Santa on a Harley

  When a dozen men roared down the street on their motorcycles, even the drug dealers jumped back in alarm. The bikers -- clad in black leather, long hair, and tattoos -- are used to this reaction. The drug dealers needn't have worried. The bikers had come to this tough New Orleans neighborhood to bring Angel Tree Christmas gifts to children. The bikers belong to a ministry called Redeemed Riders, the New Orleans chapter of the Christian Motorcyclist Association. Members travel all over the country, assisting at motorcycling events. They also witness their faith on one of the roughest mission fields imaginable. As Woody, one of the Redeemed Riders, explains, "We try to be nonjudgmental of their lifestyles, but we also try to show the proper way to live -- to be light in a dark world." The Redeemed Riders put on their own shows, as well -- in the nation's prisons. Inmates who won't get out of bed for religious events eagerly show up when the bikers bring their Harley Davidsons right into the prison. Woody and his friends talk about motorcycling. They then describe how some of their own members were once involved in drugs, alcohol, and crime -- and how Christ brought them out of it. Last Christmas the Redeemed Riders heard of Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree program, in which people buy Christmas gifts for the children of prisoners. Each biker selected the name of a child. Just before Christmas, they loaded up the presents and rode into the housing projects. This area was so dangerous that one man actually stopped them: "Do you know where you are?" he asked. "Yes," the bikers replied. "We're here to give Christmas presents to children whose fathers are in prison." The Redeemed Riders found the right apartment, and passed out the gifts. The kids were thrilled -- and even more excited when the bikers took pictures of them sitting on their motorcycles. And the bikers didn't leave until they had witnessed their faith to the families involved. Just then the neighbor who had warned the bikers came back. In his arms was the turkey his boss had given him for Christmas. "Here," he told the children's mother, "I think you need this more than I do." Prisoners' children are often the saddest victims of crime. And Angel Tree gifts remind them that their parents -- far away in prison -- still love them. And most important, through this program many come to Christ. It's one of the things we do here at Prison Fellowship that can really make a tremendous difference in our society. Just last week, according to USA Today, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that there are more than a million and a half kids in this country with parents in prison. That's up 60 percent over the past ten years. What a critical mission field -- because all the research shows that the children of prisoners are the most likely to become the next generation of criminals. Well, we've got to get to them first, and we need your help. This is the time of year when Angel Tree starts gearing up for Christmas. If you or your church can get involved, contact us here at BreakPoint--or go to their website at If you do, you'll get a blessing just like those bikers did, knowing that a kid gets a Christmas who wouldn't have had one otherwise.


Chuck Colson


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