By Linda Stransky
SNEEDVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 16, 2018) -- The holiday season is a wonderful, busy time at Jubilee Project because of the generosity of many Holston Conference churches. Several churches have taken on annual events that benefit the people they serve, and they want to express their gratitude for all who remember their residents in need “over the mountain."
For the last five years, members from Kendricks Creek United Methodist Church in Kingsport, Tennessee, have hosted a party, complete with gifts and a visit from Santa, for the special-education students at Hancock County Elementary School. The smiles and joy from the children are contagious and makes this one of the staff’s favorite events of the year. Of course, the volunteers from the church go away feeling that they’re the ones who have been blessed.
Fairview United Methodist Church from Maryville, Tennessee, “double-dipped” their blessings this year. First, on Dec. 9, the United Methodist Women came to host a party and share fellowship with Jubilee’s women’s ministry. They asked each of the women for gift suggestions ahead of time and then brought them each a bag of things off the list. This is the fourth time the two groups have gotten together and relationships are forming, making the visits all the more special.
Then on Dec. 16, 45 members of all ages came from Fairview to distribute 360 Christmas meal buckets and hams. The buckets were assembled ahead of time at a mission event at the church, filling a five-gallon bucket with ingredients for a holiday meal plus some food staples. The food was a blessing, but just as important was the love and joy shared by the church members with each recipient.
On Dec. 15, Shiloh United Methodist Church from Rutledge, Tennessee, treated Jubilee’s youth to a “Dirty Santa” gift swap. It was fun to watch the youth “steal and compromise," but let’s just say that some mothers received a nice little gift from their sons that night.
Last but not least, thanks to the generosity of an individual donor, the youth group was able to have a special Christmas event. They traveled to Bristol for the Speedway in Lights and ice skating, and then each youth received a Christmas gift. It was a wonderful night, and coupled with the visit from Rutledge, it gave the youth a glimpse of grace, as people who didn’t even know them cared about what kind of Christmas they would have.
The staff at Jubilee would like everyone who volunteered or donated (not just at Christmas but all through the year) to know that while your offering may seem small to you, in God’s hands it makes a big difference for His kingdom. You will probably never know how God chooses to use it, but trust that somewhere down the line He will use it for something important. You have made a difference!
The Rev. Linda Stransky is executive director of Jubilee Project.
PHOTOS BELOW: (1) Jubilee youth at Bristol speedway. (2) Fairview distributes Christmas buckets. (3) Kendricks Creek hosts Christmas party. (4) Fairview UMW share fellowship with Jubilee women. (5) Jubilee youth enjoy gifts with Shiloh.
Jubilee Project reorganizes, finds new ways to help the poor (The Call, 2.5.13)
Path out of poverty: Jubilee Project creates opportunities (The Call, 12.3.09)