• Pastor Dan Anderson


No sooner do we clean the Thanksgiving table off, put the dishes in the dishwasher, and put the leftovers in the fridge when Black Friday hits and all the sudden it’s Christmastime and the busiest shopping day of the year.

Last year on Black Friday $665 Billion dollars were spent by over 101 million shoppers! It’s a big day for retailers as they make 30-40% of their annual revenue from Black Friday till Christmas. That’s a lot of Christmas presents people are giving.

Not to be outdone, one of our Ambassadors at the mission has decided this Christmas he would be a GIVER rather than a RECEIVER also. Check out this heart-warming Christmas story.

Phillip is one of the most Thankful people you’ll ever meet (provided you don’t meet him too early in the morning:)

He was abandoned at the age of 8 by his family and grew up on the streets of Los Angeles bumming food instead of learning to read and write. When he grew up he spent more time in jail than out being arrested as often as possible just to get indoors for safety and food.

Phillip has graduated the URM program and is a resident in our Ambassadors wing now. Phillip is very grateful to God and the mission and he expresses it by cleaning the 5th floor floor every day as well as going with me to churches, schools, and clubs to share his story of gratitude.

I have been challenging Phillip to grow in Christ by becoming a cheerful giver of his finances. He has learned to be a good saver but now it’s time to give. Out of a heart of thanksgiving he wants to give gifts this Christmas to the men who are just starting out at the mission. He wants to be an encouragement to these men because many of them don’t make it through the whole one year program.

Phillip wants to give them presents at our big Christmas party because he was once where they are now… at the beginning… as Phillip looks at these men he sees himself.

This week Phillip took $600 out of his bank account and for the first time in his life he went Christmas shopping.

Phillip asked Betty and I to help him but first he wanted to take us out for dinner… but as he said, “not a cheap dinner, a nice dinner”. So we went to California Pizza Kitchen and we ordered a nice juicy steak and a tasty Buttercake for dessert. Phil covered the entire dinner and left a generous tip for our waitress.

Then we went Christmas shopping at Target and Phil and Betty did a wonderful job of finding things the guys would need. He created packages that will include a t-shirt, underwear, a razor and shaving cream for 20 men. At the register he came in right under his budget of $500. He is excited about wrapping all his gifts and watching the Seeds of Hope Men open their gifts at the party.

Most of us give Christmas gifts out of our abundance but Phillip, this Christmas, is giving out of his Poverty… he lives on skid row… he is giving out of his Thankfulness. Phillip exemplifies 1 John 3:18… He is proving his love for God through Deed and Truth… because sometimes words aren’t enough!

Please pray for Phillip, that he will experience Thanks-living throughout the year and for the men who will receive his gifts… that they will sense the love of God through this and find the courage and endurance to finish what they are starting and find Jesus can transform any and all who are hurting and helpless.

Take a look at this touching one minute video where Phillip explains why he wants to give.

–Pastor Dan

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