In August of 2015, I was introduced to a family that would forever change my life – the Jameson family. The Jameson family is unlike any other family that I had ever met…primarily because it is a fictional family. Their impact on my life, however, is no less real because of that fact.
I first met this family at Lamplight Theatre in Kingsport, TN, when my oldest daughter Lily was chosen to play the youngest Jameson daughter named Sadie. The story was one of coming to faith, and the strength, innocence, and resilience that Sadie portrayed in the production was a source of inspiration for all our family – so much so, that we came back for more. The following year, ‘Sadie’ was joined by my son Sam (who played a teenage radio host as well as Peter from the New Testament) and my wife Cynthia (who was the matriarch of the family). It was pure joy to watch my family serve the Lord on stage through their acting talents, and the memories in my mind will resound with me forever. Those weren’t the only memories that would last, however. As we got involved with the ministry, we quickly came to discover what so many before us have learned – that Lamplight Theatre is a place where broken people come to find healing. People like me.
Every time I go to the Theatre, I am taken to Acts 2 and a text recently covered in a sermon at my church. “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe…and all those who had believed were together…praising God and having favor with all the people. And the LORD was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2: 42-47). I have found all this and more to be true at Lamplight…truly, it is no ordinary place. Not only do the productions minister to the audience in mighty ways, but the cast members themselves experience the lifesaving power of Christ as He works in their hearts through their service and dedication to prayer and each other. The plays are only a part of their mission, however. Through an outreach program targeting at-risk youth, Lamplight provides the love of Christ to children in the form of school supplies, Christmas gifts, meals, special camps and getaway opportunities, and – most importantly - attention. The cast of characters (pun intended!) whose lives have been changed is long, and it is a privilege to help such a Christ-focused ministry.
This is where you come in. You can share this privilege with me. Seven years ago, encouraged by long-time friend Greg Wellman and inspired by the story of Bradley Brock, a young man whose life was measured more by the quality than the number of his years, I began my Swim for Them journey. Over the years, I’ve had the honor of helping a number of worthwhile charities raise funds to aid those who need it most. This year, I ask that you join me in coming alongside Lamplight Theatre.
God is at work there. As they themselves will tell you, they don’t ‘need’ your money. God has always provided, and he always will…but they sure can ‘use’ your money if you feel called to come alongside them. Running on a shoestring budget, there are so many needs…so many, in fact, that the full-time staff will sometimes go without pay to simply make ends meet for the children. No matter how small or large the amount, God will take what you offer and multiply it far more than you can imagine. Won’t you consider giving?
From the bottom of my heart – I thank you.
In Christ - Greg