Church Newsletter For Christmas, 1998

Greetings from one who loves you!

This is a special combination mid-month/Christmas newsletter, so I'm going to do something a little different. This morning (December 20), being the last Sunday before Christmas, Augusta Street Ministries celebrated Christmas with the homeless in the Augusta area. We took some photographs, and here they are, along with commentary.

Every Sunday, when we visit the homeless, the first thing we do is pass out sack lunches. Of course, we always bless the food before passing out the lunches, and that's what you see here. Notice, the men always participate in the blessing and show the proper respect for Our Lord. Most of the men even take off their caps while the blessing is being said, though some forget sometimes. It always touches my heart to see our homeless brothers and sisters participating in the blessing.

After we pass out the lunches, and before we distribute any of the other items, I do a little street preaching, in this case, from the back of a pick-up truck. I've learned to keep the message short (after all, if I start boring them, they'll wander off!), followed by an invitation to accept Christ. This morning, 8 homeless folks accepted Christ! In December alone, over 32 homeless men, women, and children have accepted Christ as their Savior. In the nine months of Augusta Street Ministries' existence, upwards of 60 to 70 homeless folks have accepted Christ. Praise God!

Many homeless never receive presents on Christmas, since they're usually estranged from their families and loved ones. This morning, we passed out over 100 gift packages to the homeless we minister to. With a little variation between the packages for men and women, each package contained the following items:a razor, a can of shaving cream, a full sized bar of soap, a tube of toothpaste, a small bottle of shampoo, a small bottle of skin lotion (homelessness frequently leads to a variety of skin problems), deodorant, a roll of Lifesavers candy, a pair of gloves, a pair of socks, and, best of all, each package contained a pocket-sized New Testament. While these may seem like pretty basic items to us, they are all badly needed by the homeless, and many of their hearts were touched to receive the packages.

In this photograph, you see one of our volunteers, Sister Carol, giving a new toy to Crystal, one of the homeless children in our area. That's Crystal's mom to the left. They've been homeless for over a month. Fifteen brand new toys were given to the homeless children living at the Salvation Army this morning. Now, let me tell you a story about little Crystal. Last week, while we were conducting the street ministry, Sister Carol gave Crystal a cute little stuffed bunny (it was Bugs Bunny eating a carrot). Well, Angie and Crystal came back to church with us for services. Sister Carol took Crystal to the nursery, and let the teacher there know that this was one of our homeless children, and to be sure and look after her. The teacher bent down to Crystal and said, "That sure is a cute bunny you have there. Where'd you get that?" And little Crystal looked up at her with her big brown eyes and said, "An angel gave it to me." Brothers and sisters, if that doesn't touch your heart, you better check and make sure it's still beating!

Here's a photo of where some of the homeless in our area sleep at night. This is a row of mattresses underneath the John C. Calhoun Expressway overpass. As you can see, the railroad tracks run right through the sleeping area, and I can testify that, yes, the trains do come through there, and they are very loud. Imagine sleeping under a bridge every night, with a train running just a few feet away.

Well, brothers and sisters, that's our special Christmas newsletter for this year. I hope it's been a blessing to you. Please know that you are all in my prayers, and I pray that each and every one of you have a joyous and blessed Christmas this year. I'll be checking out the church chat room off and on during Christmas day, so if you get a chance, drop in and share a little fellowship. And remember, I love you!

God bless you all.

Yours in Christ,
Brother Dave

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