A Message from the Divisional Commander: Angel Tree 2022

Jan 24, 2023

Written by Major Marc Johnson, Indiana Divisional Commander 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we all became acutely aware of one very important human need: the need to connect with one another…in person! While this affected many things, our normal Angel Tree distribution of gifts was adapted to include a “drive through” service where families would pull up in their vehicles, and while volunteers (elves, as we like to call them) picked up their gifts and loaded them in their vehicle, another volunteer had the opportunity to meet that other important basic need of human contact.

We simply engaged in short, intentional conversations as they waited. These were great opportunities to share love and hope with each family. When a prayer was offered at the end of the brief conversation, it was almost always received warmly.

This human contact proved so powerful that we have continued to utilize the drive-through delivery system in 2022. As I am fluent in Spanish, I was conversing with a Hispanic dad about activities we offered for his family throughout the year.

When I asked how I could pray for him, he responded, “¡Por mi alma!” – “For my soul!”

After asking him to be more specific, he said he was not sure about his relationship with God, but he wanted to know he was “saved.” Among other assurances, I briefly shared the promise of God to all who repent found in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” I then led him in a prayer of repentance, after which he smiled, shook my hand, and proceeded to the pickup point for his children’s gifts.

I believe God had an extra special gift for that family this year: the gift of knowing how to be sure of a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ! I have prayed for that man numerous times since that cold day on December 13, 2022, that he would continue to seek God and grow in his relationship with Him. Thanks to the generous donations of toys and other gifts for his children, this man found relief from his doubt and spiritual insecurities that day. Now that is a valuable gift!

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