END OF THE YEAR REPORT
Praise God for all of the amazing things we have seen Him do this year as we have traveled to Slovakia, India, Taiwan, Peru, Brazil, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Moldova, and undisclosed countries. In all of these places, we have seen the Father call children to Himself! All of us who have the privilege to work in this ministry are humbled as we remember the Buddhist, Muslim, and Hindu children whom we have heard praying out loud asking Jesus to be their Savior. So many orphans in Eastern Europe rejoiced when they heard there was a Father who loved them. This summer as we traveled up and down the eastern seaboard of the United States, we shared with so many children in difficult places who found their hope in Jesus Christ. I am still amazed when I remember the crowds of Europeans who stood in the streets of Ireland to listen to the music and Bible stories. Desperately poor children have tasted the richness of God’s love. Always, I will carry with me the memory of the time we had with our brothers and sisters in Peru and remember with joy the response of the Quechua children as they listened to the puppets.
As this year finishes, I will have had the delight of sharing with almost 70,000 children and adults around the world. In all of these places that we have traveled, we trained and equipped nationals so that the work we began with the children continues. More, we resupplied many of our existing puppet teams, upgrading their equipment and replacing supplies they could not obtain in their own countries. We were also able to train friends from Colombia and help them better establish their ministry as they traveled with us five weeks this summer. We are awed by the goodness of our Father!
I continue to find it difficult to be the director, since I will always feel that this job belongs to Mike. So many times when I have felt so heartbroken, God has kept His promise to me and been a husband. So many times this year I have spoken to young people challenging them to discover the wonder of a love that lasts a lifetime. I always find them very eager to listen as most live in a world where the love story that God gave Mike and I is only a dream, never a reality. Each day I realize that I am stronger because I have been loved so well. I thank God every day for His kindness to me and my heart’s desire is to serve Him well, even though I will admit that this is still a struggle.
Please take the time to pray for each of these places that you have read about and ask God to strengthen the ministry in these countries and make them fruitful. More, please pray for this next year as we are planning trips to Hungary, Taiwan, India, Russia, Brazil, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Jordan, and Egypt. Also, please pray for the work here at home, asking God to open more doors for The Agape Puppets to share their vision in churches in America.
Please ask the Lord’s provision for all of these new teams that were planted in 2007 and pray for the finances that we will need to do the work in 2008. Also, ask God to send us friends, young and old alike, who want to travel with us to these different places.
The Agape Puppets is now a non-profit organization so we can receive checks made out directly to the puppet ministry. Please mail these checks to my home address at 6550 West Armuchee Road, Summerville, GA 30747. Your gift will be tax deductible. We are maintaining our relationship with Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship and appreciate all of their love and support.
More, our web page now offers people an opportunity to contribute over the internet using their PayPal account or a number of different Credit Cards. Go to www.theagapepuppets.org and click on the Donate button. You will find it very easy to follow the directions and more, you can read some of the stories of the children we have been working with this year.
I hope that your heart breaks for the needs of these children as God has broken our hearts.
During December, Mike and I have always opened our home to groups of school children, church groups, and families who come to visit and hopefully discover the true meaning of Christmas as they walk through the house listening to stories. This has been an especially sweet Christmas as almost 500 children have come to see me. Their comments and questions are always entertaining and sometimes heartbreaking.
I always ask the children, "What was the first song of Christmas?" Of course, you and I know the answer to be the song the angels sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, Peace, good will toward men." I get some very funny answers, but the best this Christmas was the little boy who raised his hand and shouted out, "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer!" His comment is funny but it also made me very sad because it reminded me that most children have no knowledge of the real meaning of Christmas.
One day, I was eating lunch with a group of fifth-grade boys. A child said, "Ma’am, if you’ll let me live here with you, I’ll sleep on the floor, I won’t ask for anything to eat and I’ll work for you." I said, "Son, why would make such an offer?" He replied, "Ma’am, this is the nicest place I have ever been in my entire life." Another little boy spoke up and said, "I think this is what heaven must be like." Two others said, "I feel love here", "I feel happy here." I was overwhelmed. These children were experiencing a Christian home and it touched their hearts. Please open your homes to children this Christmas and be blessed by God. Surely, your neighborhoods are full of these same kind of children who are so hungry for the love of Jesus.
Many of the children have asked me about my husband. I always answer their questions honestly and I am quick to encourage them Mike’s death is not an unhappy ending to a wonderful love story. One little boy seemed very eager to listen as I explained to him how God had been so faithful in my life. I talked with him about five minutes, then he smiled and walked away. Later his teacher came and told me that what I had told him was just what he needed to hear. Praise God! You see, his father had died two months ago and even though the little boy knew his daddy loved Jesus, he just needed to hear that God’s promises were true.
Because of the way the world we live in has changed, many of the children who come here are from broken homes and some have suffered terrible abuse. Many simply want a hug and others are just so excited to play with the toys and have someone listen to them.
Different church groups have brought their children for Christmas visits. I have been able to pray with these children and even better, I have been able to listen to them pray, asking Jesus Christ to be their Savior, as they sit around the trees in my living room. Last night, 20 children prayed to receive Christ.
Love in Jesus,
Linda for The Agape Puppets