Monthly Archives: January 2015

The Power of a HUG

Looking back on the past several months at GAP I have been reminded of how important it is just to love others. During distribution our clients once a year have to be re-evaluated; during this time their paper work is updated and its quality one-on-one time. This is where you really get to know the clients more and build relationships. They share prayer request as well as the struggles they are having. At this time I usually have the opportunity to share my life struggles with them and how God turned my mess into a message and that He wants to do the same for them. I share the gospel and tell them that Jesus is our Hope and that if we accept Him into our hearts and make Him our Lord and Savior He will be everything we need. He will never leave us nor forsake us. All He asks is for us to trust Him. I explain that it doesn’t mean everything is going to be perfect. It’s important that we as Christians just be real with each other because we don’t have it all together but we know the One who does. Praise God that He loves us in spite of ourselves.

Then after a time of sharing I ask if I can pray for them. Before they leave I will give them a simple hug. So many times this past year it is at that moment that many clients will break down and cry. They will thank me for the hug and say I never get that. My heart breaks because I personally know how it feels to not get hugs or feel loved.

Growing up I couldn’t hug people and wasn’t going to let anyone hug me. I thank God for coming into my life and He has taught me and filled my heart with love for others. He has now made me into a hugger. I give God all the praise and glory for without Him I am nothing and could do nothing. I praise His holy name. I thank God for His precious gift of love and His name is Jesus. It’s amazing the power a simple hug can have!

Written by Kathy Henson


In Memory of Marvin Paxton

Marvin Paxton from Lakeview, OH was a faithful partner of GAP for the last 7 years. Marv came to GAP the first time as the construction expert for his church’s mission team. After his first trip, God gave him a passion and love for the people in Eastern Kentucky and called him to missions. He approached GAP’s co founders, Lynn and Angie Wagoner, and stated that he wanted to come and serve alongside the staff of GAP for one week each month! The Wagoners were thrilled to have the generous help.

Marv made over 70 trips to GAP throughout the years building a wonderful partnership between GAP’s clients, GAP’s staff, and himself. His talents and passion as a “handyman” was such an asset to the ministry of GAP. He spent many hours working on GAP’s Dorema project. This ministry took old trailers and completely remolded them and sold them to clients through a low monthly rent-to-own contract. This enabled some of our clients to have good housing that they owned. He worked on several other projects from repairs on clients’ houses to the building of Servant Heart’s Lodge.

Marv’s enthusiasm for the ministry of GAP was inspiring to all around him. He used his talents and gifts for the glory of God. Marv even trained young men interested in the area of construction. He also served faithfully as a member of GAP’s Board of Directors until he had to step down last year due to health concerns. God used Marv to encourage the staff through his words and actions. He was a great example of God’s love through his actions, especially if you needed prayer. He didn’t simply say he would pray for you, he took the time to pray WITH you at that moment.

On October 12, 2014, the staff of GAP and three board members traveled to Marv’s church in OH for Sunday morning worship. We surprised him with an award thanking him for his years of ministry and faithfulness to the Gospel message.

Marvin Paxton passed away at his home on December 24, 2014. He was 73 years old. He leaves behind countless lives touched by his love and a legacy of faithful service to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The following poem was written by Marv. I had the honor of reading it at his funeral.

“Just A Little Prayer”
By Marv Paxton

Once there was a mother who prayed a little prayer
(For her children of course)
At age 35 her son gave his life to Jesus.
Just a little prayer.

Then that son prayed for his brother
At the age 52 he gave his life to Jesus
Just a little prayer.

That brother prayed for his children.
At age 30 a son gave his life to Jesus.
Just a little prayer.

Now this son has a godly wife and son;
Drives the church bus and helps with approximately 40 children at children’s church
Just a little prayer.

Now I know this to be true, because this was my mother,
My brother, myself and my son and his family

From this God’s Kingdom has increased
And the world is a better place.
Total cost of all this…
Just a little prayer!

(Click on the picture below to see more pictures of Marvin Paxton.)


A Simple Gift With An Eternal Value

The entire month of December seemed to fly by. God provided numerous opportunities to share the Gospel this past Christmas Season. I want to begin by saying thank you to all the generous donors and partners who made Christmas Project 2014 a great ministry event. Thank you to the many, many sponsors and for all who volunteered as personal shoppers and ministered alongside of us.

The Stephenson’s Christmas Store was open for five days this year. Most of the volunteers who worked this store came from different parts of our state and from different cultures than our clients. However, as the 415 client families came into the store this year to shop the walls of difference came down and relationships were built. As parents, we all want to pick a special gift for each of our children to open on Christmas morning. With that goal in mind, volunteers served as personal shoppers for each of our client families.

As soon as parents arrived at the Christmas Store they signed in and then they were greeted with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee and homemade cookies. As they waited for their appointment, clients enjoyed these refreshments and were engaged into conversation. Each family had a personal shopper that helped them find just the perfect gift for each child in their family and carried all their gifts out to their vehicle. Some families only had one child but others had as many as 10 children! The time spent with the clients at their vehicles was some of the most meaningful.

It was wonderful to see some of the expressions of excitement on our clients when they came into the Christmas Store. Many clients shared their deepest gratitude for this ministry event. It was an honor to let them know that it was God who provided all these toys for them to choose from because He loves them and cares for their family. We went on to share about the greatest Christmas gift of all – Jesus Christ and the gift of eternal life! When a client named Evelyn was leaving the store, she said through teary eyes, “Thank you, thank you, thank you! All my son wanted for Christmas this year was a bicycle and I had no idea where I was going to get one. Praise God!”

Sometimes we shed tears of joy and at other times it was tears of sorrow. Parents shared prayer request after prayer request and most of the time we felt ill-equipped to deal with all the pain and sorrow that our clients shared. However, we did the one thing we could and we took their request before our Heavenly Father. There were so many parents raising their grandchildren and even their great-grandchildren. One client had come to the Christmas Store the very first day it was opened and shopped for her 3 children. The very next day she lost all her material possessions when her trailer caught on fire. Another client had just lost her mother-in-law four days earlier. She needed someone to listen and pray with. This particular lady had already come for her scheduled appointment the week before but she stopped by to let us know about the death of her family member. It was at that moment of trying to minster to this lady that I realized GAP is much more than just a place to get things. GAP had become family to some of the clients. We had become their church family.

On December 18th we had our annual Parent’s Store. This ministry event allows children to choose Christmas gifts for two parents. This year the children were so excited to see some new faces. We added several special Christmas costumes to this ministry event that our volunteers wore. The excitement on their faces when they met back with their parents with two wrapped gifts was priceless! Once again this event focused on the real gift of Christmas. Parents and children watched a drama that informed us all about the true purpose of Christmas.

We added a new event to Christmas Project 2014! In years past, GAP has always delivered toys to parents in several low-income housing apartment complexes in Floyd County. However, this year we took the Christmas Store and Parent’s Store to one of these complexes. In partnership with a mission team from SC, we contacted a one day ministry event at Warco Apartments. In the afternoon, we had scheduled appointments for parents to shop for their children.  Later on we set up a Parent’s Store and allowed the children to shop for their parents. In the evening we held a community Christmas party which included games, music, puppets, devotional, and ended with a birthday cake for Jesus!

The purpose of all these events was to share the Gospel message. I would like to ask you to continue praying for all 415 families and 1,117 children touched by Christmas Project 2014. Pray that each time the parents see their children play with these toys and when the parents see the gifts their children gave them that they will be reminded of God’s love and salvation He offers them. Pray that He will use these gifts for His glory and purposes! Once again, many thanks to generous donors and dedicated volunteers who made Christmas Project 2014 such a great success! Thank you for giving a simple gift that could have an eternal value!

(Please click on picture to see more pictures of Christmas Project 2014.)DSC_0540