"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.
The Good Samaritan Training Center handed out 315 tickets to our Thanksgiving event!
Rick Flores enjoyed sharing his testimony on his new life!
Lachelle Block delivers her life-changing testimony!
Bobby Britt preaches, "Who is the King of Glory?"
For some people, prayer lasted a long time at the altar.
Operation Dreamkeeper event closes with around 700 children raising their new gifts high before opening them.
McGruff the Crime Dog, is the children’s favorite at the Dreamkeeper program.
Operation Dreamkeeper has bike drawings at its event. In the background Christian Life Center's Acts 29 sings Christmas music.
Every year the Operation Dreamkeeper programs entertainment closes with a Nativity scene depicting the birth of Christ-the true meaning of Christmas.
"Operation Dreamkeeper" Past Success Stories
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 cam