Left to right: John, Me, Joel and Liz
Looking back over Christmas 2014, I have to conclude that it was one of THE busiest Christmases I’ve had in my life! But I wouldn’t trade it for anything! “Burn yourself out for the kingdom”, a friend encouraged me some time back. And honestly, that is my heart’s desire, to live out my life fully for the cause of Christ. “…Is there not a cause?” David asked when he saw that uncircumcised Phillistine threatening his people.
YES! there is a cause. I am sickened by the reports I hear about the condition of this world: Young children are being abused emotionally, physically and sexually by hurt, desensitized, confused adults. Teenagers and elderly people alike are taking their own lives, and hollywood has lost all sense of reason in what they produce for our innocent little children. I must make a difference at all cost, I don’t always know how, the problem is so big and I’m just one person. But when God opens a door I will walk boldly through it.
So this Christmas, the youth committee at our church came up with some brilliant ideas to impact our community during the holiday season. A team of our young people, under the banner of “Spread the Cheer”, visited the children’s cancer hospital and were privileged to give gifts to the precious children there. They testified, as did the team last year, that they were deeply impacted by the experience. Last year my husband said he had to turn aside to cry, when the nurses explained that many of the children would not make it. The precious faces and innocent eyes of these beautiful children leaves an indelible impression on our young people.
We were not allowed to pray or lay hands on. But next year (if the Lord should tarry), I pray that when we walk through the rooms the shadow from our bodies will heal the sick! Hey, I believe it can happen. It’s been done before! “…eyes hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart o man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him…”! 1 Corinthians 2:9
Items for Spread the Warmth being sorted on my dining table
Under the banner of “Spread the Warmth”, in one night, our youth delivered over one thousand dollars worth of winter hats, scarves, gloves and socks to the shelter near our church. And I was privileged -Joel and I actually – to take part in the purchase of these articles of warm clothing. This was so fulfilling; shopping in the busy stores in the middle of the holiday season, trying my best to match the ages and genders from the list given to us by the shelter with things I hope these families would love. It was also very interesting for someone like me on a budget, who refuses to spend money on anything of poor quality.
Young people preparing gift bags
But God made a way! Everyone on the list received hats, most times with matching scarves, warm socks, gloves and mittens that I or any of my children would be proud to wear. At target, I explained what the purchase was for, and the managers took five dollars off some snazzy warm hats I wanted to purchase for the mothers. I was so excited, these hats will last and keep them warm through many winters.
Distribution of Spread the Warmth gifts
At Walmart, I purchased matching hats and scarves for girls ages 5 to 17 years old, the hats and scarves were five dollars each, ten dollars per child. As we rung up the purchase the cashier saw one hat tagged for two dollars and without a word from me, she proceeded to call for a manager, the manager then agreed to give me all the hats for two dollars! What a blessing!
Singing Christmas carols as we distribute gifts
I rejoiced in those bargain moments 🙂 but my greatest joy came when I saw a precious little eight years old girl (gifts were labeled by age), dig into her sparkly gift bag and pulled out out a matching scarf and hat set. She smiled widely then donned her hat and wrapped her scarf securely around neck, I couldn’t hold back the tears.
A few of our young people made history in our town by being the first to go caroling in front of the local Best Buy and also at the beautiful Cross County Mall in our city. Our “MVP”, affectionately called Sis. Angie 🙂 reported that the mall’s management team graciously turned off their overhead music for our Youth as they sang! WHAT!!!
Last but certainly not least was the FIRST EVER CROSSHEIRS YOUTH RETREAT 2014!!! This was a vision of our Pastor to see the young people have a retreat at the end of the year, we tried last year but it didn’t materialize. But this year, because it was God’s will and also because of the amazing Youth Committee Team we were able to host our first ever CYR 2014!!
Praise and Worship
games and Activities
Everyone raved about having an awesome time in the Lord. The preached word of God was RICH and powerful, the songs were anointed and ENERGETIC! The prayer was PASSIONATE and the fellowship was REAL!!
The only thing more I can say about that is: Be There This Year at CYR 2015 (if the Lord should tarry)!
I’ll be back soon with more on our Holiday activities and a big exciting announcement I will be making regarding my plans for this year. May God richly bless you on this very special first day of the Year 2015 🙂