Category Archives: Angie Wagoner

A Christmas Legacy

How one man’s passion for the Gospel inspires The Christmas Project

Bill & Peggy Stephenson

Bill & Peggy Stephenson

Christmas is always an exciting time at GAP. Bill Stephenson’s presence at the Christmas Store made it all the more exciting. Bill came to share more than toys, although he was ready and willing to help any parent. His goal was that everyone would leave the warehouse knowing Jesus Christ and His gift of salvation. Bill was adamant that he take the bag of toys to the car. That gave him a chance to talk in a calmer setting than the sometimes noisy warehouse. No one in Bill’s care left without prayer. At least ten parents made professions of faith as a result of his faithfulness to share.

Bill’s passion for winning the lost was not exclusive to GAP. He was actively involved year round in a truck stop ministry as well as Haven of Rest  and supported PEL (Praying Effectively for the Lost) Ministries. He served as a deacon at Union Baptist Church.

The memory of Bill’s example still inspires our volunteers today. Two years after the tragic murder of Bill and his wife, Peggy, it is impossible to think of the Christmas Store and not think of Bill. His name and face has become synonymous with the Christmas Store for those who witnessed him in action. At the time of his death, the family asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to a fund that would be divided among Bill’s ministries. Even after his death, Bill continued to give to the Christmas Store, providing many gifts for the children with the portion of donations given to GAP.

Last Christmas we wanted to do something to honor Bill’s dedication and to remind us all that we need to carry on his passion to reach the lost for Jesus. The Christmas Store has always been housed in the GAP warehouse. Today we proudly display the warehouse’s new name: Stephenson Christmas Store.


Several of Bill’s family members have also volunteered at the Christmas Store including his daughter, Beth Stephenson-Victor, his son and daughter-in-law, Tom and Angie Stephenson.  Beth sent this in an email on behalf of the family, shortly after seeing a picture of the sign, “While carrying on Bills’ legacy, the family learned of the name change as we ministered to the people at GAP last Christmas. While Dad was not one to draw attention to himself, we know he would be very humbled by this recognition and the family is very moved and honored that GAP will continue to recognize his contribution to the wonderful people in McDowell.”


Hillcrest Baptist Church

Hillcrest Baptist Church of Hopkinsville, Kentucky did a great job serving on their first mission trip to GAP. BeansTalk has never been more inviting, the Senior Citizen Center has a new look inside and out. Most importantly, two young boys were saved at movie night on Wednesday. Hillcrest Baptist Church of Hopkinsville, Kentucky did a great job serving on their first mission trip to GAP. BeansTalk has never been more inviting, the Senior Citizen Center has a new look inside and out. Most importantly, two young boys were saved at movie night on Wednesday.

2013 Community Easter Egg Hunt

We Estimate that there were 800 in attendance at this years Community Easter Egg Hunt. 73 adults filled out forms requesting more information about having a personal relationship with Christ.

At the end of the event we drew names for six prizes. Ealita Stumbo won $100 Walmart gift card. She was quite emotional when she came forward to claim her prize.  “You just don’t understand how much my family needs this. My husband was hurt at work and this will really help,” she said softly.

It is always a blessing to see God provide. He has some pretty unique ways working.

Reaping The Harvest: The 2012 Christmas Project

The 2012 Christmas project was filled with generous contributors and grateful recipients like no other year before. We had the awesome privilege of assisting the parents of 1540 children with gifts this year. In the midst of the festivities there were tears of sorrow and tears of joy as families shared their needs and rejoiced in the way those needs were met.

Christmas was difficult for many. Several had lost jobs and other had lost loved ones. We delivered gifts to the Tackett house. They spent Christmas in the ICU waiting room this year. Another family struggled with Christmas after three young girls lost their mother and were sent to live with relatives.

Melinda Johnson

Malinda Johnson & Tanya Stigall

Malinda Johnson & Tanya Stigall

Malinda Johnson’s story is not new to those who have been receiving our newsletter. Her youngest daughter was killed in a car accident a few years ago. This past year, Malinda and her husband were saved and it has been exciting to see how God is working in their lives. Malinda wrote these words on a thank you card: “My truest sincerity goes your way. What you have done for my family and other is a blessing. . . Making a smile on my family’s face for years is such a blessing for me and I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

The Hamiltons

Pat Durham & the Hamiltons

Pat Durham & the Hamiltons

Philip and Samantha Hamilton were being assisted by Ms. Pat Durham from Union Baptist Church. As she walked them out to the car to load gifts and pray with the couple, Philip asked her if she was from the church that brought family Bibles a few years ago. She was touched that they remembered her but more so by the words that came next. “We have the Bible on a table in our living room.” The Bible had a card signed by all the children in Ms. Pat’s children’s program that year. Philip continued to tell her how they prayed for the children by name weekly, even though it was likely some of the children were no longer in the children’s program. Philip and Samantha wrote a thank you card we would like to share with you. “To: All those who have helped us in this time of need. We deeply appreciate all you have done. We hope that God will truly bless you all this upcoming year.” -Philip and Samantha Hamilton and kids, Corbin and Savanah.

Craig Slone

Craig Slone and Kathy Henson

Craig Slone and Kathy Henson

Craig Slone came to the Christmas store with a grim outlook on life. He said his health was bad and he truly believed he would not live much longer. This gave Kathy Henson the opportunity to ask him where his final destination would be if this were to happen. At the conclusion of the conversation, Craig prayed the sinner’s prayer. Then the party started, at the warehouse and in Heaven. Craig left with a smile on his face and some hope for the future, wherever it may lead.

God continued to work in supplying the physical needs and, more importantly, changing lives for all eternity. Tammy Hamilton and Sheila Deal also made professions of faith after hearing the testimony of their personal shopper.
Much of the time it is difficult to measure the impact a ministry truly has because sometimes it is planting a seed. Until the seed begins to penetrate the ground, even the watering can seem worthless. But sometimes God allows us to see the harvest and for that we are sincerely grateful.

Tough Times, Hard Questions

Part 1 of Rita’s Story

By Angie Wagoner

Note: The name of the woman in this article has been change to protect her identity.

It was late in the day. I was exhausted but the Christmas project was about to come to a close, so rest was in the near future. Even though my body was tired, I was thanking God for the results of the Christmas project; thankful for the six salvation’s and that we were able to supply so many more gifts than we had anticipated. I noticed the blinking light on the phone indicating a voicemail. To answer or not to answer, that was the question of the moment. I pressed the button and my heart dropped as I heard the words of a very angry lady. I sat in my office chair stunned at the accusations of belittling her during a recent food appointment. What I had said and what she had heard were two very different things. After praying, I knew I had no choice but to call and try to explain.

The phone rang three times. My heart was pounding. Rita picked up the phone. I told her who I was and how very sorry I was that I had upset her. She said that I had asked her if she went to church anywhere and when she asked about the local church having a children’s ministry, I suggested a church closer to her house. From that, Rita concluded that I didn’t want her to go to church with me. I was able to share that I don’t attend that particular church and so I wasn’t trying to keep her out of my church but to find something closer to where she lived.  This would make it easier for her to get there. She quickly settled down and said that she sometimes lets her mind run away with her, especially since things have gotten so bad with the loss of her husband. She shared that her daughter is in rehab and she is trying to raise the grandchildren.

“Life is hard for me right now,” she explained.“I haven’t been with anyone since my husband, but when there isn’t any food at the end of the month and I have had offers, I am tempted. Sometimes, I am lonely too.”

The next question was as shocking to me as the voicemail. I will have to change a few words for this article, but she asked me if I knew what the Bible said about harlots. Totally unaware of where this was going, I wasn’t sure how to answer. Should I talk about the Ten Commandments or God’s forgiveness? So I shared both. I told Rita that God’s word was plain about adultery and premarital sex. Then I shared about the woman at the well and Rahab, the prostitute. She listened and then told me that she was considering prostitution. “I haven’t been with anyone since my husband, but when there isn’t any food at the end of the month and I have had offers, I am tempted. Sometimes, I am lonely, too.” I shared that God promises to provide for the needs of His children. Through tears, we prayed together.

After the holidays, I call Rita to check on her. She sounded so different and thanked me for calling to check on her. Even with the flu, she wanted to share with me about the song “Changed” by Rascal Flatts. “The first time I heard it I thought of what you told me.” Rita wanted me to find the song and the video that went with it to see what she was talking about. Here are a few of the words.

“I’m changed for the better
More smiles, less bitter
I’m even starting to forgive myself
I hit my knee, I’m here I stand
There I was, now here I am
Here I am, Here I am, Here I am
Yes I am
I’m changed for the better.
Thank God I’m changed.”

As soon as she gets over the flu, she says she wants to go to church with me. This is just the beginning of this story. Stay tuned for part two. In the meantime, pray for Rita and others like her.