by Sue Sawyer, Missions Mobilization Strategist for the SBC of Virginia
Can a backpack lead someone to faith in Jesus Christ? The answer is yes. As a result of the Christmas Backpacks for Appalachia mission project last year, we are aware of over 700 people who invited Christ into their lives. Seeds were planted in many others’ lives as well. SBCV churches, you were a vital part of these people hearing the Gospel message and receiving Christ.
At a birthday party for Jesus outside of Harrogate, TN, Christmas backpacks were distributed, and the children ran back to their seats to open their bags and examine the contents. One young boy, upon opening his backpack, pulled out a gift and ran across the room with it, screaming at the top of his lungs and crying, “Daddy, there is a God! Daddy, there is a God!” over and over again.
Embarrassed, the father went up to the event’s host and explained, “I am a construction worker and have been unemployed for two years. I have been unable to find any steady employment of any kind to support my family. Last week, my son and I were buying groceries at Wal-Mart, and he came over to the buggy carrying a game that he wanted for Christmas. I explained to him that this year there would be no Christmas gifts at our house since I was barely able to feed him and his sisters.” He went on to explain that his son had cried and said, “But all I want is this game, Daddy. Please!” The man shared, “I told him to put the game back on the shelf and to pray, and if there was a God, then perhaps He would send him the game, but Daddy could not afford it.” With tears running down his face, the man said, “There is a God.” The little boy received the exact game he had prayed for God to give him. The father did not respond to the Gospel message that evening, but the seed was sown in his heart and definitely in that little boy’s heart.
It’s only by God’s hand that a mother in Virginia can take her child shopping to fill up a backpack and that backpack, after all of the handling, shipping, and distribution, ends up in the hands of a little boy in direct answer to his prayers.
Through the generosity of SBCV churches, 1,500 backpacks were collected at our 2015 Annual Homecoming and shipped to Kentucky in time for Christmas. Thank you! Thank you on behalf of the many children who will have smiles on their faces Christmas morning and the many children and parents who will come to know Jesus because you showed Christ’s love by packing a backpack.