WINNERS ARE HERE
A huge Thank You to all of the members who participated in this contest, everyone wins in the long run. Someday when you get to heaven you will see what a small pebble thrown in a big pond can do.
I just received the results from the DeMoss group and here they are the top three they selected.WINNERS - A GIFT AND THE GOSPEL
FIRST PLACE - $100 AND POSTING ON 100 CHRISTIAN BLOGS GOES TO -
Bound on Earth, Bound to Heaven
by: Haydee Emilou Ilagan
I was awakened by the tumultuous voice of my brother one Monday morning when he said that our dad was arrested by the police. He did not kill anybody nor committed any criminal offense. It was the ongoing business cases filed against his company.
For the next days and weeks, I caught myself crying and wallowing in a sea of misery and depression. No amount of prayer and counsel took away the pain in my heart. I felt confused, afraid, crushed, abandoned, and unprotected. I could not imagine how Papa can survive standing in the city jail for many weeks and crushed by the bodies of fellow prisoners. He could not even go to the restroom when he needs to and change his sweat-soaked shirt.
Prior to that, my dad used to take me to the National Penitentiary for many years. We signed a waiver before entering the Maximum Security Compound just in case something happens. One full day for every week, our prison ministry team visited and ministered to them.
My friends said I am crazy going there with no assurance of protection whatsoever once someone throws a fit or our lives become endangered because of the environment. Perhaps.
I will never forget the day my dad asked me to preach about God's goodness to them. I saw the tears in their eyes and the pain in their faces. I had no power to do something concrete like getting them out of jail but by just being there to listen to them, pray for them, feed them, clothe them, throw them Christmas parties, give them hope and share Jesus to them makes all the difference.
James 1:27 echoes this: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
I saw many wives, children, and relatives visiting their incarcerated husbands, fathers and loved ones. They had the same facial expressions and the same story of loss, lack, and fatherlessness.
The same story unfolds for every country, race or generation where a father or mother was sentenced to jail. Indefinite separation from parents sets the stage for them to lack guidance and parenting thereby making them prone to a host of emotional trauma, abuse, rejection, and neglect. Couple these with the propensity to engage in illegal activities and addictions to drugs, pornography, sex, gambling, among others.
But, there's good news. After serving time in prison, President Richard Nixon's “hatchet man” Charles Colson was empowered and anointed by God to impact the lives of prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families through the establishment of Prison Fellowship in 1976. This non-profit ministry aims for the redemption, reconciliation, and restoration of prisoners and their families through the love, power and gospel of Jesus Christ.
Eventually in 1982, ex-bank robber and prisoner Mary Kay Beard founded Angel Tree in Birmingham, Alabama to help Prison Fellowship prisoners connect with their families especially children during Christmas. The idea is to allow a sponsor to give a Christmas gift to a child under the name of his own incarcerated parent. In its first year, 556 children were given and to date about 9 million children and 5.2 million inmate parents were ministered to.
There are now 1.7 million children who have one or both parents in prison.
You can change lives and make a difference right NOW.
Click Angel Tree to know more details and how you and your church can partner with them.
Imagine what your Christmas gift and prayer can do to one of these kids.
Author: Haydee I.
FW ID# 60645
... ae8b77f4e5Quote from Haydee - "I give back to God all the glory for inspiring me to write my entry piece for A Gift and the Gospel contest. The theme is close to my heart as I've experienced it myself and been into that ministry for a long time. I may have been writing for the past three years for a living but time and again God reminds me of the vision He gave me in 2004 to publish His testimonies to the nations. Today is exactly my first month in this Christian writers' community and I thank God that FaithWriters helps me fulfill God's vision and destiny for my life. It's a great thing to discover God's original intent for your life and walk right into it...with Him."
- Haydee I.
SECOND PLACE AND $50 GOES TO –
Everyone Leaves A Legacy— What Will Yours Be?
Many years ago I was sitting at a picnic table, in a park near downtown Nashville, when a young boy named Charles walked by with his head drooped down, and a sad look on his face. When I asked him if he was OK, he turned toward me, and with tears rolling down his cheeks said—"I'm hungry."
I soon learned that his father was in prison, his mother was an abusive alcoholic, and he was living on the streets of Nashville all alone, at age sixteen.
That Christmas at our home, he was surrounded by fifteen of my family members who showed him love, and gave him a gift.
But the most important gift that Charles received was Christ. God gave that gift, but we were incredibly blessed to have a part in delivering it.
That's what the Angel Tree ministry offers you: an opportunity to give a gift to a heart-broken child of an inmate, and a chance to share the gospel with that child (and their parents), all feeling the immense pain of missing loved ones at Christmas.
I know something about that. On December 16th, 2006, I buried my wife of twenty-nine years. At 59, I spent my first Christmas alone. The way it hit me, you would have thought I was a child. The loneliness is hard to explain, and I had the Lord.
Though the children of inmates typically have one parent around, most do not have the Lord. And having that one parent only helps to mildly and occasionally relieve their heartfelt pain, especially at holidays.
Just think what a lift to a child's spirit you will bring when you arrive greeting them with a gift, and what could be a life-changing message about the love of God. Of course you can't replace their mom or dad, but your gift and love will bring them at least some relief from the devastation that having an incarcerated parent has made them feel.
And it not only brings relief for the moment, it gives them hope for the future, as they see and feel the reality of someone truly caring about them. No adult should have to face such a burden, much less a child.
What adds to the sadness of all this, is when you realize the number of people who could make a difference—but do nothing. They don't even donate a gift.
The Bible makes it very clear that faith without works is dead, and that we are to be doers of the word, not hearers only.
With over 1.7 million children suffering from the effects of a parent locked away, it's time for you to be a doer.
Some day you'll pass on from this old world, and like everyone, you'll leave a legacy.
Maybe it will be material things, such as money or property.
Possibly, it will be one of nothingness, or worse yet—a trail of shattered lives.
Or perhaps your legacy will consist of lives changed for the better—forever.
If you're like most of us, you may not have anything of material value to leave behind. Don't feel bad; neither did Paul the tentmaker, Peter the fisherman, Ruth the Moabitess, or Rahab the harlot. But their legacies live on, even today, as their lives continue to impact millions.
Everyone leaves a legacy.
What will yours be?
member #60433http://www.christiansallin.com/Blog.html http://christian-articles-by-eddie.blog
Quote From Eddie Winning something is always humbling to me, but most especially in an instance like this.When you pray and seek the Lord’s help in a matter, and then it turns out good. You may be assured that the Lord is in it, and therefore due all the credit.
But, of course, I’m thankful as well.
EddieTHIRD PLACE AND $25 GOES TO -
It was Christmas. My husband was in prison. I cried a lot. Haranguing thoughts constantly whirled around my head.
"How can I possibly forgive him? How can I ever live this down? How can I go on?"
That was twenty-three years ago. Last Sunday, tears filled my eyes as I fingered an Angel Tree ornament. I recalled how angry I'd felt 23 years earlier. Then I remembered all the people who had been the hands and feet of Jesus to me back then. They'd given me the courage to endure and to truly forgive my husband.
As I stared at the Christmas tree filled with Angel Tree angels, I thought of the children of prisoners who would accept the gifts. Would they feel angry and filled with shame like I had 23 years earlier? Would they take on the guilt of their parent in prison? Would they think their friends hated them for what their mom or dad had done? Would they think, "I'll just end up like my parent?"
As my eyes misted over, I thanked God for the bright future that my friends and family had instilled in me in the last 23 years. I scanned the gift wishes of the angels hanging on the tree and prayed, "Lord, help me choose one that will transform a child with Your love."
My eyes danced when I found the gift wish, "Elmo or musical toy."
"Elmo?!? How perfect! His laughter is so contagious!”
So I bought Elmo and prayed, "Lord, let every peal of laughter bring a bucket-load of God's joy! Let his red fur remind the family of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and bring salvation.” Then I prayed daily for God to bless the family.
Laughter had healed Norman Cousins 23 years ago, but Angel Tree has a much better gift than just laughter—the love of God. Countless families have been restored to God’s love through a simple gift given in the name of a prisoner. Mary Kay Beard started this ministry in 1982. She was a former bank robber whose life was dramatically altered in prison by the gospel.
More than nine million children have been touched by Angel Tree in the last 30 years. Angel Tree is just one part of prison fellowship. Other ways they reach children of inmates include mentoring programs and summer camp outreaches. Some churches, like Shiloh Christian Ministries in Sierra Vista, Arizona, also sponsor clothing giveaways, school backpack outreaches, Christmas parties, and monthly newsletter mailings.
Would you like to help a child find a brighter future? Project Angel Tree can help you do that. You could buy an Angel Tree gift, pray for the families, or ask your church to join Angel Tree. You could also donate.
Would you like to join us in impacting shattered lives with the hope of the gospel?
By Nancy Dobbinshttp://donna-goodrich.blogspot.com/http://www.faithwriters.com/article-det
OUR SILVER WINNER OF A ONE YEAR GOLD MEMBERSHIP
An Angel In The Tree
by grace greatman
Excited boys and girls trotted in a circle, a huge Christmas tree in the middle.
“This party is a blast.” Joe, fifteen, breathless from the dance, nudged his twelve-year-old sister.
“Lots of food,” Tracy muffled through a mouthful of chocolate cake.
“Wait until you see the gifts,” screamed George, a lanky seventeen year old.
It was an annual program. The Angel Tree Christmas Party, Joe and Tracy’s first time. The last two Christmases were far from this. Alone, cold, dirty and hungry, they scavenged for food. Apart from the few dollars they got from sympathizers, the garbage cans were filled with delicious scraps. Tracy even dug out a big, round, untouched Christmas cake, still wrapped in foil. They named it their Christmas present from God.
Joe often wondered why they were different from others. Even when their parents were around, food was hard to get.
Why were they poor?
Why did their dad come home drunk most times?
Why did he often beat their mum?
Why did he beat her so hard that day that she died?
That was three years ago…
Shrieks of laughter broke into his thoughts. One of the clowns had hopped into the pool. He couldn’t swim, desperate, he yanked off his outlandish costume, revealing a very frightened teenager. His crumpled face produced more laughter.
“Who would have guessed Fred played the clown.” George enthused.
“You know him?” Joe asked.
“Yes, my dad was in the same prison with his mum. We met at the Angel Tree Camp last summer.”
When George’s dad was in prison, he encountered the Prison Fellowship Ministries, became a Christian and registered George to receive Christmas Presents. The neighborhood church supported him and his mum and helped them maintain contact with his dad. When his seven-year term ended, the family rededicated their lives to Christ and coordinated their church’s Angel Tree Outreaches. George met Joe and Tracy at one of the programs. The three of them formed a fast friendship.
“Common, this is my favorite part.” George urged Joe and Tracy towards the tree. “Every present has a name tag. Look for your name and see what your dad sent to you.”
Joe’s eyes filled with tears when he saw a digital photo camera. He had wanted one for so long. He looked closely at the tree to see if there was an angel on it. Only an angel would know what he really wanted. Only an angel would be so good to them. Tracy screamed for joy when she sighted a big white teddy bear she had always admired in the shop down the street. They also got pictorial copies of the bible. Now they can read about their bible heroes.
Like Joe, Tracy and Fred, there are 1.7 million children of inmates, stranded and lonely, not only at Christmas, but all year long.
In Matthew 25:43-46, Jesus said, “…I was …naked, and you clothed me not…in prison, and you visited me not… Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me… And these shall go away into everlasting punishment…”
Please, do not turn away from helping. Join Angel Tree to share gifts and the gospel with children of inmates. Help provide Christmas Presents and other gifts of love. This is “pure religion and undefiled before God…” James 1:27
Donate and enjoy earthly and eternal rewards. Remember, Christianity is all about giving and service. The religion God accepts as pure and faultless involves looking after those in need.
Be the Angel in the tree.
Grace Olumayowa Aideloje
Silver Member -#249240http://www.penparables.blogspot.comhttp://www.faithwriters.com/article-dethttp://facebook.com/gracegreatmanORIGINAL CONTEST RULES AND ALL ENTRIES BELOW HERE.
Blog Contest -A Gift and the Gospel SUPER EASY LINK BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS BELOW
This Contest includes three five minute videos on link building for our regular articles, this forum and blogger.com.
Contest Verse - Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
All members are invited to enter these contests. You must be a member to enter. You can join now for free if you are not a member http://www.faithwriters.com/finish-signup.php
You also need to be registered in these forums after you join as a member. Click the register button in the top right of this page.
You need to read our Blog Contest overview first if you are unfamiliar with these contests.http://faithwriters.com/christianwritingcontest.html
In this contest you are writing about the Angel Tree program: a program of Prison Fellowship Ministries (PFM). The Angel Tree program is your specific target of promotion. This Christ-centered program provides Christmas gifts and Jesus to children with incarcerated parents.
You already may be familiar with Angel Tree, since it has been in existence for many years. It is a very successful program. Did you know, however, that only about one third of the children with parents in prison are currently included in the program? There is a lot of room for growth and you can help make this possible by entering this contest. The articles submitted for this contest will remain on the Internet and attract readers to Angel Tree for years to come.
As you research Angel Tree and PFM, you will learn that this is not just a Christmas present program. Angel Tree is only a small part of PFM. They have year-round programs and bring a strong gospel presentation to inmates and their families. They place the family in direct contact with a local church. Over nine million of these connections have been made through Angel Tree alone. This is a ministry of healing and reconciliation.
Since this contest involves children and Christmas we expect to see some amazing articles. Write it from the view of the child or the incarcerated parent. Maybe you have had a lonely and sad Christmas and can relate. How did you feel? What were your thoughts? Write it from the heart.
I know God is really involved with what we are doing here. When I contacted Angel Tree about running this contest in November for zero cost to them (we offered to cover the prizes). They placed me in contact with the DeMoss Group, their PR firm. My contact at the the DeMoss group informed me that they were just starting to encourage blogging for the first time at Angel Tree. They had just named November as Angel Tree blogging month in the hopes of getting Christians to blog on the Internet for them. When I proposed we run a blog contest for them, I was totally unaware that they had just initiated this blog program themselves. The fact that I had contacted them at this very time caught their attention.
This presents you as writers and FaithWriters with a very interesting opportunity. Not only do you have a chance to represent Jesus and make many children smile, God has opened a door so that you can show off your writing talent to the DeMoss Grouphttp://www.demossgroup.com/about
They are the largest public relations firm for Christian organizations. They have clients who need Christian writers. Let's show them your talent so they know where they can come when they need content and writers. They very well may end up being the judge for this contest.
To do your best, I suggest that you remember our site verse Matthew 6:33 and keep God first. Write your entry for God, let Him take care of the rest.
I am praying that many of you will enter this contest and showcase your writing talent for this exceptional ministry. The Ministry we are promoting -http://www.angeltree.org/angeltreehome
All information necessary to write your blog article can be found at the end of this post and on their websites.http://www.angeltree.org http://www.prisonfellowship.org/prison-fellowship-home
Objective - Catch and keep the interest of readers with edgy, creative articles. We are looking for very creative and compelling. Titles that catch the eye and articles that move the reader.
Your job is to get the reader to click through to Angel Tree’s website and donate or get involved.
The word count will be 600 words maximum.
There must be a title. We are looking for something that gets attention.
Post your article in 2 locations plus this forum.
Links must work in the posts.
You must include your name and member number at the bottom of your submission in this forum only. Find member number video http://screencast.com/t/KK08uzYZxP
You must also include the URLs at the bottom of your post in this forum for the other two or more places you posted your article.
Deadline 12-3-12 at 10 am.The keyword, keyword phrases - 1) Angel Tree, 2) children of inmates, 3) Prison fellowship, 4) Angel Tree stories, 5)1.7 million children, 6) Christmas presents, 7) donateThe Keywords in their contextual link format that you must use are next
First simply write your article around 3 keywords above. When it is finished then come back and copy the link for that keyword and insert it in place of the keyword alone. There are 3 specific examples of linking next in the 3 videos. These 3 locations will work for the contest. Also use your own blog or website if you have one.ONLY ADD 3 LINKS PER ARTICLE
IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE WITH LINKS, REVIEW THE OTHER AREAS IN THE BLOGGING FORUM THAT EXPLAIN EXACTLY HOW TO LINK.
Here are the links formatted for our regular articles submission area.
It really is very simple. Using the keywords in number one below for example, here is a sample sentence for an article. “The organization that provides Christmas gifts for Children of inmates is called Angel Tree.” To make the words Angel Tree into a link in our regular articles you simply replace Angel Tree with
<a href=" http://www.angeltree.org/angeltreehome
"TARGET="_blank">Angel Tree</a> .
You could choose to use other words that you find on the page you are linking to instead of Angel Tree like we did in number three below. Both of these links go to the same page but the keywords we used in the links are different.HERE IS A 5 MINUTE VIDEO EXPLAINING EXACTLY HOW TO INSERT LINKS INTO OUR REGULAR ARTICLES http://screencast.com/t/S8nUptFYZw
1) <a href="http://www.angeltree.org/angeltreehome"TARGET="_blank">Angel Tree</a>
2) <a href="http://www.angeltree.org/why-angel-tree"TARGET="_blank">children of inmates</a>
3) <a href="http://www.angeltree.org/angeltreehome"TARGET="_blank">prison fellowship</a>
4) <a href="http://www.angeltree.org/at-stories/stories-of-prisoners-families"TARGET="_blank">Angel Tree stories</a>
5) <a href="http://www.prisonfellowship.org/new-this-week/stories/16412-17-million-reasons"TARGET="_blank">1.7 million children</a>
6) <a href="http://www.angeltree.org/angeltreehome"TARGET="_blank">Christmas presents</a>
7) <a href="https://prisonfellowship.webconnex.com/atdonate?sc=ATWB12000&dr=1"TARGET="_blank">donate</a>
More advanced and know how to make your own links? You can also take other keywords from pages on Angel Tree's website and link the page they are on to them.
Here are the same links formatted for this forum. We do not require that links function in this forum but it is a plus
. Links must function in our regular articles and the other location you post in. If I actually built the full link here, you would only be able to see the finished link right now. From 1 through 6 below I have removed these four characters
from directly in front of the = sign on each line.
1) =http://www.angeltree.org/angeltreehome]Angel tree[/url]
2) =http://www.angeltree.org/why-angel-tree]children of inmates[/url]
3) =http://www.angeltree.org/angeltreehome]prison fellowship[/url]
4) =http://www.angeltree.org/at-stories/stories-of-prisoners-families]Angel Tree stories[/url]
5) =http://www.angeltree.org/at-stories/stories-of-prisoners-families]1.7 million children[/url]
6) =http://www.angeltree.org/angeltreehome]Christmas presents[/url]
In other words 1 - 7 above should all start this way - [url=http:// HERE IS A 5 MINUTE VIDEO ON EXACTLY HOW TO DO THE LINKS IN OUR FORUM. http://screencast.com/t/Nj39HD0MD6HERE IS A 5 MINUTE VIDEO ON EXACTLY HOW TO DO THE LINKS AT http://www.blogger.comVIDEO FOR BLOGGER IS HERE http://screencast.com/t/Iv51IMSMLT0
Prizes for Gold and Platinum members –
There isn't a commitment from Prison Fellowship Ministries (PFM) to utilize the winning writers. Prizes will be a cash prize. We are, however, working with the Demoss Group (http://demossgroup.com/
), the public relations firm for PFM. They represent many faith-based organizations and they do utilize writers as do the ministries they represent.
Winners in this contest would have a foot in the door and the potential for future work. This is in no way a guarantee of writing work for the winners but FaithWriters will strongly encourage PFM and the DeMoss Group to look your way when writing assignments come up. If you are serious about your writing we encourage you to enter. Let's show the DeMoss group what you can do. We hope to be able to work with them on several of the ministries they represent.
1st place gets a $100 cash prize
2nd place get a $50 cash prize
Winners get writing exposure
3rd place gets $25
The winning entry will also be posted on 100 Christian blogs. This will give the winner more exposure and the ministry we are promoting hundreds of more links to their site.
Prize for Silver members -
Best Silver entry gets a one year free gold membership, as well as writing exposure. If you win a free Gold membership on this one you would be eligible to win a writing assignment on future ones over the next 12 months.
All members are building treasure in heaven as Jesus said we should.
If you are new to these contests we encourage you to go here to learn more – http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=92&t=35283
More about creating links here -http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=92&t=35422
Ask questions here -http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=92&t=35289
To get a better idea of what we are looking for in articles go here and read the past winners -http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=92&t=35372http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=92&t=35527
God Bless, Mike
More information on Angel Treehttp://www.angeltree.org http://www.prisonfellowship.org/prison-fellowship-home
WHAT IS ANGEL TREE?
Angel Tree, a program of Prison Fellowship®, is the largest national outreach that specifically
targets the children of prisoners. Every year Angel Tree works through thousands of local
churches and organizations to give Christmas gifts to children on behalf of their incarcerated
parents – helping to reconcile inmates and their families to God and to one another, and to
stop the generational cycle of crime.
Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, Angel Tree also goes beyond Christmas by involving
prisoners’ children in summer camps, mentoring, and year-round, church-led programs that
holistically support inmates’ families.
1.7 million children – have one or both parents
The children of prisoners are five times more likely to
live in poverty, and they’re also at greater risk for a
range of emotional and behavioral problems, like
depression and drug use.
Approximately half of state and federal prisoners
have not seen their children since they
52 percent of all inmates (and 75 percent of all
female prisoners) have children.
The vast majority of prisoners are held more than
100 miles from where their children live.
The Angel Tree Response
Founded in 1982 by an ex-prisoner, Angel Tree has
served inmates and their children for 30 years,
touching the lives of 9 million children and 5.2 million
In 2011 Angel Tree worked with more than 7,700
churches and organizations to reach nearly
More than 5,000 children have been mentored
by caring adults through the Angel Tree
More than 75,000 children have gained new
experiences and friendships while learning about
God’s love through Angel Tree Camping®.
Three Ways to Help Prisoners’ Kids
1. Pray for Angel Tree.
2. Register your church or organization for
Angel Tree Christmas 2012. You will receive
the names and gift wishes of children in
your local area. After contacting their
caregivers, you will buy, wrap, and present
the gifts on behalf of their incarcerated
parents at a group Christmas party or a
scheduled home delivery.
3. Visit http://www.angeltree.org
to make a monthly
or one-time gift.
The History of Angel Tree
Under the leadership of former bank robber Mary
Kay Beard, Angel Tree began in Birmingham,
Alabama, in 1982 as a way of helping the
inmates Prison Fellowship served stay
connected with their children at Christmas. In
that first year, 556 children were served. Today,
Angel Tree is in every U.S. state and, through
Prison Fellowship International, it has a
presence in more than 120 countries around
The need is much greater than the current supply.http://www.angeltree.org/atblog/entry/6/15806
Watch the videos on this page.http://www.angeltree.org/at-stories/video-library Replies below this post are reserved for contest entries. Other posts will be removed.
Please ask questions under the appropriate topic.