We don’t always hear about the details of what goes on, in the delivery of a particular ministry. And so today, I want to give you some of those details – and details that I found so encouraging – I hope you are greatly encouraged too.
The ministry I am talking about is this: it is the Angel Tree ministry. Each year we put out our Christmas Tree in church, and ask you to place unwrapped gifts or gift vouchers under it, and at the same time place a decoration on the tree. We usually do this for about four weeks, leading up to Christmas. And the hope is that the tree, after these four weeks, is well and truly decorated, reflecting the many gifts under it.
And what are the gifts for? They are for the families, carers and children, of those who find themselves in our local prison over Christmas. And so the idea is to bring a little comfort to those who are missing a loved one this Christmas. This is a ministry organised by Bill & Christine Fairbrother, who used to be members of TGS, until they retired up to the Tablelands some years back. They are very involved in ministry at Lotus Glen Correctional Centre, of which the Angel Tree is just one aspect.
Now for the details – and I hope you find the details most encouraging. This year we had a great number of gifts placed under the tree – more than any past year. We also had more than a thousand dollars of gift vouchers placed under the tree. And the gift vouchers are very handy as we can purchase age appropriate gifts for the specific person or family member. This year, we had so many gifts, that we gave some of them to another church here in Cairns, who are also involved in the Angel Tree ministry. And when they picked them up, they couldn’t believe that the gifts were our leftovers – as there were so many.
We also had about 30 people from TGS (yes, 30!) volunteer to wrap the gifts and deliver them to the 26 families and 55 children that were on our list for south of Cairns (the area we were asked to do in 2017). And just about everyone who received a gift was moved – and some to tears – in appreciation. Many of our deliverers were asked to come in to the person’s home for a cuppa (we didn’t – but that shows the sort of reception given). And some even asked for prayer (which was given).
Yes, what a ministry – what an encouraging ministry to be involved in – what a mercy ministry as such – showing the love of God to those we don’t even know, but certainly need comforting through his love…. and especially at Christmas. Thanks everyone; thank you Lord.
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