Project Hope is the brainchild of an adopted Romanian girl. She’s a grown up lady now, but she is still child-like in her faith.
About two years ago she took her pastor’s challenge to become unleashed in her walk with our Savior. “Get out there and get to it. Share the life-changing news about Jesus.” She thought, “Yes!”
So she did.
Every month she delivers gifts to our Kitsap County Juvenile Detention Center. As well, about three times a year she supplies our Kitsap County Jail with boxes of brand new study Bibles for the chaplain to give out. In December she delivers plain lunch bags filled with a few little treats for Christmas. And currently she is attempting to open the same kind of doors to our Women’s Correctional Facility. Her thoughts are these: “I know others are doing bigger and more, but I think every now and then, from time to time, people just need to receive reminders…reminders that ‘a person’ or ‘a church’ is thinking of them, caring for them, praying over them.”
Every gift is accompanied with a small note…that little reminder that a person and a church cares. Recently we received some notes in return. Let me share just a few excerpts from a few of the letters…
From one: “My name is __________ __________ and I am currently incarcerated at the Kitsap County Jail. Today, during lunch, I, as well as the other inmates, received a small paper bag with some wonderful items inside. I agree with the card that it is a small effort because when out of jail these items are petty. But in here it is a huge treat, and for that I thank you. Inside this small, white paper bag I found hope. It proved to me that there is still so much good in the world…which lately has been dark and gray…”
From another: “Thank you. I have a box at home with what seems like worthless items. However they are priceless to me. Your greeting card will be in that box.”
And another: “…I’m writing this letter to thank you for the chips, hot cocoa, and Hershey Kisses… In the info card it reads, ‘While it’s such a small effort, we want you to know we care and you are in our prayers.’ I say this on my behalf and I can and will tell you on behalf of others in here. Yes, it reads ‘a small effort’ but to us and the smiles and joy and the warm feelings it made us feel, it was huge. It was a big and kind gesture that West Sound Community Church did for the sinners that are locked up in Kitsap County Jail. This unexpected gesture of kindness helped me tremendously, and seeing other prisoners smile because of the beauty in such a kind and sweet moment. I’ll never forget the words that came from some of the other prisoners. Here’s what some said, here’s the things I heard and I write this so you all can know that the Lord’s work is mighty in small things or great things…: 1) ‘How cool for a church to send us a gift,’ 2) ‘Thank God that we were even able to receive it,’ 3) ‘God’s touching those in charge of the jail, cause I can’t believe that the gift from the church didn’t get rejected,’ 4) ‘God loves us,’ 5) ‘God’s great,’ 6) ’There’s good people out there, God bless them,’ and 7) ‘I wonder why someone at a church would waste their time and money on us?’ These are just a few of the things within ear shot of myself…to tell you (and I hope I can paint this picture) so that you all can visualize what I saw in Kitsap County Jail on December 9, 2015. In the pod unit I am in there are two tiers, the upper and lower tiers. Both tiers, upper and lower, have about 26 inmates and every inmate had a smile, a smile that stayed on them for a while. Words of joy came from these inmates. I can tell you from my experience, I’ve never seen every inmate in here smile all at the same time. But on December 9th, 2015, starting around 11am, I saw something remarkable in here. All in the same hour, all because the inmates at Kitsap County Jail received some things from people they don’t know and never met. I will never forget the smiles on my fellow inmates. I will never forget the words I heard come from prisoners…all because of a church.”
One of the quotes from this last letter really sticks out for me. An inmate was overheard asking, I wonder why someone at a church would waste their time and money on us? The answers are quite simple.
- An orphaned child in Romania was adopted by a Mom and Dad in Minnesota. She received two precious gifts from them: the gift of new life with a new family and the gift of the gospel which led to an even better new life and new family from the Savior.
- A young lady, with childlike faith in her Savior, delighted in the idea that she could be his partner in the giving of his gift. She knew a most profound truth, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
- A church, the young lady’s church, accepted her challenge…”Will you help me?” The folks of her church also believe that “every now and then, from time to time, people just need to receive reminders…reminders that ‘a person’ or ‘a church’ is thinking of them, caring for them, praying over them.” They need to know God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit want them to have the greatest gift of all…eternal life. Sometimes a small effort leads to massive results.