Christmas Gifts of Hope

By Robyn Wilson, Reporting Courtesy of Belen Bocayes, Philippines Field Content Specialist and John Williford, Director of Happy Horizons Ranch   |  Note: The child’s name in this story has been changed to protect her identity.

How much does your Christmas gift mean to your sponsored child? More than you could ever imagine!

Kids in OneChild’s program count down the days until Christmas. Growing up in poverty can often feel hopeless. But Christmas is a season of joy for kids at Hope Centers across the globe.

Because of your generous donations to OneChild’s Christmas Gift Fund, Child Champions are able to host incredible Christmas celebrations where kids can play, build friendships, enjoy treats, and learn about the true meaning of Christmas. At these special celebrations, excitement, wonder, and hope fill the air.

Christmas is also the one time of the year that kids in OneChild’s program, who live in severe poverty, can count on receiving a gift. For many kids living in hard places, this is the only gift they receive all year. And for that, they are truly thankful. The gifts, which OneChild sponsors make possible, are not taken for granted — they are treasured.

 

Christmas presents mean even more to kids because they are from their sponsors, who care about them, pray for them, and believe in them!

 

Child Champions, who know and love each child personally, find out what each child needs and wants most. And in many Hope Centers around the world, kids are asked to make Christmas lists with their top wishes.

Some kids hope for much-needed clothes or shoes. Others ask for new toys, soccer balls, or books. But for Gracie, a teenager in the Philippines, only one gift could make her dreams come true: a guitar. We hope you are inspired by her powerful story …

 


Gracie’s Journey of Hope and Healing

When Gracie was 8 years old, she experienced horrific sexual abuse that left hopelessness in her heart. She endured trauma that no child should face. Her childhood, self-confidence, and dreams were shattered. Sadly, the sex trade in the Philippines is equal to modern day slavery. Tens of thousands of Filipino children continue to suffer as the sex trade grows each year.

Praise God that in 2012, Gracie was rescued from the abuse and given a new beginning. The courageous Child Champions who rescued Grace helped her move to Happy Horizons Ranch, a partner of OneChild, which is a safe haven for girls who have been abused or exploited.

When Gracie arrived at Happy Horizons Ranch, she felt ashamed, depressed, and alone. But Child Champions at Happy Horizons Ranch welcomed Gracie with open arms and shared God’s everlasting love. They taught Gracie that God sees her, knows her, and cares about her more than she could ever imagine.

At the rescue home, Gracie was also given physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual support. Each day, she received the tools she needed to overcome and thrive — everything from nourishing food to an education to counseling.

And because the Child Champions understood how much hope music can bring, they also encouraged Gracie to sing and play musical instruments. They taught Gracie that music can bring comfort to us when we are brokenhearted, fill us with joy, motivate us, and spark creativity.

Gracie quickly realized that music fascinated her. Whenever she played instruments and sang worship songs to God, she felt a sense of healing, hope, and freedom. She even found the courage to dream again.

Later that year, when the holiday season arrived, all the girls were asked to make lists of their top three Christmas wishes. At Happy Horizons Ranch, Christmas is one of the most anticipated times of the year. The girls can’t wait to celebrate Christmas at a special gathering with their friends and receive special gifts. The presents they receive mean the world since most of their families can’t afford gifts. The girls often ask for jeans, shoes, or backpacks.

But Gracie only had one wish. She desperately wanted a guitar.

On Christmas morning, Gracie couldn’t believe her eyes! When she unwrapped her present, she discovered a brand-new guitar. Child Champions at the ranch had made her Christmas wish come true!

Gracie quickly learned how to play her guitar and became an outstanding musician. Today, Gracie doesn’t let a day go by where she doesn’t play her beloved musical instrument. She even leads the worship songs during Sunday church services with several other girls at the ranch.

And because Gracie understands God’s unconditional love, she is no longer filled with shame. Today, she realizes that she is a valuable daughter of the King and a new creation! God has miraculously given Gracie beauty instead of ashes and turned her mourning into joy (Isaiah 61:3). Her confidence, as a musician and child of God, is soaring.

 

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion —
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.”
—Isaiah 61:1-3

 

 

Gracie’s Christmas gift was much more than a present. The guitar she received helped her discover restoration, healing, and hope for the future. Gracie’s transformation was also due to the caring Child Champions, who pointed her to God, and the generous sponsors and donors who make OneChild’s programs possible around the world.

John Williford, Director of Happy Horizons Ranch, has a message of gratitude for all OneChild sponsors and donors. “Your generosity is changing the lives of children in desperate situations,” he says. “Thank you! Your gifts are providing daily care, love, education, safety, and healing.” He also thanks you for sharing God’s love with kids in hard places this Christmas season.

It’s also inspiring that Gracie is now teaching the younger girls at the ranch how to play the guitar and praise God through music. The Christmas gift she received is not only bringing Gracie hope. It’s also bringing hope to future generations! Gracie’s story and the stories of many other girls at the rescue home have been forever changed.


 

Send a Christmas Gift of Hope!

You can help ensure that all kids in OneChild’s program receive special Christmas presents this year. Please send a Christmas donation today! Your gift will remind children of God’s love and bring incredible hope. We can’t thank you enough for opening your heart this Christmas season — and throughout the year!

Send a Christmas Donation Today

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We are accountable to the children we serve AND to our donors.

Our accountability to our donors is one of our highest priorities. Our goal is to use the funds entrusted to us as wise stewards. To do this requires continued monitoring of our fund distribution. OneChild is also a member in good standing with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)