Forming Relationships on Base

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“We had the privilege to speak with a young mother last week who is struggling with balancing her Hindu beliefs with her husband’s Catholic religion while teaching their child about God. She questioned what a relationship with God was and how to have one.  Charlyne showed her an easy-to-read Bible and gave her some children’s books from our gift table. I know that with God’s guidance, she will grow. How exciting that God brought someone with questions about Christianity and God to Charlyne’s table!” 
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God Working Among Us

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“One of the Marines attending Coffee & Chat last month was looking around the room and was amazed at all he saw.  He told us that he was visiting in order to report back to his Battalion about what our meeting was exactly (At first, he thought it was a meeting for Chaplains). I took him on a tour the breakfast and the gift tables and explained about how we offer monthly opportunities for Marine spouses and their children to get together, feel supported, and be loved on by volunteers from Saddleback Church.  As we were telling him about our Christian resources, he spied a copy of ‘Jesus Calling,’ by Sarah Young. He had heard of the book. We told him he could have it – for free.  He was so excited; he couldn’t believe his good luck!!! But we all know it wasn’t good luck that brought that Marine to the gift table Tuesday. God blessed him with a book he had been wanting! We are so thankful that God is working among us!”
~ Janie, volunteer

Conversations from the Christian Resource Table

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“One Marine wife actually jumped up and down with joy when I gave her Rick’s book,  Purpose Driven Life, and her very first, ever Bible. She was so cute. She listens to Rick on the radio and to find out we were from his church and were giving her his book AND a Bible, she was beside herself.”

“A little boy came through with his mom. He stopped in front of me and was touching a book. He asked me what it was and I told him it was a Bible for children. He asked me what a Bible was. I told him it was a wonderful book about God. His mom snapped at him and said, ‘Yeah, that’s that crap your grandma used to try to cram down you.’ He looked at me with huge brown eyes, stroking the little Bible and said, ‘I never had a Bible.’ I sent up an arrow prayer and told him if it was OK with his mom he could have it. She said he could have it. He picked it up, held it close and looked at me with those gorgeous eyes and said, ‘I promise, I will take really good care of it. Thank you so much.’ All I could think was, ‘And a little child shall lead them.'”

~ Charlyne, volunteer

A Very Dedicated Knitter

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One of our ministry members, Shirley, has img_6618.jpgprovided hundreds of handmade, knitted beanies throughout the years to include in the goody bags we send to deployed troops during Christmastime. What we recently discovered is that Shirley learned to knit at the young age of 11, during World War II. Shirley said that she wanted to do something to help her country and its brave troops, so she knitted caps, scarves, socks, etc. Shirley’s story exemplifies how you can be any age to make a difference. We truly appreciate her dedication to our troops!

An Account of a Young Marine & His Family

I was visiting with my son’s neighbor and he is in CLB-11 that we support. He returned from a 7-month deployment and was one of our recipients receiving our goodie bags.  He received the stockings we made as well as the neckbands.  I spent the day with him and his family while babysitting my grandkids all day. His wife came to our last Christmas party while he was deployed.  It was nice to know someone that got our gifts of love and how much they are appreciated. His wife said people really don’t understand how poorly the younger Marines are payed and how little they have.

~ Linda

Everyone Can Be Useful to God

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Thank you for honoring this 96 year-old woman with a certificate of appreciation. I had wrapped it up and put a big bow on it to make it special. When she saw the front she gently opened it and read it slowly and then the tears rolled down her cheek. She looked at me and as she stroked it she said,  “I don’t deserve this. I can’t do that much.”  I reminded her of all the cookies she baked and the happy faces at the events when they gobbled them up. I reminded her how something homemade and warm means to our military when they are in the mountains of Afghanistan or Iraq. I reminded her of all of the baby beanies/caps she has made for our Baby Moses Baskets. As she read the certificate again, I stroked her cheek and told her what she does matters! As she read it again and again she completely broke down and sobbed!! Every one of us had tears rolling down our faces.  She just kept stroking it murmuring, “I can’t believe it. I really don’t deserve such an honor. I will treasure it. I promise I will treasure it.”

~ Charlyne

Blessed to be a Blessing

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“It has been an amazing blessing to be a part of Acts of Appreciation, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve.  I was truly touched by the gratitude expressed by our military families on Saturday [at the Christmas Blessings Toy Store.]  It was so obvious that parents appreciated having a little bit of a break and being able to shop on their own.  I noticed a very large percentage of children with special needs this year.  I’ve added this to my prayer list!  One of the things I really loved seeing was the way so many of the kids know each other and treat each other with kindness and hugs.  One little girl, “M”, came to us with what looked like severe CP, and the way the other children greeted her and were kind to her melted my heart.  When parents dropped off their kids, more than a couple came right over and greeted “M” with a “Hi Beautiful,” and lots of encouragement.  They truly are one, big family.

This year, I think we had more parents come and hang out at the tables and chat with us volunteers.  It was neat to make the connection with adults.  It brought home how much support and love these families need. I could go on and on!”

~ Kathy