At least 150 at-risk children in the Lake Elsinore area of Southern California got a positive Christmas experience on Sunday, December 14, thanks to the efforts of FCA missionary pastor Mona Davies and her husband, Morris. Their Angel Tree Christmas Party drew support from all across this community (40 miles south of San Bernardino on Interstate 15).

Elks Lodge paid to rent a large entertainment center for the occasion. A free lunch was sponsored by the Rotary Club of which Mona is the current president. Dozens of individuals and businesses donated a wrapped present for each child based on size, gender and other information they had gleaned from Angel Tree tags at more than a dozen public places, from doctors’ offices to fitness clubs to senior apartment complexes. “In fact, there was a surplus of gifts,” Davies reports. “We are still giving them out to needy children in the Temecula, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore Valley.”

The children—prisoners’ kids, those in foster care, some whose families are truly homeless—were the center of attention from 11:30 a.m. until 2:00 in the afternoon. They got to do arts and crafts; some got their faces painted. Everyone watched a puppet show that presented the Christmas story from the Bible, with a clear gospel opportunity at the end. They laughed and ate and opened their presents, while adult volunteers from all walks of life attended to their every need. A city councilwoman pitched in to help, as well as police officers and local teachers.

“We call our work Community Outreach Ministry,” says Davies, “because we seek to demonstrate the love of God by expressing our faith in action. Statistics tell us that the children of prisoners are 66 percent more likely to become the next generation of inmates. We want to keep that from happening.”

Other efforts of the ministry <a href=”” target=”_blank”></a> include year-round mentoring for youth as well as sponsoring teens to attend FCA summer camps. The Christmas event this year attracted advance media coverage, including a spot on “CNN Headline News” that ran repeatedly for two days throughout the Southern California market.

“We believe this kind of work is significant,” says Mona Davies, “because it lets the children of prisoners and other at-risk kids know they are not alone or forgotten. Jesus cares about them, and so do His people.”

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