I've had several questions about how the gifts went over, so I thought I'd just put up a little note as to the results.
Christmas Eve started out awkwardly. I wanted to deliver Herman-the-bus-driver's GPS personally, and he would only be in between 8:30 and 10. We would be there for the party at 2:00, and I had a bunch of things I needed to get done before then. But I had to run to the church to pick up a music stand anyway, so I went to the Community Care Center (CCC) to meet the bus driver and drop off a few last minute gifts.
While I was there the receptionist came and said, "Do you know your front tire is completely flat?"
Sure enough, there was a big ol' nail in my front tire. The same one that had a screw in it last week, which required us to buy two new tires we couldn't afford, because the tread was too low on it and it had low integrity.
So I said to Herman, "Do you have an air compressor in the shed to pump up the bus tires? I've got a flat. I need to pump it up enough to get me to the tire store."
He said "Let me check," and out he went. He didn't come back and he didn't come back and he didn't come back. While we were waiting, I went round to as many of our regular worship attenders as I could find and asked them to pray that the tire could be patched, quickly and cheaply.
After a long time, we spotted Herman coming back across the parking lot with a grocery sack in his hand.
He came in the door, handed me the sack, and said, "here you go."
Inside was a small, 12V air pump that plugs into the cigarette lighter. The activities lady (who had just come on the scene) said,
"I have one of those in my trunk. Go and return that one and she can use mine!"
I handed the bag back, but he wouldn't take it.
"It's your Christmas present."
So now I have an air pump. It worked just spiffy fine and we made it to the tire store without incident.
They patched the tire in 15 minutes, and didn't charge me anything. I had great news to report back to my prayer partners.
We made it to the CCC at 2 for the party, and this is what we saw:
Due to privacy laws (HIPPA) I am not permitted to take photos with residents in them, but here's one I was allowed to take:
Those are only a small number of the gifts that came in. The rest are on rolling carts outside the room. At the party there were treats and caroling, and we strung jingle bells on curling ribbon so they could play along with Jingle Bells.
Maisie loved all her new clothes, and Loreena just sat there running her hands over her new sparkly sweatshirt and fleece throw. "Oh, my goodness," she said with shining eyes. "I've never had anything this nice."
There was one very kind but gruff older man who runs errands for other residents. Every day he makes 2...3...12 trips up to the grocery store in his power wheelchair, bringing back this or that for residents who cannot leave the facility. He's been doing this for years, in all weathers, wearing just his battered hoodie. It made me sad to watch this, but he's very proud and is such a giver that he can't receive graciously. But Christmas was my chance; so, with some of the cash donations that came in, I bought him a warm winter coat, a hat and nice pair of gloves, and a pair of extra wide socks. When he unwrapped them, he cried.
"Oh, I really needed these. And I love the colors!" he said.
I'll stop there because I said this was going to be a short update. But I could go on for days, reporting the many ways God used your contributions to bless the residents in a very special way this Christmas. I praise God for you!