Merry Christmas from Tennessee

“Merry Christmas from Tennessee. Cathy and I want to express our gratitude for the incredible gifts you gave to the special needs Christmas project. The whole endeavor has been incredibly humbling for both of us.”

That’s how Cathy and Kirk Hastings’ Christmas letter began. The Hastings are small group leaders at Living Hope and have a 36 year old son, Graham, who has special needs and lives in a group home in Memphis. I hope you are filled with joy like we were as you read excerpts from their letter.

“Two years ago, Cathy got the spark of an idea to make Christmas gift bags for the special needs adults living in group homes in and around the Memphis area. Many of these people do not have family to support and visit them, let alone provide Christmas gifts. These individuals run the gambit of abilities/disabilities. Some are ambulatory and can hold a job where others are wheelchair bound, and unable to communicate. This year the special needs group has grown to 130 people, and Cathy got the inspiration to cast a wider net and put the Christmas project out on social media. People all across the southern states and as far away as Washington DC immediately began responding to Cathy’s post. We received monetary gifts, donated items, and gifts of time and energy.”

Kirk goes on to share how people jumped in to help with every step of this project from being on watch for delivery trucks to organizing and wrapping presents until the evening for final assembly arrived. “Our small group showed up with refreshments, pizza, salad, snacks, and desserts. Everyone got their belly full and then went to work.

We were spread out from the dining room to the den, kitchen, and finished bags went to the garage. Everyone had a special job for their stage of the process. The bags were assembled in a few hours, looked beautiful, and we all had fun doing it. It was our small group Christmas party and I have to say, it was the most fun I’ve ever had at a Christmas party.

Our goal and prayer was to bring Christmas joy to some very special people and for God to be glorified in the process. I hope we accomplished both, but I know one thing for sure . . . we were blessed beyond our wildest imaginations by your generosity, love and support. God did a miraculous work through you. He touched many hearts. Thank you God!”

Thank you, Cathy and Kirk, for sharing. That’s the kind of Christmas letter I could get all year long!

Edited by Anita Sisk, Children’s Pastor