In a tiny primitive village in Afghanistan, where bitter winters sting fingers and toes, local children are staying warm in winter clothing sent from Michigan donors. Christian Reformed Chaplain Scott Koeman, along with 10 soldiers, delivered coats, mittens, boots, and blankets to eager Afghan children.
Koeman, who is stationed in Qatar, heard from another chaplain that Afghan villagers lacked adequate cold weather clothes. So CRC congregation EverGreen Ministries in Hudsonville, Mich. (which Koeman’s wife, Benita, attends), held a clothing drive, and other churches joined. Benita mailed the boxes of clothing to her husband for dispersal.
When Army Humvees arrived in the village, news spread quickly among the 250 residents, who do without running water or electricity. “We supplied over 80 families with generous bags of clothing,” Koeman said. “Interestingly, we discovered afterward that the village elder expressed enormous gratitude for what we gave to them, which is something rarely seen in other villages.”
Although some Afghans dress in Western-style clothing, others wear their new garments under traditional long, loose robes. Will they see that Christ’s love can warm their hearts as the clothes do their bodies? “I hope that at the very least our giving will cause the Afghans to think and reflect through their own stereotypes of Westerners and even Christians. They saw my cross on my hat,” Koeman said. “Even if they do not, everyone involved in this mission fulfilled the second greatest commandment.”