At nine years old, Desmond is already well aware of the troubles of the world. His prayers reflect how his father's incarceration has affected him: "I pray for Jesus to help me and my mom out with our house and food and bills," he shares.
Desmond's situation is not uncommon. One in every 28 children in America has a parent locked behind bars. For many of them, their lives are filled with abandonment, loneliness, and the shame that accompanies having an incarcerated parent. Some even follow their parents' destructive path to prison.
THE CHOICES WE MAKE
Desmond's mother worries about him. She has explained to her son as best as she can where his father is and why. Desmond knows that his father has made poor choices that have led him down the dark path to prison. His mother prays that her son will make good choices in life and find his worth in God.
Angel Tree Camping® offers children with incarcerated parents the chance to be a kid for the summer. Camp invites Angel Tree® kids to relax, have fun, and make friends with children who are going through many of the same things at home. It also becomes a safe place for children to learn valuable lessons that progress their maturity and emotional development.
EQUIPPED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
Last year at camp, Desmond got in trouble for his reaction to his cabin mates' poor behavior. Upset that he was in trouble, Desmond complained to one of his camp counselors. "It's not fair," he says.
The camp counselor asked Desmond if he was a Christian. When Desmond said "yes", he was, the counselor reminded him that God has equipped him with the Holy Spirit, who can help during confrontation with others.
Although Desmond couldn't change the other boy's behavior, the counselor explained, "he can change his response."”
Together, Desmond and the counselor prayed for the boys in Desmond's cabin and how he should interact with them. As Desmond prayed aloud, he also began to pray for the other children at camp and even Christians persecuted around the world.
"To me, it was a beautiful picture of how prayer resets our focus from ourselves and our problems to a Christ-like concern for others," the counselor said.
'WE ALL NEED GOD TO HELP US'
When asked how Angel Tree camp impacted him, Desmond shares, "I learned my camp leaders are friends forever, and that Jesus loves me a lot."
He says he also learned the importance of prayer. In addition to praying for his mother and himself, Desmond now prays for children he sees acting badly. "We all need God to help us," he explains.