Breaking Down the Family Business

  We call children like Carlos and Miguel "at risk" kids. Why? Because their dad is incarcerated, and their mom is an alcoholic. Carlos and Miguel may look like any other thirteen- and eleven-year-olds. But they're way back behind "enemy lines." Kids want to be just like their parents, and in this case, if they do, Carlos and Miguel risk falling into traps of crime and substance abuse. After all, this has been their only parental model. And so, this would have been their future -- if it were not for a very special "angel intervention." That intervention came through a Prison Fellowship volunteer, Clovis Turner, and through Angel Tree Camping. Through Angel Tree Camping, local churches agree to sponsor prisoners' children at summer camp. Prison Fellowship supports the churches with Richard and Helen DeVos scholarships and also needed materials and training. With Clovis's help, Carlos and Miguel were able to go to summer camp at Moose River Outpost in Maine. There, they received love and attention unlike anything they had experienced before in their young lives. They spoke with kind adults without fear of verbal abuse. They took in nature's wonders, and they learned about God's creation in the beauty of their natural surroundings. And they had lots of fun. More than that, Carlos and Miguel met Jesus Christ at the Angel Tree Camp. Both boys asked the Lord into their hearts. They were no longer behind "enemy lines," but now safe in the Kingdom. Back at home, both children began attending Sunday School and church every week. Their grades at school have improved drastically. And a life of crime holds little temptation for them anymore. Recently, Carlos and Miguel's mother and grandmother have started going to church with them. Clovis Turner hopes that they too will experience the change and freedom that Jesus Christ brings. Carlos and Miguel are just two boys out of many children today, thousands, who are "at risk" for a lifetime of substance abuse and incarceration. These "at risk" kids learn about a life of crime from their parents. Many of them -- 80 percent, according to some studies -- will grow up and step into the "family's business" of crime and end up dead or in prison. You can give these "at risk" children hope and help break the costly and deadly cycle of crime and substance abuse. Kids who experience Angel Tree Camping come back home changed. They have new hope that life can be different. Through your prayers and support, we are literally pulling these "at risk" kids from behind enemy lines. Last year more than four thousand children of prisoners attended a weeklong Christian summer camp. This year, we want to send more than ten thousand prisoners' kids! But we need your help. We need your donation to help make camp possible for these waiting children. Last week Carlos told Clovis that he wants to become a lawyer. Miguel said he wants to become "somebody great." Because of "angel intervention," both boys are now in a position to achieve and realize their new dreams. For more information: Go to Angel Tree's website to help send a prisoner's child to Angel Tree Camp.


Chuck Colson


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