By Miriam Ankerbrand
As a staff member who is often working behind the scenes, there are times when you wonder if what you are doing is really making a difference. This year has been especially trying with the many changes that have come because of the pandemic – working from home, changes of responsibilities, having to do things differently to adapt, etc. It’s been difficult over the past few months to know if what you’re doing is making an impact.
Over the past few years, I have had the privilege to coordinate our Angel Tree campers. These children have a parent (sometimes both) in prison or a parent that has previously been in prison. We partner with Prison Fellowship to provide these children a week of summer camp.
The past few years, I have seen a substantial increase in the number of students who come to camp through this program. This year, those numbers went down, mainly due to families being fearful of the virus. When it was all said and done, when summer was over, we only had 96 children come to camp through Angel Tree. This was quite a drop from the previous year’s 120 children. I was grateful for how many had come, but was disappointed that it wasn’t more. I felt as though I had failed in my role.
That all changed today! One of the housekeepers came to me this morning and handed me a tattered green bag. “I found this while I was cleaning today. I don’t know if there’s anything you can use in it.” Each summer, we provide (with help from Prison Fellowship) a green bag with toiletries and a Bible to every Angel Tree camper.
I opened the bag and pulled out the contents. There were several crumpled papers, a pencil and some partially used toiletries. As I began to toss out the used items, something caught my eye. It was a neatly folded paper with colorful writing. I opened it and what was inside made me realize that my work had not been in vain.
The young lady who had used this bag decorated the note with hearts and the word “Prayer” in rainbow colors. Inside she wrote, “Dear God, Pls forgive me for my sins. Thank you for this week! I love you.”
Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Though this year had hard and discouraging moments, it was a good reminder to find this note and know that when we persevere, we will “reap a harvest”. God showed me this promise through a simple note from a child who now believes in Him.
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