Today is the final post in the Themes of Christmas series. Some of you would like to keep going, but I know some of you are more than happy to move on. How about this? I’m going to swear off of 31-day series until at least next October; I’ll reconsider then.
But today, I have one important post I’d like to share with you as we end 2013 and look forward to a new year.
I’ve thought a lot about Light over the past few days… ever since receiving an update from Brazil. I’ve shared with you about the new work Hope Unlimited for Children is beginning with the boys’ prisons in Vitória, but last week we were asked to begin working with girls, too. I’ve told you how we’ve prayed for that opportunity, but we had no idea the answer would involve incarcerated girls. Just the thought twists my heart up in knots.
This is what we learned from Philip Smith, co-founder and CEO of Hope Unlimited for Children following his visit to the girls’ prison.
Their cells are dark and damp, all concrete and mold, leaking water, with concrete slabs as beds. It looks like the inside of a very ratty tomb. The girls have no organized activities or stimulation whatsoever.
And I thought the boys’ prisons I toured were bad…
Sounds like a place in desperate need of the light of Hope.
The update continued…
Earlier this week, our team spent their first day with the girls. Carlos, our art teacher, led a music class; the girls will have a private performance for Hope staff and a few guests on New Year’s Eve! On Christmas Day, a Hope Unlimited Santa showed up, and our staff spent time getting to know the girls. On the first day of 2014, a pizza party and movie night will take place at the prison, and we will have opportunity to share the message of Good News with the girls.
In only a week’s time, Light has begun to shine in one of the world’s darkest locations. At Hope we don’t know where this journey will lead, but we do know that broken young hearts need to be bound up, precious souls cry for freedom, and light must pierce this darkness.
As best we can find out, there is no other organization in the world doing the type of work with incarcerated children that Hope is beginning. Using our tried-and-true model of transformational care with mortal-risk children as a foundation, this ministry has the potential to bring Light to desperately hopeless children both in Brazil and around the world. Having prayed and researched for over two years, it is in faith that we now step into the darkness, boldly carrying the Light of Him who sends us.
I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. Acts 25:17-18
If you are so inclined, please
- join us in prayer for the ministry of Hope Unlimited, its staff, and the children we serve
- tell others in your circle of influence (family, friends, churches, civic groups) about the work of Hope; Renaissance Man and I are always available to help you
- consider inviting a Hope speaker to your church, men’s/women’s retreat, etc.
- stand beside Hope financially with an end-of-year gift – or a monthly commitment Any gift made before midnight tonight (Dec. 31) will receive 2013 tax credit.
A theme of Light requires candles… LOTS of candles. Everywhere you look candles.
What do you think our homes, communities, world would look like if we took this seriously?
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
I’ve enjoyed spending 2013 with you, and I look forward to the year ahead. May you find inspiration, encouragement, and challenge whenever you stop by for a visit. And may the Light of love radiate from your life to those around you. Happy New Year!
If you missed any themes in the Themes of Christmas series, they’re all listed HERE.