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As a child, I loved goats. Odd, I know, but it’s true; I had a strange fascination with goats. They were cute. They had floppy ears. And I wanted a herd of them in my family’s backyard.

But my father refused to even consider buying me a goat. “Goats are big pain in the butt, Matthew,” he’d tell me every time I asked. “They eat you out of house and home. They poop all over everything. And they jump up on cars and scratch the metal with their hooves!”

I didn’t have a car, so Dad’s advice never persuaded me to stop dreaming about one day having a goat as a pet. Or even a goat farm (now, my wife, Jessica, refuses to let me have a goat–boo! “They stink!” she says.)

Still, I think goats are wonderful creatures.

But it wasn’t until I saw the movie Cold Mountain that I learned that my father was wrong (that didn’t happen very often!). But he was very wrong! Goats are far from useless!

In Cold Mountain, there’s a scene where “Jude Law” visits with an old mountain woman named “Maddy.” Maddy is a bit creepy, but she has a slew of GOATS, which made her less creepy to me.

While petting one of her goats, Maddy says, “I’ve learned a person can pretty much survive off of a goat. A goat gives you company, and milk, and cheese… and when you need it, good meat.”

The scene takes an ugly turn after that, which sort of makes Maddy creepy again. However, Maddy’s words opened my eyes to just how amazing goats really are.

This past May, when I was in the Dominican Republic with World Vision, the bloggers team and I visited one of the island’s many World Vision goat farms. And I was in Heaven heaven. Seriously, I was the first person to jump off the bus and run over to the gated goat farm.

Me appearing far too excited to be posing for a picture with a goat.

Me getting pooped on by a goat and not caring one bit. "You can poop on me again little goat."

"heaven"

As crazy as this sounds, goats save people’s lives. At the very least, goats help families living in poverty to pursue a better way to live. They help people pursue sustainability.

I’ve witnessed this happening with my own eyes. I’ve seen it happening in Nicaragua. I’ve seen it happening in Uganda. And I witnessed it happening in Dominican Republic.

Goats are wonderful creatures! Not only do they provide nourishment through milk, yogurt, and cheese, but they also give a much-needed income boost by providing offspring and extra dairy products for sale at the market (via). But as World Vision also points out, goats are practical animals — flourishing in harsh climates while producing valuable manure to fertilize crops and vegetable gardens.

My father was right about one thing: Our family didn’t need a goat or a herd of goats. That’s probably true for most of the people reading this post. Honestly, most of us don’t need much of anything.

But many people all over the world need a goat. Because they know and understand the importance and value that livestock can do for their family’s livelihood.

When I was Uganda, a little girl presented me with the gift of a live chicken. From her perspective, there was no greater gift that she could give me than a live chicken. Of course, I accepted the gift with much gratitude, knowing there was no chance that I was going to be able to take the chicken home with me. With the chicken tucked in the back of one of the World Vision vans, we left the little girl’s hut. We decided that we would take the chicken and offer it as a gift to a woman–a grandmother who was raising four grandchildren she was raising (the children’s father and mother had both died of HIV). I wish you could have witnessed the joy and excitement when one of the team members presented the grandmother with the chicken. She lifted her hands in the air and screamed with joy at the top of her lungs. You would have thought we’d given her a check for a large sum of money.

But it wasn’t a check. It was just a chicken.

To us, it’s just a goat, a creature that poops all over the place and jumps up on cars. But to the recipient of a goat, it’s so much more.

It’s a gift! And unlike so many of the gifts that we will receive on Christmas morning, a goat is a gift that keeps on giving!

Will you consider giving a needy family the gift of a goat this Christmas?

For only $75, you can do just that. (CLICK HERE TO DO THAT RIGHT NOW.)

“Gifting a goat” is an easy and affordable way to say “Merry Christmas!” to a family in need, a family you don’t know, a family that will jump up and down and celebrate when they receive a goat as a gift.

This week at my blog (as well as few other blogs!) it’s “Gift a Goat” week. This is an idea that I’ve wanted to do for a while now… why? Because I love goats. Because God made goats to be so helpful to people! And because to so many, receiving a goat is one of the best gifts you can give…

So… would you help me make a bunch of families all over the world have a brighter holiday season? A merrier Christmas? Would you consider giving a goat? Heck, maybe you could give two goats…

Or a herd of goats!

You can do that right now by clicking here…

And then would you help me spread the word?

Would you consider Tweeting this post (hashtag: #GiftAGoat)?

Would you consider posting a link to it on Facebook?

Would you consider writing a post on your blog?

Would you add the “GiftAGoat” Twibbon to your Twitter and/or Facebook picture? You can do that here!

Thank you. You guys are awesome. (And goats are awesome, too!)

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