Posted on : Tuesday January 7, 2014

By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent

LA VALE, Md.—Churches in Western Maryland, with the assistance of Baptist Family & Children’s Services, received the greatest Christmas gift: Over 41 people made decisions for Christ during a special Christmas Shoppe outreach.

The churches served 189 children from 84 different families in a special Christmas Shoppe, where each child received two gifts, a stocking stuffer, a book, a hat and pair of gloves. Each family also received a DVD, and everyone got Bibles and gospel tracts and “candy canes too,” along with an invitation to church.

“GOD IS SOOOOOOO GREAT!!!!!!!” shared Pastor Jim Jeffries of LaVale Baptist Church and the recently started Zion Community Church, in an email. “We had overwhelmingly positive feedback! People were very thankful for all [we] did in Jesus’ name to brighten their children’s Christmases!”

While guests were in the sanctuary, awaiting their visit down into the Christmas Shoppe, Jeffries had the privilege of presenting them with “the Greatest Gift of all, Jesus Christ!”

“Now…brace yourself….” Jeffries said, “by the end of the night, 41 people received Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord!!!! WOW!! Fifty-four people said they’d be receptive of us following up with them, and several said they planned to attend one of our services.”

He stressed, “I might have shared the explicit gospel, which has the power to save, but y’all [the church volunteers] shone with His light and presented such a powerful witness.”

Jeffries said many volunteers from both churches and a few others from other churches, such as Grace Baptist, served while other groups such as Baptist Family & Children’s Services and Cumberland Community Church, collected gifts and donated to the Shoppe, adding to what LaVale and Zion Community (and friends) donated and collected.

“I know this is an all-year effort so I thank everyone who was part…[that] night, and all through the year,” he said.

“All of us together, lift our efforts to God as a praise to Him! As we do it to the least of these, we do it to Him! And now, many will have a new and wonderful eternal destiny because of your faithfulness and cooperation in the Gospel!!!! AMEN!!” he cheered. Since the Christmas Shoppe on Dec. 13, both of the churches Jeffries pastors have been busy with additional outreach.

LaVale Baptist hosted the young men from the Green Ridge Youth Center (Juvenile Detention Facility) on Sat., Dec. 21, for a spaghetti dinner and a program containing entertainment and a Christmas message, singing, and a gospel presentation. Two of the young men became Christians that night.

Zion Community Church (who just joined Western Association in October) assembled and delivered fruit baskets to shut-ins and others in the community, which was received wonderfully well.

“Our Lord is doing great things at LaVale and Zion…and I am blessed to be part!” Jeffries said.