Thursday, December 24, 2009
Yesterday we had the opportunity to deliver Christmas gifts to children who have a parent in prison. It was an amazing experience for our family! You may have received Matt's e-mail about it, but if not- here it is:
Today my family and I had the privilege of teaming up with Angel Tree ministries to deliver Christmas presents to several families here in the Richmond, VA area. These are children of incarcerated parents who are desperately searching for hope. Today, my family and I were able to bring that message of hope to a few of these little ones...I may not be able to reach them all, but I'll do all I can to reach as many as I can!
I was able to present the Gospel using the Wordless Book to two of the three families we delivered gifts to today. One of the families was an African American family, where as soon as I looked into the eyes of the mother, I could see that she was open and searching for help. As I was explaining to the family why we were there, more and more children began to come to the door of their home. The small apartment was cramped for space as all 8 of my family members and 4 of hers filled the room. Everyone listened to every word I said, and when the opportunity presented itself for me to share the message of salvation, using the wordless book, I was able to lead this mother and her three children to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ!
The second family was a Christian family who already professed Christ as savior, and so I gave them information about CEF's "What Went Wrong" program and explained the mailbox club program to them, which is a fantastic discipleship program for children. The kids were so excited and kept on thanking us. As we left their home and the mother closed the door, I could hear her saying to her children just how happy she was that we came. My family and I were very excited.
The third family we visited today nearly broke my heart. The 10 year old daughter had not seen her daddy in 3 years and you could tell that she was sad over it. She is in foster care, and her birth mother, whom I met, is in the process of getting full custody of her. As I gave her the gifts in honor of her incarcerated father, I nearly burst into tears as I looked into her eyes. Despite all of the hurt and sorrow that this little girl had gone through, having moved so often from foster home to foster home, and now not knowing if she'd be able to stay with her birth mom and not having a dad in her life for the past 3 years, I saw a sparkle in her eyes. She had hope that it was all going to be OK. I took that moment to open up the wordless book and share with that little girl, her two neighborhood friends, and her birth mother, the hope that was awaiting them in Christ. Although there were many distractions and no clear profession of faith in Christ, the message of hope was presented and CEF literature was left. I would like to return with my family, perhaps in Feb or March, and put on a party club there.
As we visited for a while with this last family, the children really opened up, and through our conversations, revealed just how messed up and hurting their family life is. I told the care givers that there were several churches in Richmond that would be happy to reach out to them, and I intend to forward the pastors of these churches their information. I know they will be glad to help because I had already spoken with them beforehand. I am determined now, more than ever, to make a difference in the lives of children here in Virginia!
Let's remember to leave the cell phones, laptops and facebook accounts behind this Christmas, and let's spoil everyone in our family with our time and attention!
Merry Christmas - I'll see you on the other side of the New Year!