Monday, December 26, 2011

How was your Christmas?

Ours was very nice... we attended the 4:30pm Candlelight Service at our church on Christmas Eve, then returned for the 9am service on Christmas Day...

If you've had a chance to look at my earlier posts (since Thanksgiving)... I've put a lot on here about our LOVE ORLANDO campaign that was begun this past March when Christian author Bruce Wilkinson (Prayer of Jabez) came and spoke one Sunday and challenged us to make a difference for the newly homeless families in Central Florida (which had been highlighted in a segment of 60 Minutes on NBC)... (I have links to the video of those segments if you scroll back to those postings... if you have a few minutes to watch them.)

Well... that weekend that he spoke, our church members (in 3 services) pledged to contribute -- by the end of the year -- $5.6 million (over and above our regular giving/tithes -- a real miracle in a time of recession and the highest unemployment Orlando has every experienced) to help those families who had recently lost their homes in our area... it has been an AMAZING 9 months!

Anyway... after our two morning services yesterday, we had 1,000 boxes of food to be hand delivered by our members to famlies who had been identified by the children's schools I believe (the families had been notified they would be getting them)... so we volunteered to deliver a box after the 9am service... we were handed a piece of paper with an address and the names and phone number of the family we were to deliver our box to...

I had also put together a Christmas gift bag containing some of my cookies, a tin with some candies, some hot chocolate mix, one of my Christmas cards, and a Christmas mix CD I had made... to go along with the box of food when we delivered it.

We got to the address, less than a mile from our church, and in a poor, primarily black section of town... only to find the house entirely empty... we could see in the windows and confirmed that no one was living there... absolutely nothing on the bare floors, etc.
So we headed back to our church to report the situation and get another address... the second house was about 2 miles from our church... same type of neighborhood... however, as we got into the neighborhood we noticed that several of the homes were completely boarded up... we got to the address we had been given only to find that it too was one of the boarded-up homes... across the street, there was a woman outside at a vehicle in her driveway and we spoke to her and told her we were there to deliver a box of food to that house and she confirmed that no one was living there. So we did the next logical thing... we asked her if she could use the box of food which she said she could so she was the recipient of the box as well as my Christmas giftbag full of goodies... I know God will bless whoever got it... but it was very sad and disappointing to think that the two families we tried to deliver to were not even in their homes anymore... It just makes me wonder where they are now... in a homeless shelter, living in a relative's garage, or worse, on the street.

There are so many ways we can help one another... please find a local charity whose work you admire and volunteer... and please continue to give, give, give to the food banks! This need is the greatest it has ever been in Orlando/Central Florida.

I pray you have a wonderful year in 2012... our church's theme this year has been A Passion for God... next year it is A Passion for People... I think we've already got a pretty good headstart on that one... I can't wait to see what He's going to do through his people in the coming 12 months!


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