The person who nominated the family was contacted, and plans were made to take the grand prize to the family. That week I went around town buying gift cards and picking up gifts. The following Monday night I set my alarm for an early morning and made sure my GPS was ready to go. I had never been to this part of Oklahoma by myself and this was not the time to get lost.
With my car loaded with groceries and gifts, I met their teacher at a local gas station. It was decided a few days before that we would meet and she should ride with me. As we drove through the back roads of a small Oklahoma town, she told me a little more about the family, and how they had met. I will let you know the whole time we were driving to their house, I was really excited and nervous. I wanted to give them all of the goodies that we had brought them, but I was so nervous to make sure that I said the "right" things. I didn't want to come across as the surprise stranger who just smiled creepily.
Once we arrived, I was met by smiling faces and hand shakes. I was immediately touched by the lovely comfort of this home. This family had lost their home earlier to a fire and have slowly rebuilt their current home...by hand...themselves...three of them...together! They had a few Christmas decorations up and I was struck by the beauty of their tree. The bright, colorful decorations were truly a reflection of the atmosphere I felt as I walked into their home. I knew by the looks on their faces very early in the visit that they had no idea why I was there. I felt all eyes on me waiting to let the news out.
As I began to tell them who I was and why I was there, I saw eyes of shock. They really had no idea. I quickly went to the car to grab their sacks of food. I was followed by the teacher and the girls. After we had all of the sacks inside, I was anxious to give the gifts to the girls.
After I gave the family their prizes, we talked with them for a little while. I could see that they had a home built on love. I was humbled and touched. The grandpa was not in the best health, but his eyes shined as he talked to us about his girls. The oldest was a little shy and I could see she had a beautiful smile when she laughed. The little one was full of spunk and will be one to contend with someday. I was AMAZED by how far they had come since the fire. I was truly impressed at the work they had completed. I was touched to hear their story. They are a family that came together from grief, hard ache, and pain. Yet the picture I saw before me was one of love, new beginnings, and restoration. Some may say that they do not have much, but I was honored to meet a family who was truly rich. It reminded me of the scripture,
"I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. "
As I prepared to leave the family told me, "thank you" one last time. My response to them was that it was truly my honor. I meant it. Not because I felt as if we had done something great for them. The best part of my job is moments like this encounter. Meeting people who make me stop and look at the world from a new angle. The longer I work for The Precious Child Foundation the more that I change the way I use the word blessed. I am beginning to understand that my blessing are not when things go right, or the possessions that we may own. Being truly blessed is the strength from within to stand with honor, happiness, and integrity when things go wrong. It is when a light can shine from one person to another in the middle of hard times. So with that being said, I was truly blessed by someone today through my encounter, and I think in the end, I was the true grand prize winner.
The Precious Child Foundation provided this family with over $700 worth of food and gifts.
No names or picture were given to protect the privacy of this special family.