Teddy Bears in Juvenile Hall?

Members of the Athol (Idaho) Church handed out almost 100 teddy bears to residents of the Martin Hall Juvenile Detention Facility in Medical Lake, Wash., last Christmas.

Here's how it came about: Janet Gage, an Athol (Idaho) Church member, received a Christmas bonus from her employer. Janet could have spent that money to pay bills, buy Christmas gifts for her family, or to put gas in her car. However, she was prompted by the Holy Spirit to purchase the teddy bears and contact George Melikian, executive director of the detention facility, to offer them to the residents there.

The bears were given to 35 to 40 residents ranging in age from 11 to 18 years old. On each bear's ear, a fact card "How to Accept Jesus as Your Personal Savior" was attached. The residents received the bears with eagerness, saying things like: "Can I have a red bear?"

"Can I have two bears, so I will have a Christmas gift for my mom and little sister?"

"Can I have a pink bear for my girlfriend?" another resident asked.

The Athol group also presented a Christmas program, including a personal testimony from member Chad Morse. I believe that Jesus was present during the singing, scripture readings, prayer and testimony.

Jesus walked through those hallways with us as we placed those bears in each cell...sharing His love.