Past "operation Dreamkeepers"
Dreams Do Come True
by David Cloxton
This year’s annual Christmas program, "Operation Dreamkeeper," was a great success. In fact, after having a discussion with other Good Samaritan Training Center Board Members while at the event, we all agreed this was the greatest Dreamkeeper we have ever experienced.
Our Secretary and Treasurer, Loretta Cloxton, helped sign up around 950 children through the Community Centers which are located in the poor areas of our city. Through her efforts, over 700 children attended, along with their parents. Also, this year’s event was fully staffed with over 100 volunteers. The United States Military was represented by three Marines that attended in their blue uniforms. Building # 2 at the San Joaquin County, was close to being full.
The week of the program, our Director, Brenda Hoag, helped set up the event by constructing tunnels with star lights inside in which the children entered in. The Star of Bethlehem, that reflected the birth of Christ, was above the stage so the children could see as they left the tunnels to be seated. She also helped to decorate the stage with a Nativity/Manger, along with other things on the day of the event just before the doors were opened. The set up looked outstanding!
Brent Randall, from KYCC’s Kids and Company, hosted our event. The entertainment included music from Christian Life Center’s Youth Ministry, along with the drama team from CLC Bible College. Marlene Young directed the puppet skit with homemade puppets that she made prior to the event. Brent interacted with the children, keeping their attention and randomly gave away 10 bicycles and 2 razor boards. It was very exciting.
As the event was closing, the Nativity came alive by celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. At that time, Brent asked the children to raise their gifts in the air to show the audience. Then his famous words were spoken, “Children you may open your gifts!” The building was filled with anticipation as the kids began to open their brand new toys!
The mission of this event was deemed a success by all! Our families felt cared for and sensed the love of God. You could see the sense of wonder on the parents' faces as they lined up to take pictures with their children enjoying the event. I feel they must have been amazed that people would go through all this trouble to put this program on, as well as wondering about the God that put the passion in their hearts to do so.
This was a true celebration and birthday party for the One who deserves all the Glory, Jesus Christ!
The Blessed Power of Prayer
by Sister Addie
I always reassure people who say, “Yes!” to prayer - that it is an act of Faith! God’s Word says that if we have faith even as small as a mustard seed, we can move mountains out of the way (Mt. 17:20). The mountain is a symbol of a large burden that is in the way of our life and it is a problem. Jesus encourages us to have faith even as small as a mustard seed and get good results. Here are a few testimonies from the Dreamkeeper Prayer Tent, dubbed “The pool of Bethesda:”
1) A lady asked for prayer for her life issues. As Sis. Carla prayed for her, she suddenly began to feel pain in her back so she asked the lady if she has back pain and the lady said yes! Sis. Carla commanded the pain to go, in the Name of Jesus, and she was healed! The pain was completely gone! Yay Jesus!
2) A grandma asked for prayer for deliverance of fear and anxiety, because she knows Jesus and she knew that she should not have fear! So we prayed and she got free!
3) Two sisters came into the “Pool of Bethesda,” and one of them said she needed to confess her sins. When she did, we prayed and led her in the sinner’s prayer. She broke into healing tears! And her sister got a healing in her back!
4) Many people were touched by God’s presence in the prayer tent. When people cry, God is present and loving them to tears of joy!
We give God all the glory for His lovingkindness to everyone we prayed for!
No Income Needed
by Robert & Valerie
The last several months have been hard for my family. Six months ago, I got laid-off from my job at Trader Joe’s warehouse. I was a fork-lift driver there. Since then I’ve had no income. I tried to look for work but so far I’ve had no luck anywhere. My fiancé has been on Disability for depression and an anxiety disorder. Raising two children on her lone income, our money does not stretch.
My mother told us that the Samaritan Center could help us with some of our needs. We came in for food and our interviewer gave me a job referral. Also we were offered that our children could sign up for the Operation Dreamkeeper Christmas program, so we did. Finally, we were offered prayer that we accepted. We asked God that I could get a job and for better health for my fiancé. The prayer made both of us cry and we both felt better. As we left we realized that money doesn’t buy everything. All the help that we got we were really grateful and no income was needed.
A Christmas from God
by Margaret Tisdale
I have a family of 5, including three children. In May of this year, I got laid off from my job. They said that they would call me back to work but they never did. I have not yet found another job anywhere else. My husband Otis is disabled with a mental impairment, and our daughter Joliyah is Autistic. Money is tight right now and it affects all of us. We were wondering if we would even have a Christmas this year.
We heard about a Christmas program and that sign-ups were being accepted at the Good Samaritan Center. I went and signed my children up. I go to church, and as a Christian I feel that this was a blessing and my family is very thankful. Without this program and our faith in God, Christmas would have never came for us.
A Struggle that Never Came
by Michelle Harris
I am disabled and been told that I am a slow learner. Also, I have severe asthma and especially in the cold weather I have a hard time breathing. Right now my income is $845 a month, plus I get some food stamps. My rent is $750 which leaves me $95 a month. Every month I go broke very quickly and we struggle for the rest of the month. I was not planning on having a Christmas again this year for my three children, Elijah, Jeremiah and Lili. In the past when me and my family were living in a shelter, there was no Christmas, and besides, by the 25th of each month I am always broke. A friend told me about the Good Samaritan Operation Dreamkeeper Christmas program and I went down and signed up. We didn’t expect what we received - a big Christmas party and all three of my children getting brand new gifts along with stuffed goodie bags. This year my family was able to celebrate Christmas and be thankful for some struggles that never came.
A Christmas Tree with no Gifts
Right now, I’m enrolled at Delta College in an accounting class. My husband has a part-time job at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds and that does not pay the bills. We recycle cans and bottles and it helps pay our bills. We have a Christmas tree at home with no gift under it, and we have a 7-year-old boy named Quintin. This year the only thing that is going to change that is the Operation Dreamkeeper program. I am thankful for their program that will bring a Christmas party and a gift to my son. Yay! He will have a gift under the tree. Thanks, Good Samaritan.
by Angeline Natera
I am a single mother of 6 and at the age of 34 I am still raising my children. My income is Welfare and it barely pays my bills. At Christmastime usually there is no gifts for my children because I am broke. My boyfriend Salvador which was the father of 1 of my children died suddenly of a brain aneurysm which also made things hard. The father of my other kids is not in our lives either. Without a father in my children’s lives it is very hard for me. These things are all bad memories. It means a lot to me that 3 of my children will be invited to the Dreamkeeper Christmas party and get a gift and maybe win a new bike. I am hoping that this party will help take away all of our problems for a while and bring good memories at Christmastime.
Keeping Christmas Dreams Alive
by Lisa Minnieweather
I am a single mom raising 4 children. My twins are 6 years-old-a boy named Arron and a girl named Rebecca. I also have a 8 year-old girl named Lisa and a 10 year-old girl Aroney. I am also disabled because I was in a very bad car accident and my leg got crushed. I receive $860 monthly from SSI and $547 from Welfare. Between my $750 rent payment and the rest of all my bills they total around $1,200 a month. That leaves me around $183 a month to live on and that’s really hard.
I just got out of the hospital again December 6 with more health problems after being admitted for 2 days. I heard about the Good Samaritan Christmas program for children so I came to the ministry to pick-up 4 tickets for all of my kids. I’m really struggling right now raising my 4 kids and Dreamkeeper will be giving to us a real Christmas celebration. We were told the hour-long Christmas party will have live Christmas music, 75 bike giveaways, a Nativity scene that shows the reason of Christmas which is the birth of Jesus. Without a program like this for me there would be little to celebrate. Thank-you Dreamkeeper for keeping the dreams of my kids alive at Christmas time.
Christmas Without a Home
by Yian Suephanh
I am a single parent raising my children, my girl Alissa is 8 and my other girl Juliette is 5. I was in an unstable relationship for many years with my ex-boyfriend. He’s the father of my two children. We would party a lot which included drugs and alcohol. We fought a lot. We were together for about 6 years and toward the end of my relationship with him he was physically and emotionally abusing me. I had to leave. I reached out to some friends and they told me about the women’s shelter program at the Gospel Rescue Mission. They help out single mothers with children that have been living in an abusive relationship. They offered us a safe place to stay and I accepted. I’ve been there for almost a year and things are getting better.
Through CalWORKs I’m receiving job training and for the last 4 months I’ve been volunteering at the Good Samaritan 2nd Chance Thrift store. This December I have been clean & sober for 20 months. I saw the Dreamkeeper poster in the thrift store with my daughter Alissa and she wanted to be signed up to go. I talked to a Good Samaritan staff and I received my tickets. My two girls are happy and excited that they can go to the Dreamkeeper Christmas party and receive gifts. With living in a shelter, it is hard to have a family Christmas and without the Dreamkeeper Christmas program we wouldn’t have Christmas at all. I feel blessed to be invited to a program like this at the time of our need and like to thank the Good Samaritan for supporting my family over the Christmas season.
Thankful that God Provides
by Laree Rodriguez
My name is Laree and I have been using drugs daily for 15 years. I asked God to help me stop and he did. I am living in a sober living home called Lily Pad living and am now 3 months clean. I have 3 of my children living with me so it makes my rent higher- $700 because they include the kids. My welfare is $807 a month so there is no way to be able to get any Christmas gifts this year for my kids. Also, the rule at the house is we are not able to buy gifts for our children because the other children may get jealous.
I have no family. One of my children’s dad is in prison and the other dad is deceased. My father committed suicide and my mom died of breast cancer. I am so grateful that the Good Samaritan has this program so at least my son can have a Christmas celebration and a gift because my other children are too young. I really like the fact they will teaching about the birth of Jesus-the real meaning of Christmas. Operation Dreamkeeper is another step in the right direction for my kids now that I am sober. I am so thankful to the Good Samaritan.
Season of Kindness
by Jane Pratt
The Good Samaritan Center and Dream Keepers are a vehicle who actively meet the basic needs of many members of our Stockton community. I'm Sister Jane, a retired single person who experienced their work first hand. Let me share how they met the needs of a very special family, and helped made me" Sister Grandma." In May 2019, I was loading some groceries in my truck and one of the food banks when, I saw a mother and three little children happily coming from the community lunch program. As they passed by the oldest of the kids (7) said to me I like your dress. I replied thank you; I like your hair, then the tiny girl (4) said I like your truck. I laughed and said well I like your big blue eyes... The Mom turned around and gave a huge bright smile. I said to them" kindness is contagious!". I watched them as they walked under a bridge thinking they were going to go to their car. Instead I saw them walk into a temporary homeless camp of tents under the bridge. I didn't know what to think? I had some toys and kids’ clothes and a new bottle of dawn dish soap that I had bought for my family and grandkids. I put them in a box along with a simple Bible study booklet and some cards/tracts from my church.
I went under the bridge and asked the mom if her kids could have the toys. She took the box and took out the house hold items. She gave the kids the box. They were excited to get the toys. Then the little girl 7 yelled” Mommy... That's our church... That's where you got baptized.” She then explained, about seven months before she was in a shelter and a CLC church bus picked them up along with the other shelter residents and took them to church. That night the mom said she got baptized there. I thought to myself... That's a homeless sister in Christ and her family. We prayed right there and it began our friendship.
Over the next few months Good Samaritan Center provided food and clothing to them. Then they were signed up for Operation Dreamkeepers, where they got toys for Christmas and one child won a bicycle. It helped me so much to be able to help them to have a blessed Christmas. They are now truly the family of God. And I'm their Sister Grandma. Thank you, Operation Dreamkeepers, Good Samaritan Center, Brother and Sister Cloxton. God bless your ministry to the Stockton community.
"giving Thanks for thanksgiving"
Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving is an annual program which provides 300 or more turkey baskets to those in need in our community. The baskets include potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, fruit and of course, turkey. This one-hour Holiday program includes non alcoholic beverages, chips and snacks. Live worship music and a message of hope is offered, with always an opportunity to come to the altar for God’s healing and restoration.
This year's "Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving" event, was held Monday, November 25, of Thanksgiving week, 2019. The Good Samaritan Training Center distributed 315 tickets to poor and needy families that came through our Center for this year’s program. We had 302 turkeys donated this year, 250 were from KYCC, "Your Christian Companion," 90.1 FM Radio Station, here in Stockton. Another 52 were donated from the 2nd Harvest Food Bank - Feeding America. Along with the turkey, the baskets included stuffing, veggies, canned fruit and a 5-pound bag of potatoes.
As the people entered building #3 of the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds, they were offered cold drinks and snacks before they were seated. The one-hour program included traditional Christian hymns sung by Dan Golightly and Lachelle Block. We had two testimonials: one by Lachelle Block and the other by Good Samaritan Board Member, Rick Flores. They both shared how God can change an extremely dysfunctional lifestyle through repentance, God’s mercy and grace. Along with their powerful testimonies, they shared how God changed their lives. David Cloxton who MC’ed the event, proclaimed “Who is next?“ to the crowd. He also stated that because Jesus is here, miracles can happen.
Board member Bobby Britt, closed with a message asking the crowd “Who is the King of Glory?” He proclaimed God’s power through faith in Jesus Christ. He also gave an opportunity to those who were struggling in their lives to come to the altar for prayer. The altar was full of needy people, not just for the turkey baskets being given out, but needing to be accepted and delivered from their own dysfunctional lifestyles, that have kept them from being productive people in society. The building could be heard with uncontrolled emotions in the presence of God.
The greatest reward of this year’s "Thanks for Thanksgiving" program, wasn’t the stuffed turkey baskets, but the lives that God was changing.