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Saturday, December 8, 2012

"Christmas Store 2012"

Our annual Christmas store took place today at our church.  This is our 10th year for this event.  We had over 3,000 toys and over 300 bikes that were given to our church by church members, other organizations and individuals that do not even attend our church.  We were able to minister to over 500 families.  Invitations are given out to the local area elementary schools through the school counselors, women's homes and a few other local organizations.  All the toys and bikes are divided evenly among the 6 separate hours that are printed on the invitations, so that no matter if you have an invitation for the first hour or last hour, families have the same chance to pick out great toys for their children.  If people came to the store without an invitation, they were told to come back at 2:00pm and would have a chance to receive toys.  Every family that came through the store were able to receive at least 4 toys each and some were able to receive more.  Their children were taken to our Chapel, made crafts and could pick out gifts for the parents while the parents shopped. All the gifts were wrapped and carried to their cars before they picked their kids back up.  The first 400 families also received a turkey dinner with all the trimmings to make a Christmas dinner.  After the dinners ran out, every family received a $25 Wal-Mart gift card in order to purchase their meal or other needs that they might have.  Again, everything given out was given by individuals that God has blessed and were allowing Him to use them to bless others. 

Over 3,000 Toys!!!!

Entry leading to the children's area

Over 300 Bikes-not all are shown in this picture.
There is no way an event like this could happen without many volunteers.  Some of the people that give and volunteer are individuals that had been blessed by this ministry in the past and wanted to give back.  The gospel is shared at the beginning to every person that comes to the Christmas store.  Over 20 individuals made decisions today to make Jesus their Lord and Saviour.  If it weren't for Jesus, this event would not be possible or even worth having.  He is the greatest gift that has ever been given.  There is nothing you can do to earn or even deserve a gift like Him.  He was born of a virgin, lived a perfect sinless life, died on the cross for all our sins, was buried in tomb and in 3 days He arose.  He left His Holy Spirit to dwell in us and among us, but never forces Himself upon us.  We have to believe and receive that gift.  I am so grateful for eternal salvation because I have received His gift of life in my own life.  My prayer is that others will believe and realize apart from Him there is no hope or security in life.  There were so many unbelievably sad stories of hurt, loneliness, hopelessness, despair, loss of jobs, loss of homes, etc. that were shared today with many of us that volunteered.  I realize apart from God's grace, I too could be one of the individuals that were at the store today on the other side of the spectrum.  We could not meet every need today or provide every toy that was needed, but my prayer is that people left our "Christmas store" today with Hope in their lives. 
A small glimpse of volunteers that helped today.
"Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

1 comment:

  1. That is truly an incredible ministry! Please post more specific details - this is something that needs to "catch on" everywhere!