters (and no snowman) all inside an armadillo. I kid you not. The manger scene is housed in an armadillo. I do not know why.

And then there is the one from Israel. It is special because it comes from Bethlehem and is made of olive wood. I didn’t notice anything wrong with it until I set it up. There is no Joseph. Everyone else is there. But there is no Joseph. And no one has ever noticed. That’s because when you look at a creche, you are not looking for Joseph. Now, if you took away the baby Jesus—that would be another matter. Everyone would notice. That’s because the creche is all about the baby Jesus. That’s the point. Jesus is the focal image.

The Snowman Creche

As I was pondering this, I thought about the focal point of CRF. It’s children. We help children grow up to be like Jesus. We do a lot of things, but if you take children out of it—we don’t have a lot going for us. CRF is all about children. And we have been all about children for 50 years. That’s the point. We help orphans and children stuck in poverty. That’s who we are. We don’t do everything, but we have taken care of children for 50 years.

Barbie and I started supporting CRF in 1976, nearly 50 years ago. We were trying to support some orphans in Haiti, but the money simply wasn’t getting there. Barbie did some research to find an organization where the money got there, a lot of the money got there, and the children were taught about Jesus every day. And she found The John Abraham Memorial Christian Relief Fund. That’s what they were doing 45 years ago when we found it. And it’s what Christian Relief Fund (the new, shortened name) is doing today.

There are other organizations like CRF that you may hear about more frequently because of the money they spend on advertising. Only 3% of our money is spent on fundraising. As a result, you may hear of some other groups before you hear of us. But if you have found us, I don’t think you have to look further if you want to help children in need. I found it to be the best decades ago, and I still believe it is today on our 50th anniversary.

Thank you for being a part of CRF during our first fifty years. We can’t wait to see what God does through all of you in the next fifty!