Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Journey of Faith, Hope and Love

Seven years ago we set out on a journey of faith.  Faith that we would be able to find a way to keep Mr. Thornton and four precious kids together.  We knew we could not do this alone, but we had to have faith that it was the right thing to do and that we would be shown a way.

There are certain anniversaries that cause us to reflect on the blessings we have received, and Christmas is one of them.  Each year at this time we are overwhelmed with love and support shown to us and "our kids".

Angels comes in many different forms.  There are those who love to know how the kids are doing, and are loving and compassionate in their interest and advice.  At times we become overwhelmed with the "issues" that the situation presents with kids who have been neglected, abused and traumatized.  Every day is an effort to find ways to help them overcome their past.

There are those who just know when a hug is needed, no words necessary.  Prayers are always appreciated, and we know God is listening.  Charlie has a hard time believing, but last night he asked me if he prayed to God to give his friend a message in the middle of the night, would he do it?! 

There are those who give of their time and talents.  Marquel and Annie have Big Sisters who double as "mom" in many ways.  They have become involved in their little neighborhood church, leading the singing and learning to be part of a church community.  The self confidence they gain is priceless to them.  Their favorite songs to sing are those they learned at St. John and Camp Chrysalis.

We recently found a new Angel when we went looking for new ways to help Charlie.  Kate Reyes of Open Trail Ranch offered to take Charlie on scholarship.  Kate and her horses are so loving and dedicated, and Charlie doesn't even know it is "therapy".

There are dedicated and loving teachers, coaches and friends who take the time to give a little extra attention and guidance.  The Angels along the way who have offered their time and energy to help with tutoring.

And there are those who give monetary support, essential to keeping this family together.  Seven years ago we sat down with Pastor Schulte and explained that we had exhausted every avenue of help for this odd situation;  an elderly man with four small kids to raise.  For seven years the fund at St. John Lutheran Church has never run dry.  Each month there is enough to help pay rent, utilities and cover the costs of raising four kids, and there have been many generous donations over the years, including a vehicle when Mr. Thornton needed transportation. 

There are the Angels who provide birthday and Christmas presents each year for the kids.  Coming from a very "disposable" way of living, they now treasure each gift and have a difficult time parting with things that they have outgrown.  We often see them with toys or games that were given to them years ago.  They even have a hard time handing down clothes when they outgrow them.

Simple things that we take for granted, such as a bed that is all their own is treasured.  Even changing the sheets can throw them into a tizzy!  Their bedding is arranged a certain way, and we dare not touch it.  Pillows, blankets and stuffed animals have been treasured gifts.

We sincerely thank each and every one of you for your continued support for "our kids".  We stepped out in faith, and you all stepped up to answer that calling.

When we consider Marquel, now in 9th grade with 90's and 100's on her report card, and we remember the struggles she had in her first year in San Antonio, trying to do 3rd grade word when she had not attended 1st and 2nd grade, we owe it to all of you.   Sometimes when we get tired and frustrated we remind ourselves of where these kids would be and it gives us the courage to keep going.

As we come to the end of another year, it is a time when we think about our charitable giving for the coming year.  We ask that you keep this family in mind.  We all have gifts that we have been given, whether is it love and compassion or monetary.  We will start a new year on faith that we can keep this family together for another year, helping 4 little kids prosper and grow and break the cycle of poverty for the next generation.

Wishing each and everyone of you
A Very Merry Christmas and
A Happy New Year!

Until next time. . .
Stephanie, Randy, Mr. Thornton, Marquel, Annie, Charlie and Chip

Tax deductible donations can be made directly to St. John Lutheran church.  The money in this account is used 100% for the Thornton family needs.