We saw this verse being beautifully displayed before our eyes this Saturday at our Hilltop Family Fun Day. The mothers that were a part of this day saw God’s amazing goodness surrounding them as they spent a whole day getting to love on their children and be a part of their lives, as if prison walls didn’t surround them. What was supposed to be a western themed day kind of turned into a Hawaiian circus theme with a few western hats thrown in, which had us all laughing at how the best laid plans don’t always come about, but these families would have loved it even if there were zero decorations! The opportunity they have to be together like this only comes around once a year, and they literally treasure every single moment!!
The day started out with fun and friendly competitions and games the moms and their children played together. So many cute little toddlers came this time and their mommies were loving every minute chasing them around and sitting with them in their laps and kissing on their sweet baby cheeks. As we were watching one of the moms as she braided her teenage daughter’s hair, one of our volunteers remarked how very special that must be to them…that simple normal mother and daughter activity that we in the free world take for granted. The weather was a bit chilly, but that didn’t stop the fun they all had of running around outside and competing in the hula hoop relays. The day continued with crafts and coloring and taking funny family pictures with hula skirts and cowboy hats, which they get to keep to remember this special day. They enjoyed lunching together over chili dogs and lemonade and then some settled in to watch a movie together, while others opted to enjoy playing card and board games.
We were blessed by the Hispanic news station, Univision who were there all day filming and interviewing a few of the moms and their kids. We are excited that their coverage of this event may help spread the word that days like this are so vital in recovering and repairing the hearts of children and moms who have been torn apart through time spent in prison. At the end of the day as the women reflected on this time with their kids, their tears were many and their hearts were completely grateful that they were given this opportunity to really feel like mothers. One young woman who we knew must be worn out from chasing her sweet little guy around all day was overcome with emotion as she said how getting to hold him and sing to him and play with him for just these few hours absolutely meant the world to her. Many of them said their children’s birthdays were very close to this day, so it was almost like they got to share a birthday with them. One mom whose daughter is graduating from high school this year, said that when her daughter first came in, she admitted that she didn’t feel like the bond between them was very strong, but by the end of the day, things had totally changed and she was sharing everything with her. Some had not seen their children in 3 or 4 years, so you can imagine the tears these families shed when they are saying their goodbyes. God allows these women to have these days so that they can fully understand that even though they are separated from their children, they still have an extremely important role in their kids’ lives, and to remind them that they need to put every effort into being as present in their children’s lives as they possibly can.
We are thankful that this day went so smoothly. We know that it is because so many prayers were said over this day and God just came in and filled the place with His Presence! If you are one of those who prayed for us….THANK YOU!!! We appreciate you covering us as we serve Him by serving them. We all have our part…if praying is your part, know that it makes all the difference in this very special day of God bringing families back together!!
written by: Kathy Young