Wesley United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City came to the rescue. They generously opened their doors and volunteered to host the party in their fellowship hall. I was privileged to attend this year's event, and I can attest it is still fun and riotous and buzzing with excitement. But it it waaay less cramped.
Dedicated people work tirelessly to ensure the success of this party as well as the continuing success of the Exodus House ministry. Among them are the sponsor churches: Wesley UMC, Yukon UMC, Choctaw UMC and UMM, Seminole UMC, New Covenant UMC in Edmond, Blanchard UMC, St. Andrews UMC, First UMC of Edmond, New Hope UMC, and Church of the Servant UMC. There are also some very special individuals I'll identify in the pictures below.
Hopefully, my photos captured at least a smidgeon of the happiness and loving spirit that was evident throughout the celebration.
project provided this bounty of gifts for
residents and their children.
EH Site Director Robin Wertz,
enjoying her role as Master of Ceremonies for the night ...
(And food! I forgot to get a picture of all the food!)
This young lady nearly died of suspense while waiting
to open her presents, but thankfully
Sara, a recent EH graduate.
Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like
a new hat and coat and her
Rev. Stan Basler and volunteer Sherry.
As a former prosecuting attorney in Oklahoma, Stan
saw firsthand a justice system that wasn't working.
Exodus House Ministries in Oklahoma City and Tulsa are
the result of his vision for something better.
Exodus House volunteers from Seminole UMC (love that sweater!)
and Blanchard UMC
A volunteer from Wesley UMC on the left,
and on the right, Kristen Harlin,
Executive Director of
Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries and
a tireless supporter of Exodus House.
Jay and Kim are past residents of EH. Now they
own a successful business, and Jay serves as a
mentor to current residents.
EH volunteer Kathy Sewell from New Covenant UMC
in Edmond has been instrumental in remodeling
two apartments at EH (she has her own tool belt!) and
mentoring many of the occupants of those apartments.
Her love of God is reflected in her love of EH residents.
"...I thank the Lord and my sponsors for the way
my life has changed."
A thank you note from an EH resident.
Robin beautifully expressed her gratitude to all those who faithfully support the ministry of Exodus House, thanking them "for believing in second chances and believing in us, for being a true light in each of our lives, for giving us an opportunity to be and have success in our lives, for restoring families."
When you think about it, the story of Christmas is summed up in those words:
belief, true light, restoration, and
God's gift of a second chance for all humanity
offered through His Son.
Wishing You a Blessed Christmas!