I am begging your pardon now, as the next couple of weeks may prove to be unusually hectic and I may miss a posting or two.
I was recently cleared to volunteer for Prison Ministry's Angel Tree program. I'm contacting families who are caring for a child who is missing a parent in prison. Some families handle challenges with the patience, persistence and grace that comes from long practice and a strong spiritual foundation. Others are overwhelmed with the financial pressures, changes of living arrangements, sorrows and challenges of caring for children in at least some degree of sadness (if for nothing more than having parents who have to be in "time out" and the social challenges that come with that; or for a history of chaos and poor parenting, but still longing to be loved by their parents; and everywhere along the spectrum.)
Then comes the challenges of checking with churches and community organizations who have participated in the past, but have not confirmed their involvement this year, and the recruiting of new churches to help with the still growing number of children to be served.
Please pray for these Angel Tree children, their caregivers and the parents who struggle to remind their children they are not forgotten, not the cause of their parent's mistakes, not invisible.
And if your church would like to participate, please let me know. I'd be happy to help you make the connection that can make all the difference for a child this Christmas, and give you many of the blessings of a mission trip without the travel and expense.
Oh, God of second chances, open the hearts, the wallets, the calendars, the church doors that powers ministry to children and caregivers and folks seeking a way back to lives of purpose and hope. Help us be agents of forgiveness, redemption, and renewal in ways that help us swell the ranks of the successful rehabilitated. AMEN