Connections: Pebbles Thompson
Helping Abused Children
Pebbles Thompson, 34, is founder of Project Night-Light, a ministry in Moorhead, Minn., that has given 3,500 victims of child abuse a sense of security and hope. Thompson, who is a credentialed Assemblies of God minister, is assisted by her husband, Darin, and their four preteen children. She recently visited with Pentecostal Evangel News Editor John W. Kennedy.
evangel: Explain what the Bag of Hope is.
THOMPSON: Children receive a bag containing a fleece-type blanket, pajamas, socks, underwear, shampoo, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a flashlight, a fruit snack, a water bottle and the book You Are Special by Max Lucado.
It meets their physical needs because kids removed from their homes don’t have those basic necessities. Emotionally these are simple items that kids really cling to. And spiritually, every item represents something Jesus can do for us, whether it’s being a light in dark places, being a comforter, or cleansing what we’ve been through.
evangel: How does this ministry fill a need that no one else has met?
THOMPSON: Surprisingly, a medical director said to us she never would have thought of it, yet it is exactly what is needed. These kids have been evaluated, but they are still emotionally broken while ushered into foster care.
When the person designed to take care of you tells you on a daily basis you are unlovable and unwanted, it’s hard to know you are worth something. We found just by meeting simple needs it says, “I’m valuable; somebody stopped to think about me on a very difficult day.” There wasn’t a ministry meeting these basic needs in such a complete way until we started four years ago.
evangel: How can churches get behind this ministry?
THOMPSON: We will train congregations anywhere. We want to cast the vision so churches help children in their communities. There is such healing for people who have been through abuse themselves but haven’t known how to help others.
evangel: You’ve found that Christian homes aren’t necessarily free from such strife.
THOMPSON: Nobody is immune from abuse. There are hurting people everywhere, whether they are on the streets or in the churches.
evangel: How did God call you into this ministry?
THOMPSON: We were youth pastors when God told me we would be involved in a ministry giving away children’s pajamas. God explained, When they are afraid, I will be their Light. It was a bit overwhelming when we saw the abuse statistics, but God perfectly laid out a road map before us.
evangel: What are your long-term goals?
THOMPSON: We have big dreams because we have a big God. We are working on a mobile packing center to give people a hands-on experience of how easy it is to help kids in their own communities. We want to have a chapter of Project Night-Light in a local church of each city where the 800 Children’s Advocacy Centers are located. We hope to purchase a closed school to be used as an office/warehouse and retreat center where foster children can spend time.
evangel: Why is ministry necessary, even if you are busy raising four children?
THOMPSON: I found such peace and joy in knowing how much God loves me. When you know this joy, you can’t help but share it with those who are hurting. I want others to know God sees them as valuable. Sometimes it’s simply to ask, “What can I do for the person next to me?” When we start focusing on ourselves less, we enjoy life so much more.
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