This post is written by a Secret Families of Madison County volunteer wrapper who wishes to remain anonymous. This is Part I of her experience from last year. I hope you enjoy!
The year leading up to Secret Families was filled with excitement for me. All year long I would think of it and wish it was closer – wish it was finally here. I believed God did a good work through that day. I could not wait to be a part of it. The memory of the year before lingered with me constantly – wrapping gifts, praying over them, the community coming together, the laughter and love shared among friends and strangers as we lovingly served God by reaching thos e in need. I could not wait for this year’s day to finally get here.
On the morning of the big day, my family eagerly filed our way in to the auditorium. The music was going, the donuts were flowing, and the laughter was already abundant in the room. We went to our table to start wrapping and praying. Each bag was assigned a family and their hardships were heartbreaking. We prayed for families with parents in prison – children who would not see their moms or dads on Christmas morning. We prayed for mom’s fleeing domestic violence relationships – trying desperately to give their families a new start. With each new bag I longed to meet the families and pray with them. And then the call came, “Anyone wanting to deliver presents, we are sending out our first caravan.” I looked at my husband and pleaded, asking if we could take our family out. He agreed, and we made our way to the delivery zone. Information was given to us on each family we would be helping: 1) Single mom with one son 2) Stepdad in charge of three teenage daughters, mom in prison 3) Woman on her own in charge of nine children (she is mother and aunt)… and the list went on.
Our caravan set out with trunks full of bags to deliver. I didn’t know that that trip would change so much for me. We made delivery after delivery. We gave presents, Bibles, a gift card for a Christmas dinner, and as much love as we could offer at each stop. We prayed with families each time we entered the home. Some families were obviously uncomfortable having so many people they didn’t know in their home. Others were quiet, but appreciative. Then came the house that set my heart on a new path. Broken cement stairs led us to a home where we could hear the occupants scream in excitement as we made our way closer to their door. As we hit the porch, the door swung open and we were leapt on with cries of “thank you!”, “Merry Christmas!”, “we didn’t think we were getting anything at all for Christmas!”. We set the bags down and looked around the home. Ten beautiful people looked back at us, but there was nothing in their home at all. Not a single bed, couch, chair, pillow… nothing. There was a family that obviously loved each other, but had no possessions to speak of. And at the center of it all, the matriarch. She is mother and aunt to these nine beautiful teenagers. She is the only provider the family has. We asked about the beds and furniture, and she confirmed that they have nothing at all. She just moved here and she had to come quickly, she had to leave everything behind – she doesn’t say from where or what she left and we don’t ask. We know she will offer the information up to us if she wanted. We prayed with them and then left their home, all to shouts of tremendous joy.
As the weeks went by I could not stop thinking about that house. We made so many deliveries that day. I cannot remember where any of the other houses are. However; I felt like I could close my eyes and drive to the house with the broken cement stairs. It felt like a beacon to me – for even months afterward. I knew God was calling me to do more.
End of Part I. Stay tuned for the rest of the story.