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A Special Christmas Connection

Matthew and Todd

By Ken Walker-

We welcomed two special guests this past week from Bethel Memorial Church in Princeton, Indiana. They brought Christmas gifts for residents of the ghetto, our Special Mothers, and our children.

We are doing our best to keep the latter a secret, since the children’s Christmas party is Dec. 23. The Special Mothers opened their gifts today (Dec. 21.)

Special Mother Recieve GiftsThe Christmas gift project was the idea of Matthew Sandusky, a 17-year-old high school senior who is homeschooled; and Todd Hinkel, the father of a friend of Matthew’s.

The two were part of a 20-member mission team that worked here last summer. After arriving last Saturday (Dec. 17) Matthew and Todd visited the ghetto to distribute food bags, Bibles, and presents for the kids in those areas.

This all started with a “Forever Friend” gift exchange last summer. Each member of the mission team selected a child and purchased gifts based on their age, gender and height. They presented them the second day of their visit.

“They were shocked at how much stuff we got them,” Matthew says. “We didn’t think it was really anything. Bradley (Burck, communications director) joked that we should do this for Christmas. After we got back, I felt God was telling me that we needed to do more to impact these
kids’ lives. A couple other team members felt the same thing.”

After an informal discussion at Bethel Memorial, the missions board chairman asked team leaders if the children at Dorie’s Promise ever received gifts because he was searching for a Christmas project.

In September, Matthew and Todd approached different committees and the church board to secure their approval. In October, they presented the project to the congregation.

Handing Out Gifts in the Ghetto“All the pieces fell into place and they kept going well,” Matthew says. “I asked the staff to give me a list of kids’ sizes and what they wanted for Christmas. We asked for things that they would usually not ask for or receive. I then created pamphlets with each child’s background and what he or she wanted for Christmas. Families bought presents for each child, including the babies. The toys they will receive are specifically what they asked for.”

Director Alejandra Diaz says she has been blessed and encouraged to work with both men. “I love Matthew’s excitement and passion for serving,” she says. “It’s people like Matthew and Todd who encourage me to continue to work and serve. Because of their support we are able to move forward as individuals and as an organization, and share the love of Christ.

“Often our actions speak louder than our words,” Alej says. “At times people want to know they are loved and valued. That’s what Matthew and Todd have done.”

“It’s awesome that it all came together,” Matthew says. “It feels great to be able to do so much for so many people.”

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