On paper, my nephew should never have become addicted to drugs. He was a bright young man raised in a wonderful home by godly parents. And yet, he traded it all in for his substance abuse, leaving his heartbroken family behind when he went to prison.
Beth’s dad liked to drink. Sometimes he’d drink too much and end up behind bars. He wasn’t always there when Beth needed him.
But he did something special for her while in prison—he signed up for Angel Tree.
For many people, the holiday season brings to mind images of bright light displays, evenings spent in front of a warm fireplace, and gatherings of friends and families. It is a time of good tidings, meant to be shared with loved ones.
In moments of challenge, you and I have two options: We can yield to anxiety, or we can choose thanksgiving. We can rejoice in our secure spiritual inheritance. We can rest in God’s promises of provision. We can trust the One who holds us in the palms of His nail-scarred hands.
When Ann Lownin first considered volunteering with Prison Fellowship, she admits to being a little nervous.
“At first I thought it was going to be intimidating, but it is not intimidating at all,” Lowin says. “It is so rewarding, and I have met some of the most special people.”
“God doesn’t waste our pain.”
Heidi should know. She spent more than eight years in prison, separated from her three young children. And they were some of the most painful years of her life.
“He’s always there,” she recalls.
Hayden’s life collapsed the day his daddy went to prison. But today, Hayden is getting the love and support of caring Angel Tree volunteers and the church community where it all happens.
In a major criminal justice reform speech this week, President Obama brought attention to the steep rise in America’s prison population over the last few decades—and its collateral consequences for prisoners’ children.
“Around one million fathers are behind bars,” the president said.
Many friends like you help us with Angel Tree year after year, whether it’s by praying, giving financially, wrapping a gift, or working at a Christmas party. This past Christmas, you helped us match 330,663 children with volunteers who delivered gifts, the Gospel, and personal messages from moms and dads behind bars.
I have been an Angel Tree church coordinator for many years, but 2014 has to have been the best ministry year yet.
This past December, Angel Tree took gifts and the Gospel to children with a mom or dad in prison all around the county. At Prison Fellowship, we’ve been hearing amazing reports from our Angel Tree volunteers about the lives and families that were touched through the program this Christmas.
Christmas is only a few days away, and already we are hearing great stories telling how Angel Tree is transforming the lives of men and women behind bars and their families.
In James Island, South Carolina, Angel Tree volunteers at Harbor View Presbyterian Church have been providing gifts to the children of prisoners on behalf of their parents for many years.
Thank you to all of Angel Tree's partners, volunteers, and supporters who are sharing God's love with kids throughout the country this Christmas season!
Lee Allen, author of the popular book The Special Guest: A Christmas Story, and his wife Donna Campbell Allen (the illustrator for The Special Guest) are sponsoring Angel Tree this Christmas season. The Allens‘ goal is to raise $100,000 through a promotion called the “12 Days Before Christmas: $100K Challenge.”
My wife Cathy’s family calls this time of year ThanksMas. As Cathy’s brothers married, and we all moved away and starting having kids, her family made up this holiday to create a time to gather. The meal consists of both Thanksgiving and Christmas fare, and we give gifts.