Gif t Bags of Love
by Shirleen Godfrey
I have been a missionary in the Bahamas with the Haitian people since 1965. The
Haitians are immigrants from the country of Haiti.
Many times GOD uses the things in our past to be used in later years. With five kids there
was never enough money to provide for many things and Christmas was one of them. We
always had food to eat and a mom and dad that loved us but money and many of the
necessities of life were very scarce.
When I was a little girl, my two sisters and two brothers and I attended a little church
called 9 th Avenue Baptist Church. At Christmas the church always gave out Treat Bags. In
them was fruit of every description, candy and nuts, pecans and walnuts. To us as little
children, it was the greatest thing in the world to line up for those bags and starting
in November we began talking about those bags. I remember even now the thrill and
excitement of those Christmas bags!
Looking into the faces of these precious little ones, I see myself as a poor little girl. So,
GOD laid it on my heart to give out TREAT BAGS. As I shop around, I am that little girl
again, buying things that even then we did not get in our Treat Bags. In the bags there are
marbles, balls, race cars for the boys, stuffed animals, coloring books and crayons for the
girls along with other items. Also, there are apples, oranges, cheese doodles, candy canes
and packs of cookies.
We don't have much money as missionaries and so I started writing letters to get help for
this project. As money comes in, I go shopping throughout the year for the Treat Bags.
One year, bags were given out and two little boys just
coming from Haiti were sitting at the table with their
bags. The other children were pulling their things
out all the time eating cheese doodles, bites of apples,
oranges or whatever. The boys just sat there. I called
Samuel over and said, “Samuel, what is wrong with those
boys?” “Mrs. Godfrey, they have never had a bag like
that given to them, they do not know it is theirs.” Tears
running down my face, I went to them, hugged them and
started pulling things out of their bags and giving it to
them. Bewilderment turned to smiles.
So, forty-two years later, I once again see myself as a
little girl standing in line at church waiting eagerly for my
CHRISTmas bag. I never forget the thrill of those days!
Along with my helpers we make up four hundred
and fifty bags. The main church, Calvary Haitian
Baptist Church, gets just over three hundred.
Solid Rock and Redemption, which were started
out of Calvary in outlying areas of Nassau, get
I pray always that GOD would use this as a means to let
these children know that I do dearly love them, but also
that JESUS loves them more and that He gave the most
precious gift HE HAD—HIS LIFE.