Recently during a time of meditation, I distinctly heard the Lord Jesus say,
“Remember the poor this Christmas.”
Although the majority of my ministry consists of preaching and teaching, this was the perfect opportunity to pour out in a different way, a tangible and intimate expression of the love and message of the gospel.
Here’s what we did. I rounded up the people I’m discipling and invited a few other friends along.
We all pitched in and bought some presents for a variety of families in need. I specifically wanted to bless families that really had little to nothing. The word the Lord gave me is that they are not forgotten by Him.
Here are the stories of the families and pictures from the outreach on December 12, 2015. Thank you to everyone who participated and gave! It was my honor and privilege to lead and minister along side you all.
Zack Surunis writing Bible verses on the Christmas cards we passed out.
Arjun Thounaojam proudly presents one of the gifts. That he wrapped!
Prayer time before we go minister.
The first family we visited was a refugee family from Thailand / Sri Lanka. Their father had wanted to get them out of the country so badly that he had threatened suicide if the government didn’t send them to the USA to have a better life. He tried to reunite with them but was prevented due to an illegitimate passport. He is currently in prison in Thailand.
The mother was so grateful we came that she made us a small meal afterwards with the little food she had. We got to sing them some Christmas carols, pray for each of the children, gave them a Bible, and some gifts. The big hits were the sheriff kit (with handcuffs!) and the whiffle lacrosse set. One of the two young boys prayed to receive Jesus. The names of the family are: Sitta (mother), Thomas (son), Johanna (daughter), Jude, and Paul (younger sons).
Thomas lives in a group home. Please pray for this family to continue to experience the love and growth of God in all their lives.
Kids opening presents.
Group picture with the family.
“You’ll never get away! I’ve got you now,” says Paul.
Where’s the sheriff to help keep poor Roberto from being kidnapped and turned into a Ninja Turtle?
Sitta makes us a meal as a measure of her gratitude towards us.
After we finished with the family in Oakland, we went to Berkeley for a number of stops.
Unfortunately, a couple of the people we had intended to visit weren’t at home as planned… but we made the most of it and went around the neighborhood caroling!
There was a woman named Barbara who was hesitant at first and then as she sat and listened to us sing Joy to the World, and Hark! The Herald Angel’s sing, she began to warm up. Minutes later her husband Alfredo shows up and joins in the caroling! He later thanked us for coming and said that it’s so good that we’re out doing this. He insisted on giving me money to help with the church.
Next, we met a woman named Eve walking her dog. She saw us and asked if we were carolers. We said yes and she joined in singing along with us. We got to pray for her at the end and invited her to recommit her life to Jesus.
Lastly, in the picture below, there’s an apartment building that Zack thought would be a good idea to go up to. To our delight, both families came out of their apartments, joined us in the caroling, and thanked us. We got to pray for them all at the end before saying good bye.
Us in front of the apartment building where we caroled. From left: Frania Martinez, Erika Alvarez Martinez, Betty Yu, Arjun Thounaojam, me (Zac Linton), Roberto Diaz, Zack Surunis. And the talented Cassandra Lopez was taking the photo!
The last family we visited was a Mexican family. The father’s name was Adolfo and the little grand daughter is Marisol.
Marisol opened her present which was a stuffed animal. The other daughter was named Jasmina. She got an Etch-a-Sketch, some Origami, and a Hoola-hoop.
We prayed for them, sang for them, and read them the Christmas story from Luke 2. Frania even got to pray for Adolfo in Spanish! I don’t know exactly what she said… but I’m sure it was good! (I felt the anointing on it.)
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) and,
“Whatever you have done unto the least of these my brothers, you have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:40)
In all these visits, I could just feel the love and heartbeat of God for the people all over. Some are very broken and struggling. Some rejected the news while others rejoiced at the glad tidings we brought.
Truly, the greatest gift ever given is that of Jesus Christ, God’s Son born into the world. There’s no greater reason to celebrate. Amen!
This concludes our Christmas outreach. We hope you were encouraged and inspired by these testimonies and may God use you also to let people know they are not forgotten this Christmas.
Peace, joy, and love to you and yours this holy season.
(PS Thank you everyone for your participation and also to Jackie and Mario Alvarez Martinez even though you couldn’t make the whole thing!)