A New Creation

Teddy Lopez was in jail -- pregnant, and high on drugs. Teddy's drug abuse had cost her everything: her freedom, her children, her self-respect. But Teddy was soon to meet Someone who had paid the highest possible price to free her from sin. Two years ago, Teddy was wandering through the Perryville (AZ) Correctional Institution's library. "Would you like to try a Bible study?" asked the librarian, who was a Christian. Teddy nodded. She was hungry for God -- hungry for something other than drugs to fill her life. Week after week, Teddy returned with her completed Bible studies. It was during a Bible study that Teddy learned about Angel Tree. Her heart skipped a beat. She had three little boys: Charles, who had been born a tiny, two- pound drug addict. Hector, born between his mother's jail sentences. Manuel, who lost his mother when Teddy was locked up a second time three months after his birth. Teddy's husband had returned to Mexico with the kids to wait out Teddy's sentence. But he'd promised to bring the boys back for Christmas. Teddy quickly filled out the Angel Tree form. But when she was released just before Christmas, she feared Angel Tree would not deliver the gifts. She had no job, no money, no way to buy presents. Suddenly, her phone rang. It was the local Angel Tree coordinator, calling to remind Teddy's husband -- still far away in Mexico -- about the upcoming gift- giving party. Teddy took a deep breath. "I am Teddy -- and I'm out of prison now. Can I still participate?" "Of course!" she was told. So, just before Christmas, Teddy attended the Calvary Community Church Angel Tree party. Nearly two hundred children swarmed around, eating hot dogs and laughing at the antics of a Christian magician. Calvary's pastor then spoke of the real reason for Christmas -- of love, forgiveness, and a tiny baby that saved the world. Suddenly, Teddy didn't feel so dirty anymore. She felt loved, accepted, welcomed. After the message, she followed a prayer counselor into a back room and gave her life to Jesus Christ. On Christmas Eve, Teddy's family returned. Her boys didn't remember her, but when they saw the presents under the tree, they too knew they were loved. They tore the wrappings from the packages -- overalls, jumpsuits, and Sesame Street toys. "Being there to help them open the gifts was one of the best moments of my life," Teddy says. "Angel Tree made us a family. It gave us something to get close with. It gave me back my sons." Teddy has been free for six months now. She has a good job, she attends Calvary Community Church every Sunday, and a family torn apart has been reconciled. This Christmas, Teddy plans to volunteer for Angel Tree herself. "I want these families to know they don't have to be ashamed -- because Christ can make them a new creation, too," she explains. This Christmas, we have the chance to help 700,000 prisoners' children. But we have to start now -- and we need your help, and we need your church involved. I hope you'll help us provide these kids with a Christmas gift and the Gospel message. It's a chance to love and welcome "the least of these" -- precious kids like Charles, Hector, and Manuel -- into the Kingdom of God. Contact information for Angel Tree is available on the Internet at


Chuck Colson


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