Story submitted by Sherry Layman
Our family adopted our first 3:11 Christmas family 3 years ago! We had NO IDEA the impact this would make on our lives. “Our” first family (and I will call them “ours” because we shopped like they lived at our house) was a family of 3 MISD kiddos. We took a look at the VERY small request list sent to us for things they had asked for. Now, when I say small, I mean small…..our “oldest” girl, who was 5, asked for a pair of tennis shoes and an electric toothbrush with Dora on it like her friend at school has. They asked for shampoo and a new brush. My then, 3 year old daughter, went immediately to her bathroom and announced to us that she has 5 electric toothbrushes and wanted to share! No…….we didn’t share our used toothbrushes, but we did, after that moment, realize how VERY much we had and how VERY much we could give.
That first Christmas ended and we decided…..we needed to do more of this greatness! We held collection drives at work to donate money for bikes, packed boxes at the warehouse, used our vehicles, trailers, trucks and co-workers/friends trucks to pick up and deliver Christmas to the schools in Midland! But more importantly, we involved our own family in our experience!! Now, we take large families of 7-9 kids that would otherwise be hard to adopt out! We divide and conquer with HUGE support from our parents, grandparents, siblings and very own daughter, nieces and nephews! The kids love shopping for clothes, shoes, toys and books for….let’s be honest….maybe even someone they are in class with today!
The first time my husband and I took a trailer of boxes to the school for drop off………..EVERY SINGLE kid was excited to see what we brought, even though it wasn’t for them! They hugged us, carried things, took pictures of us, used their wagons to help tote things that were too big to carry. (I’m not going to call myself a celebrity…but I felt like one that day!) I would by lying to you if I said that Cody and I were not in TOTAL shock at the number of boxes we delivered to an elementary school 2 blocks from our house! MY HOUSE….MY NEIGHBORHOOD…they were no longer “kids we didn’t know”, they were “kids we ALL know” and don’t know their stories! Every volunteer, monetary resource and voluntold (usually my poor husband for heavy work and trailer backing…ha ha) person make it all happen! This ministry is bigger than Christmas………it’s about a prom dress, having uniforms and shoes for school, school supplies and haircuts!
Just when you think your children are not watching how you live life, you are reminded that they are……….
My kindergartener was asked at school to write something to finish this sentence (please forgive her sweet misspellings as she is still learning): If I found a pot of gold I would……”sher it with peepl that don’t have that much munee so they can by what they need.” WOW!!! When her teacher sent this to me, tears were flowing!!! Your kiddo may be the smartest one in the room or maybe they aren’t that good at reading, math or spelling. But, no matter what my sweet girl is good or not so great at, she knows that there are people around her that don’t have what she has. I know that taking by her on the “Midnight Target Shopping Extravaganza” for last minute Christmas families or shopping at Old Navy for school uniforms or even football shopping (which she still doesn’t get why the boys think is fun), she has learned that we buy dishes and pans for our mom that is struggling to find dishes to cook for 7 kids in. Or, that we unload and load the trailer with bikes, boxes and we do that even when we are tired and need a nap instead! She gets it……..Because WE got it! We don’t know everyone’s story, struggles or mountains but we do know that as long as God provides us with the ability to be the rope, we will continue to pull them up the side of the mountain until they can breathe at the peak again!