Written by Julie Mikus
The Family Blessing Project is the way groups of people in our church family and beyond come together at Christmas-time to meet the needs of families who are hurting in our church family. These folks may be experiencing job loss, illness, or other significant setbacks that prevent them from having the funds to purchase Christmas gifts for their children. Most families are from one of our three campuses, however some families are church planters or missionaries.
Our church response to this project was quite overwhelming this year with 61 groups participating in this project and more than $25,000 committed to helping the families in need. The community also responded to the needs of this project. Small businesses, families, organizations and members of the community committed to help. God opened many doorways and exceeded all expectations!
Hundreds of children were impacted by the generosity of the Family Blessing Project. However, this project went beyond providing just toys to kids in need as bills were paid, new tires were put on vehicles, food was provided, etc. Single moms and single dads were reminded of their worth. Parents facing illness were shown mercy and love. Parents without work were reminded to cling to hope. Many, many answers to prayers were heard by a God who blesses abundantly.
While this project met the practical needs of so many families, it also provided something that we cannot purchase. The Family Blessing Projects delivers three very important gifts that are priceless:
- The Gift of Joy : In John 15:11 it says, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” When a family knows their church family cares about them, joy is delivered. It is wrapped in the news that their prayers have been heard. One family said, “Thank you for changing Christmas for us. Your call came within one week of our prayer request.” The joy in her voice was a gift!
- The Gift of Peace : So many of the recipients of this project spent a lot of time worrying if their prayers would be heard. They questioned, “How will we have Christmas for our kids this year?” They thought, “This just isn’t going to be possible.” In Philippians 4:7 we find the treasured verse, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” The Family Blessing Project delivers is a wonderful demonstration of peace from God. He is saying, “I got this. Don’t worry.”
- The Gift of Faith : What better faith builder than knowing God has provided a way where there did not seem to be one? Faith is a gift from God Himself. It is a reminder that God is a Provider. He sees and knows our struggles. In Ephesians 2:8 we are reminded, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
While the Family Blessing Project was a huge success and provided an answer to so many prayers, it is my greatest hope that through this project the families in need will be reminded of Heaven’s greatest gift. There is no greater gift, no greater love expressed : Jesus is the perfect gift. May all impacted by this project unwrap joy, peace and faith each and every day in 2017.
Julie Mikus serves as the Program Director for Network of Hope. Besides spending time with her husband & son, she enjoys walking her dog Glory, never missing a sunset, and shopping at local thrift stores for treasures and bargains!