Here are a few photos from the Christmas Gift Programme in Trench Town yesterday. We received a lot of presents from children and their parents at Emmanuel Christian School, and from several local church members, as well as generous financial donations from supporters in Jamaica and overseas so we could buy other items. Because of this every child was able to get a really good gift, and this year for the first time we had gifts for the parents too. We were able to give 330 gifts in total.

The hall set up and ready for the parents to come in.

The parents were so grateful to get to choose the gift for their children, especially because 2020 has been such a tough year.

Whenever you run a big event there is something to learn from and do better next time … and because we had not done a walk-through programme like this before we quickly learned that we needed to have a better system for lining up and keeping social distancing outside. Although the children know the club values, some of the parents don’t! So it got quite intense as some tried to push themselves into the front of the line to get something. I was very thankful for Pastor Travis stepping in to help bring some more order.

We were able to ensure social distancing inside, but at the gate it was more of a challenge

However, once they were inside, the system worked really well. We had a team from Healing on the Streets, running a prayer station, so parents could stop there first for prayer. One lady was in tears because of how she sensed God’s presence through the prayer, another girl prayed to give her life to Christ, and the team had several other encouraging stories about praying for people.

Next the Mums went upstairs, where the team did a great job serving and helping them choose something for each child. Another donor had given some brand new clothes, so they got to choose an item of clothing for each child as well. (Most were respectful of it being fair for everyone … but once or twice the team had to remind someone not to take extra gifts, or fill a bag with clothes!)

One of the mums choosing for her children
Some of the parents were working, so a few children came and chose their own gift.

Lastly the parents reconnected with their children, who had coloured a Christmas card for their parent, and chosen a gift for them too.

Gifts for the Mums

So although we had a small team we stretched to the challenge, and even those who had had a stressful time at the gate were full of smiles and appreciation as they left with something for Christmas. For many of the children, they would not have receive a gift otherwise.

So thank you so much to everyone who prayed, helped clean up beforehand, came and served or donated in some way.

“Turn my heart toward your statutes, and not toward selfish gain.” Psalm 119:36

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. … Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:7, 8 & 15