Christmas in July
Phoenix Citadel youth perform random acts of kindness.
This summer, 9-year-old Abraham dressed as Santa Claus hit the streets of Phoenix bearing gifts, accompanied by eight young people and two leaders from the Phoenix, Ariz., Citadel young people’s legion (YPL). The corps officers are Majors Harry and Marina Lacey.
Wanting to do a project for the Community Care Ministries (CCM), the youth, with leaders David Oakley and Hilary Benton, decided to put on “Christmas in July.” They gathered toys, wrapped them in Christmas paper, and then went to several laundries and low-income apartments.
They were invited into one apartment where there were six children in the family. The smallest was overwhelmed; she couldn’t believe that the present was hers. Each package had a card with The Salvation Army address and phone number and the message, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Child is given.”
Oakley told of a special moment for him. As the team handed out gifts in a particular laundry, several children ripped theirs open, but one child held on to hers as though she was afraid someone would take it away. The group then left for another site. Driving back, they saw the girl and her mother walking home, the unopened gift still clutched in her arms, and the child’s face still glowing with wonder.
The youth group saw the results of their random acts of kindness through the eyes of the children—a priceless experience of a lifetime.
“This is a wonderful testimony of the young people at Phoenix Citadel,” said Territorial Youth Secretary Major Ivan Wild. “I am glad the youth have a mission outlook. We need our young people to take the initiative in reaching out to others. Praise God for the leadership at Phoenix Citadel and praise God for the young people.”