My friend, Charlene, is celebrating her birthday today. (HAPPY BIRTHDAY!). I've blogged about her before -- told about the adventure that she's on with her husband, Mark, serving with SEND International in Ukraine. So, one of the things I was thinking about lately was what to give to her for her birthday. I wanted to do something different than I'd done in the past. This was complicated by the fact that she is living in Kiev, Ukraine -- so postage can be both expensive and unreliable AND there aren't places there that sell gift cards that can be purchased online and delivered.
I decided to do something that people often do for missionaries -- I sent money to be deposited in her account (not as a ministry gift which is assessed, but as a personal gift -- I actually sent it directly to the person who manages their personal bank account here in the States). But I wanted to make it fun for Charlene so I created a "fake" gift certificate that I sent to her electronically.
Because I'd been to Kiev this summer, I knew of this store (found a photo of it online so I could fake the logo) and wanted to give the gift from here. I saved the certificate as a .jpg file and had it ready for delivery. Oh, I also used an online currency converter to get the amount right in local currenty.
I fired up Skype and watched for Charlene to come online and delivered the gift via Skype while we chatted a bit. It was kind of like stopping by to drop off the gift.
Why am I blogging about this? I figure that most of you who read this support missionaries here and there or have friends/family living overseas. You may find yourself choosing to give cash gifts, but would like a way to make it feel more like a gift that has some thought behind it and less like a financial transaction. So, if this sparks any ideas for you -- then I've accomplished what I'd hoped.