Two weeks before Christmas, the Nacogdoches mission suffered a flu epidemic with four of our residents going to the hospital. When long-time worker Joe Martinez was admitted, we got a call from the hospital wanting information about what was going on at the mission. They brought us surgical masks and a case of hand sanitizer to pass out to try and bring the contagion to a halt. They also told us they were working with the other hospital and the CDC in a coordinated effort to identify the exact strain we were dealing with. We greatly appreciate their concern and efforts to help.
At this writing, Joe is still in ICU on a ventilator with pneumonia, flu, and the beginning of kidney failure. Please join us in praying for him.
We would also appreciate your prayers for another Joe, Joe Sager, a Vietnam vet, with no family, who has faithfully been helping at our Livingston mission since 2003. He is diabetic and had a part of his right foot removed. He has been in the V.A. hospital in Houston since October 24th. We are hoping he will be able to return to us soon.
Christmas Day Report
We have been blessed, humbled, and amazed at the outpouring of gifts to be given to our residents for Christmas this year. Stockings packed full and running over with candy, nuts, fruit, personal hygiene items, warm hand knitted scarves, gloves, caps, socks, underwear, gift certificates, etc. were handed out to our residents on Christmas Eve. Donated toys were given to approximately 20 children who came to our Christian Help Ctr. with their parents.
On Christmas Day we gathered around the tables with volunteers, residents, former residents, friends, and family to enjoy turkey, stuffing, ham, gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green-bean casserole, corn, rolls, tea, and many desserts—all delicious. (Bro. June was very good to stay on his low-cholesterol diet and He is being very diligent to exercise. I am so proud of him!)
We served 72 meals in Nacogdoches, 48 in Lufkin, and another 48 in Livingston.
Our sincere thanks to all the volunteers who gave their time and effort to help prepare, set up, and serve the meals and to the individuals and businesses who donated items to make this day extra special. The entire teaching staff (minus one) of the Cushing, TX Elementary School came just before Christmas to sing carols and serve a meal to the residents at the Nacogdoches mission. May God bless every one of you for your service to the poor.
One donor especially blessed us. Addison is eight-years old now but when she was six her family lost everything in the flooding that Hurricane Harvey produced. She knows how it feels to be without a home and her heart longs to help others who have suffered loss. Christmas of 2017 she brought personal blankets for all the residents of our Livingston mission. This Christmas she again brought blankets but with matching pillows and a bag containing personal hygiene items, socks, and candy. Her mother and grandmother are supporting her in this endeavor as she seeks to minister to and comfort the homeless poor.
No Good Thing...
One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Psalm 84:11: “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly”. What an awesome promise. As long as we truly obey God (as James 1:22 commands: “Be ye doers of the Word, not hearers only, deceiving yourselves”), He will provide guidance, understanding, light for our pathway, protection, grace to endure the valleys He leads us through, the glory of victory, and He will not withhold from us any good thing. Whatever God allows into the lives of His children, no matter how it feels, is for our good and is just what we need.
I write Psalm 84:11 in almost every card I send and try to remind myself frequently to be careful to seek God first in all things, to be diligent in work and in seeking Him, to love Him supremely, and to love others as He has commanded (and defined in 1 Corinthians 13).
The return of Jesus is a sure thing. The Bible and the signs of the times let us know that we are in the very last of the last days. This new year could usher in the end of waiting for our Savior’s return and the beginning of the next part of God’s plan — the millennial reign of Christ on earth.