Saturday, December 13, 2008

'Tis the Season...

My thank you note to Emmette Thompson, the Executive Director of the Mission of Hope:

Hi Emmette,

Well, I went on my first MOH delivery today. I went to Fairview School with Central Bapt. Church of Fountain City. Honestly, the first thing I noticed when I walked into the building was the large, prominently displayed, framed picture of the Ten Commandments. But there was little time to take in my surroundings; we had a tractor trailer full of toys to unload, unpack, and sort into designated rooms!

Once the gifts were sorted and displayed, we all met in the gym for official instructions and a story. One thing that caught my attention was the number of children and adults coming in with lightweight jackets even though the temperature was below freezing. There was snow on the ground, so much so that school had been canceled on Friday. Many of the kids wore plastic "Croc-style" shoes with no socks. Many parents' shoes were full of holes. I tried not to notice how warm and comfortable my feet were in my new fuzzy boots. I felt almost sick about it. I have so much more than I need.

My "job" was to help 6th, 7th, and 8th graders choose two gifts for themselves. When James told me that he was the quarterback for his football team and his team was Number One, I saw his eyes light up. Would you believe he asked me if we had any cologne because he wanted to smell good for the ladies! James said his dream was to go to college at UT. Then it hit me. What if James were MY son? What if I had been the mother who bundled up the kids and got them to school on a Saturday morning so that they would have a Christmas? What if MY son had shared his dream with a stranger from the city? I couldn't help notice as James left the school that his mother had her hands very full with several young children and a baby in her arms. I did battle with my thoughts as I considered that it was probably better that her hands were full, rather than empty. ...I wondered if James had the undivided attention of anyone besides me today. Then I met the principal, Mrs. Smith.

Mrs. Smith told me that she herself had grown up in Scott County and has been principal at Fairview for ten years. Although she mentioned she was looking forward to retirement, I could tell her heart was completely sold out to the children who darken the doors of Fairview every day. She knows that education is their only chance to break the cycle of poverty. She took me on a tour of the school and talked candidly about the violence and poverty her students experience on a regular basis. When I mentioned how neat and tidy the classrooms were, she said that her kids need a place where they know what to expect because they don't have that at home.

My goodness, Emmette! How can I thank you for allowing me to play such a small part in extending the hope?! I have received so much more than I have ever given! Thank you for coming by my classroom last Tuesday. Thank you for being such an encourager of my dream. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share the hope with my students at West Valley. Thank you for allowing me to go along on a MOH delivery. I saw God today in the faces of innocent, vulnerable children, in the faces of desperate, proud parents, in the faces of faithful, generous volunteers, and in faces of the committed, dedicated staff at Fairview School. You've given me the best gift I'll ever get for Christmas.

Thank you! May God continue to bless the ministry of the Mission of Hope and its fearless leader, Emmette Thompson!

Amy Crawford

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