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Gifts from Unknown Angels
By Kerstin Allemeier

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. -- James 1:17

When an ex-con named Marcus Lewis went to prison for robbing a jewelry store, he didn't know how he would be able to give his toddler son a Christmas gift. Then he was approached by a representative from the Angel Tree Ministry.

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That first Christmas at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain in San Diego County, Marcus was able to give his boy brand new clothes and toys--and his family some peace. “It wasn’t for [my son] they were doing it. It was his mother and grandmother, who really saw the love of Christ.”

Marcus says the Angel Tree Ministry provide him a gift too: it gave him the strength to save for the following year and buy his own gifts for his son. “After that first year God provided and I was able to send my own clothes and toys.”

The Angel Tree Project takes the gifts you donate and gives them to the children of inmates. Each gift is accompanied by an angel-shaped note from the incarcerated parent.
Marcus's story doesn't end there, though. That first holiday in Donovan, the angel card stood out to Marcus. He had seen that card before--in fact, at every Christmas as a child. His own father had sent him gifts each holiday from prison, but Marcus had no idea they were coming from the Angel Tree Project.

“That was a revelation..." said Marcus.

Marcus never had the chance to talk to his dad about that revelation; he never had a chance to tell him he knew that basketball, the toy truck, the new clothes all came to him through Angel Tree. He never had a chance to tell his dad he understood how hard it must have been to have nothing to give his son at Christmas, and how happy he must have been to see the Angel Tree ministry each year.

Marcus’ father died in prison, and it wasn’t long after, that Marcus ended up behind bars himself.

Marcus spent 11 years behind bars. This November 27, 2008, marked the one-year anniversary of his freedom. Marcus now volunteers for the prison ministry and distributes Angel Tree toys every Christmas. “God's going to bless me. He told me. The curse is off my life.”

That gives him hope for finding his son, now 12 years old. The boy's mother severed communication with Marcus, but he is determined to find him and help him become a godly man.

Marcus is grateful for the Angel Tree Ministry, but he believes the best present he can give his child is to break the incarceration cycle. He knows that can only as a result of the best gift he ever received: a relationship with Jesus Christ, who gave His life for Marcus and us all.

For more information about the Prison Ministry, click here »