Christmas is a special time for children of all ages, and for the past two decades the congregation of Lone Oak Wesleyan Church has been making the season brighter for children at a Georgia orphanage.

Members of the Lone Oak Wesleyan Church, 486 N. 500W, have been purchasing Christmas presents for children at the Hephzibah Children’s Home in Macon, Ga.

This year members of the church traveled to Macon to deliver presents to the 57 children at the orphanage. Church members were greeted by a round of applause and the children sang “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

The church started the Christmas tradition in 1985 when Carol Swan, now deceased, learned the children would not be receiving many presents.

Nondas Blair said Swan started the idea of delivering presents to the orphanage through the Wesleyan Women as part of the outreach program.

“They depend on Lone Oak,” Blair said. “It gives everyone at the church a good feeling.”

Pastor Jerry Snyder said administrators at the Hephzibah Children’s Home sends pictures of the children and what they want for Christmas every year.

He said church members then select a photo and purchase the gifts.

“There is one other church in Michigan that sends presents,” Snyder said. “No one could send the presents by themselves. The reason we are able to do this is because congregation members take one name.”

Snyder said Lone Oak Wesleyan Church also sends congregation members annually to the children’s home as work crews to help assist in the construction of the facility.

“It (Hephzibah) is run by the Wesleyan Church,” Snyder said. “The volunteers do all the work.”

He said church members also provided $250 worth of food to 20 local families at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Ron Jarrell, who made the trip to Georgia, said he first learned about Hepzibah when he volunteered to work at the home in 2002.

“We have always given a Christmas present,” he said. “It was great seeing how happy the kids were and to see the smiles on their faces.”

Church member Frances Vance said people just love to be able to buy presents for the children.

“The church takes a lot of joy to be able to do something for the kids,” she said. “Hephzibah is really a miracle the way it has grown. It just seems when something is needed, it is obtained through volunteers and donations.”

Recommended for you