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    Author: Lisa Bobak

    Category: The Pulse 2018, The Pulse - 2018.45 Issue 45, The Pulse - 2018.46 Issue 46

    Give Joy to a Prisoner’s Child through Angel Tree

    DID YOU KNOW THAT 1 IN 28 AMERICAN CHILDREN HAVE A PARENT IN PRISON? Angel Tree, a ministry of Prison Fellowship, seeks to share Christ’s love by helping to meet the physical and spiritual needs of prisoners’ families. For Christmas, volunteers purchase gifts in the name of a prisoner-parent. You can be part of blessing 35 local families starting Sunday, November 18th, at the “Angel Tree” in the lower hallway. Wrapped gifts are due back to the church by Sunday, 12/9.

    We also have the privilege to interact with these families by delivering the gifts to them between Wednesday, 12/12 and Sunday, 12/23. To volunteer to deliver gifts to Angel Tree families, contact Lynne Gough at 860-716-2306 or via email if you can help.

    The following is just one of the thousands of stories of a family that was touched by Angel Tree:

    This is Mark. He was just 7 years old when his dad was locked up. It was almost impossible to visit, because the prison was a 3-hour drive away and Mark's family was unable to afford the trip.

    Five lonely Christmases had passed, and Mark was unsure if his dad had forgotten him or not. All of that changed when Mark's dad signed him up for Angel Tree last Christmas.

    Mark's eyes lit up as he opened his gift. It was a big, beautiful new basketball. For a boy who loves sports, it was perfect. But to the surprise of Mark's mom, he didn't remove the basketball from its box. And he never played with it, even though basketball is his favorite sport. Instead, Mark placed his brand-new basketball on a shelf in his room, next to some of the trophies he's received.

    Months later, the basketball is still on that shelf, but the reason is no longer a mystery. "It's just a reminder of how much my dad loves me,'' Mark explains. "It's a reminder of how special it is to me." Mark doesn't get to see his dad. But whenever he looks at the basketball on the shelf in his room, it's almost as if his dad is there to give him a giant hug.

    Thank you for helping make Christmas so special for him--and for thousands of other prisoners' kids.

    Like many prisoners' families, Mark's family lives in poverty, and has even struggled with homelessness. Please pray that God will provide stable housing for them. Please also pray that God will provide a way for Mark to visit his dad, so that they can have a stronger relationship.