Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chuck Colson, 1931-2012, RIP

"One of the most wonderful things about being a Christian is that I don’t ever get up in the morning and wonder if what I do matters. I live every day to the fullest because I can live it through Christ and I know no matter what I do today, I’m going to do something to advance the Kingdom of God.”--Chuck Colson

Two weeks before he died of a  brain hemorrhage in Lansdowne, Virginia on April 21, Charles "Chuck" Colson, founder of the Prison Fellowship, was on the road lecturing and organizing for his ministry. Colson, who served seven months in prison in 1973 for his role in the Watergate scandal, paid special attention to the impact of incarceration on the families of prisoners. The three children pictures above are the subjects of this story from the Prison Fellowship web site, headlined The Girl Next Door:

Like a lot of little girls her age, nine-year-old Bailey enjoys school and soccer practice. She is a great student who loves to read and write. She never misses Sunday school. And she is a great big sister to Keara (4) and Drake (3). But each morning, as Bailey grabs her backpack and heads to school, her heart carries the unimaginable burdens of the past year. Last fall, Bailey was the one who discovered that her uncle had died from an overdose--right on her family's kitchen table. Her beloved grandmother passed away this spring. Her dad and his cousin (dad to Keara and Drake) are incarcerated, their crimes splashed across the front pages of the local small-town newspaper. Because of this, Bailey’s last name — “Bible” — is “the worst last name in town,” her mom Tasha explains. Ironically, “if you have the name Bible, people think you are trash.”

Bailey is even excluded from some play dates. “If your dad loved you, he’d be here,” her classmates taunt this sweet, innocent little girl.

So how does Bailey go to school each day with a smile on her face? How do Keara and Drake cope each day without their dad? “I’m doing all I can to break the cycle in my children’s lives,” Tasha says, “[but] I struggle all year to provide for all four of us.” Which is why Angel Tree means so much to this hurting family.

“Angel Tree gave my children a Christmas to remember,” Tasha shares. “When my son said, ‘My dad got me these!’ — it was priceless. You gave my children love from their father and you gave me a bigger gift: the gift of hope.”

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