This year's Mercy Patient Christmas Party was hosted by the Dixie Dumplings Women's Group, led by Elaine Arnold and Peggy Hart, as well as the Ladies' Ministry of Cedar Crossing Baptist Church, led by Jean Peterson. We were AMAZED at the hard work these ladies and the church put into this event!
It was a cold and rainy night, Thursday, December 7th, but upon arrival at the church, the first thing that caught everyone's eyes were the individually decorated dinner tables, each adorned with their own Christmas theme! The care in which these ladies took to make this event special for our patients warmed the hearts of everyone.
To watch a video slideshow of the decorated tables, click here.
Next, the guests were given a ticket to be drawn for gifts to be awarded later in the evening. Cedar Crossing Baptist had 100+ gifts to give to our patients, and it worked out perfectly because we had 102 patients attend (including some of their children), so each person was able to go home with a gift! We were sad that the tables were set for 300 patients and only 100 were able to come, due to the weather, but hopefully next year they'll all be able to make it to the party!
The patients were served by no less than 30-40 church members who were all dressed
in white shirts. The ladies wore red scarves and the men wore bowties. They truly made the event feel festive! The meal began with salad, and the entree included pork tenderloin, fried chicken, butter beans, macaroni and cheese, dressing and a roll. Perhaps the best part of this delicicous meal was the dessert cart, which had at least 8-10 festive varieties of cakes and pies!
As coffee was served, Cedar Crossing Baptist members put on a variety talent show. Louise Anderson, longtime volunteer of The Mercy Ministries (TMM), was introduced by Elaine Arnold, and hosted the event as clowns, singers, instrumentalists, and even the Soggy Bottom Boys (pictured below) filled the night with laughter and awe.
It was very evident that Arnold, Hart, and Peterson, backed by a loving and caring church, truly love Mercy patients and have a heart to serve those around them.
Carly Benton, Executive Director of TMM spoke at the beginning of the program, thanking the Dixie Dumplings and the Cedar Crossing's Ladies Ministry for all of their hard work, but also reminding patients how loved they are this holiday season!
Finally, before gifts were handed out, Clint Hutcheson, Pastor of TMM and Director of Mercy University, shared a word that inspired not one, not two, but NINE patients to give their hearts to Jesus!
Hutcheson shared how we as parents are so very excited to give our children gifts, but "what if they simply received the gift from us, but never opened it?" A lot of times we don't realize God sent us His son as a gift to us, but when we don't accept Jesus into our hearts and take the time to get to know Him, it's like we're holding a gift box in our lap ... just holding it, but not unwrapping the GREATEST GIFT we've ever been given!
Cedar Crossing Baptist Church Pastor, Brother Reece Mincey, opened up the alter for patients to come forward following Hutcheson's inspiring message, and the men, along with some Mercy staff members, had the honor of praying with patients as they dedicated their hearts to Christ.
Seeing those patients respond to Jesus' love for them was the BEST Christmas present we here at TMM could've received this year! It's why we do what we do!
Oh, Holy Night was sang beautifully during the variety show ... and, yes, what a holy night it was!
A heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who made this night possible!
Enjoy more photos of the event: