It Started with a Kick

  When single mom, Angela, became pregnant, she made an appointment for an abortion at a local clinic. She had known Mark, her unborn child's father, only three months. Angela felt she just could not afford to raise the baby on her own. But sixteen weeks into the pregnancy -- the legal limit in Maine for abortions -- something happened that caused Angela to miss her appointment. The baby in her womb kicked. "That's when I knew this baby was alive!" Angela remembers. "And I knew I could never abort him!" On April 8, 1997, Angela delivered Sage, a healthy baby boy. Mark first learned about his son three years later through mutual friends. But Mark didn't visit him or pay child support. The deadbeat dad wanted nothing to do with his young son -- that is, until Mark was arrested and sentenced to two and a half years in the Maine State Correctional Facility. While in prison, Mark learned about Angel Tree, and he signed up so that Sage would receive gifts on Christmas from his dad. Angela had never heard of Angel Tree, and at first she wanted nothing to do with Mark or his presents. But with the sad prospect of no Christmas gifts for Sage, Angela grudgingly accepted Angel Tree's offer. "Two people showed up at our house," she recalls, "with their arms loaded with gifts!" Together Angela and Sage opened the beautifully wrapped boxes filled with warm coats, snowsuits, jackets, boots, socks, jeans, Bibles, books, and food. "I just couldn't believe it!" Angela said. "I am so thankful!" After Mark's release from prison, he met five-year-old Sage for the first time. They shared a birthday dinner and immediately began to bond with one another. Mark and Sage now spend every other weekend together. They spend time outdoors, go to the gym, and enjoy ice fishing. Mark has found a steady job and now pays child support. Sage has started school and after school attends a Christian church day-care center. When he struggles with his studies, Mark visits and talks with Sage's teachers. Angela now calls Mark "a good role model" for Sage. "I never imagined Mark would be this involved in Sage's life," she claims. "It is wonderful!" Angela's life has changed for the better as well. She now takes classes at the University of Maine and is working on a degree in mental health and human services. Through Angel Tree, Christ laid the groundwork for reconciliation and relationship for Sage and his mom and dad. Angel Tree volunteers, through a local church, continue to keep contact with Angela. Recently, Angela and Sage became part of the church. Think of it: a baby, almost aborted, now -- thanks to Angel Tree -- in a church and a loving relationship with Mom and Dad. This Christmas, Angel Tree will celebrate its twentieth anniversary and will strive to reach a half a million kids just like Sage -- children of prisoners for whom we want to provide gifts. But more than gifts, we want them to hear about Jesus, the baby born to die for His people's sins. And in this we need your help. Your church can have a direct ministry to prisoners and their children. Call 1-800-55-ANGEL to receive information about how to get your church involved in Angel Tree this Christmas. You'll be helping the Sages of this world, but you will be getting the blessing. For further information: Visit the Angel Tree Website for more information about what you and your church can do for prisoners' children this Christmas. In "Putting Faith to Work" (CD), BreakPoint Radio Managing Editor Jim Tonkowich talks with Jim Towey of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and Joe Loconte of the Heritage Foundation about the positive impact people of faith can have on their community. BreakPoint commentary no. 020826, "In the Nick of Time: Breaking the Cycle of Crime."


Chuck Colson


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