The birth of Christ is a historical fact. The exact time of year He was born, however, is debatable. Christians are thankful to our Heavenly Father for the gift of Jesus, and thankful to Jesus for the gift of salvation He offers to anyone who will make the choice to believe He is God and will save them from hell to Heaven. That kind of belief produces repentance — a change of direction from living for selfish pleasures (sin) to living by every word out of the mouth of God. With the gift of salvation comes peace, power, love, joy, protection, guidance, and responsibility. Did I fail to mention trials and testing and persecution? Ahh, but God’s grace is sufficient for every difficulty and He supplies everything we need — and often more than that.
Each December 25th, we celebrate God’s gift to us and follow the example of the wise men by giving gifts to others. This year the residents at our three missions were blessed beyond measure by the generosity of individuals who showed the loving care of God for the poor. We even had plenty of toys to distribute to the children whose parents came to our Christian Help Centers for clothing, shoes, and coats.
At the Livingston mission we were blessed with a Christmas meal and/or gifts from three separate churches: Barnum Baptist Church in Chester, Calvary Baptist Church in Woodville, and Grace Bible Fellowship in Fred. Our residents were presented with gift cards, gloves, hats, candies, fruit, soft robes, personal hygiene and beauty products, tee shirts, and more. Two of our residents revealed that they had never had such a wonderful Christmas.
Let me tell you about Addison. This young lady has a heart to help the homeless and for the past three years, with her mother and grandmother’s help, she has brought pillows and blankets to gift to our shelter residents — and even the staff. She has a winning smile (as you can see in the pictures below) and a bubbly personality to match. Her smile was definitely contagious as she handed out her gifts to those present when she arrived the week before Christmas.
Pictured below is the group from Calvary Baptist in Woodville presenting gifts to Bro. June and myself.
That was just at the Livingston shelter. Much the same activity took place at our Nacogdoches mission with food and gifts from many individuals, groups, and churches. There were so many, I cannot name them all but God knows who you are and we pray He will bless you in many ways for your generosity.
Pastor John Wyatt presented his Tuesday evening Bible study and brought the “Angelic Carolers” who sang Christmas songs to us (for the second year).
Rupert Purifoy with the U.S. Department of Agriculture brought several boxes of gifts they had collected for GODTEL to distribute. (See below)
That donation along with many others from various sources, including the Dollar General store on University Drive, delighted a great many children as they were allowed to pick out special toys — just for them. Their faces radiated with joy.
Each of GODTEL’s missions had a special and bountiful meal on Christmas day. The Lufkin shelter served a fabulous brunch to 65 people at 10:00 a.m. After a devotion by Bro. June at the other two shelters, we served around 90 people at noon in Nacogdoches and we served 46 people at 4:00 p.m. in Livingston.
Much of the cooking, set-up for and serving of the meal at the Nacogdoches mission was done by Jackie Haley (who operates our CHC) and members of Hall Springs Baptist Church, including the pastor, Rupert Purifoy and his wife, and three of Ms. Jackie’s handsome grandsons and other family members. Most of the desserts were provided by “Pat, the Pie Lady” who has baked delicious pies for GODTEL’s Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for many years.
In Livingston, our dynamo of a mission manager and full-time cook, Benita Woodmansee did the decorating, planning, prepping, cooking, and serving of the meal, with able help from several of the residents.
Our thanks to all those who helped make this a most memorable Christmas.