Last month we celebrated two birthdays at the Livingston mission. The most important, of course, was the commemoration of the birth of God as a human, Jesus Christ, over 2,000 years ago. (Obviously, that birthday was celebrated around the world, not just in Livingston.) Jesus forever changed history and has the power to change the lives of anyone willing to believe in Him and submit to Him. It is because of Him we minister to the poor and homeless.
The other birthday was for a young man just turning six-years-old. He and his dad were staying at the shelter and when one of our former residents, Brandy Ringo, found out his birthday was coming up, she got busy and planned a party for him. The Livingston Volunteer Fire Department found out about the party and bought gifts and attended the party with a fire truck, a ladder truck, and a rescue truck. A passing police officer stopped to see why the fire trucks were at GODTEL and joined the party as well. The children in attendance were given tours of the different vehicles, which delighted them almost as much as the cake, ice cream and the multitude of presents. (Click the button below to see the photos.)
There was only one problem. Though the dad had given his permission for a party to be held for his son, and was told the time of the party, he and his son failed to attend. In fact, they never came back to the mission. We were all very sad that the child was denied this experience and pray both of them.
This reminds me of the prophecy in the Bible about the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, the celebration which will take place when all Christians arrive in Heaven. Though all men are invited, not all will accept the invitation, thus missing not only this Feast, but also an eternity in the incredible place where God lives—Heaven (the third heaven).
In celebration of the birth of Christ, GODTEL, in both Livingston and Nacogdoches, was the most thankful recipient of an outpouring of love and generous gift-giving during the month of December. Many individuals (young, old, and in-between), church groups, and businesses brought a multitudinous variety of presents to be distributed to our residents and the poor people we minister to.
In Livingston, our mission manager, Benita Woodmansee, displayed the many new and gently-used toys in one corner of our Day Room (where we meet and eat — see photo below — this was taken in the early stages of donations). She called this “Grandma’s Corner” and would bring families in to let their children choose whatever gifts they desired. She even told the parents that the choice was solely the children’s so they had to stand back until the child/children had made their choice. Benita took pictures of most of the families (see insert). She said just looking at the children’s happy faces gave her great joy. Many, many thanks to all of you who helped made this possible.
We pray that God will bless you abundantly in many ways as we begin a new year.
Christmas Day Report
Most likely due to the pandemic, we had far fewer attendees at our three Christmas Banquets than in previous years. Even so, the food and fellowship were still very enjoyable.
Our Lufkin mission served a fabulous brunch at 10:00 a.m. to 29 people (17 meals to residents and 12 carry-outs). The ingredients to prepare this meal were donated by the T.E.L./Willing Workers S.S. Class of LifePoint Church in Lufkin.
After the noon devotion in Nacogdoches, we fed 56 individuals, most of them residents. We were delighted for Pat, “The Pie Lady,” to be well enough to be here. For many years she has brought home-made pies for Thanksgiving and Christmas which we, who have previously enjoyed her baking skills, greatly anticipate. (Above photo is Pat cutting delectable wedges of deliciousness.)
June and I ended our day at the Livingston mission at 4:00 p.m. where we served 17 people (who probably ate enough for twice that many mouths). Ms. Benita had prepared a delicious brisket with perfect gravy and so-o many wonderful side dishes. Our day was brightened even more by a variety of delicious donated desserts.
Both Stephanie (our Nacogdoches cook) and Benita (our Livingston cook) were blessed with food donations to help make our season bright (and tasty). They expressed their thanks to God over and over for His bountiful provision and the loving generosity of His children.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for the food, fruit, desserts, gifts, and practical demonstrations of your love for God and man. We are blessed and encouraged — ready for the new year.
Are You Ready for 2021?
This may be the year Jesus returns as the conquering King the Jews were anticipating when He came as the Christ Child over 2,000 year ago. He will judge all mankind by His book so don’t be ignorant of its truths. Read, study, memorize it. (2 Timothy 2:15)
May you all have a safe and peaceful New Year. (You can expect good things if you remember the promise of Psalm 84:11 and make the very important choices to do what’s right.)