By Gerald Harris
MARIETTA – John Faulkner is an incredible example of the spirit of Christmas. He has been giving away gifts of love and grace to 272 of his neighbors and it is not all that easy for a man who is approaching his 84th birthday.
Faulkner, a former missionary with the International Mission Board and current member of Macland Baptist Church in Powder Springs, has never let his passion to touch lives with the love of Christ diminish. Last year and again this year he has carefully planned what he wanted to do to let his neighbors know about his desire to be a loving Christian witness.
Last year he secured at his own expense the book “The Christmas Code” by Dr. O. S. Hawkins, president of Guidestone Financial Resources, loaded them on the trailer attached to his John Deere tractor and proceeded to deliver the books to every neighbor in his Wynford Chase subdivision.
The book in itself is a treasure, because it traces the birth of Christ from its roots in the Old Testament to the ultimate gift of God – salvation. The book contains 25 insightful and meaningful devotions to help people keep their daily focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
Although Faulkner used his tractor to transport him around the neighborhood, he stopped at each home, got a book from the trailer and walked from the street to the door of each home to personally deliver each one to the residents in his subdivision. In addition to the book, Faulkner included the story of the Candy Cane and a Christmas card/letter to each neighbor.
In recalling his delivery system last Christmas, he explained, “It took three days to complete my visits and that required 19,000 steps.
“This year I delivered the same number of gifts, but I placed the gifts in the paper slot under the mailboxes. It was much easier; and it only took me two days to complete my deliveries.
“The gift my wife, Anne, and I selected this year was about the Promises of God. We also enclosed a letter with the promise to pray for them. My daughter, Lisa Gallion, suggested that we include some candy, because everyone likes candy. We did as she suggested.
“We have had some very positive feedback from the neighbors and never had the first complaint. Some of the neighbors have actually told us how much they appreciated the gifts and the thoughts behind each one.”
The Faulkners served as missionaries in Africa from 1970 to 2000. He started his work as a church planter, but later became an area director for the IMB and worked out of Nairobi, Kenya. As the area director, he was the overseer of 600 missionaries and a nine-million-dollar budget.
Upon returning to the United States, the Alabama native was given a reception by the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions orchestrated by Executive Director Dr. Rick Lance. Faulkner had hoped that he might be given the opportunity to become a supply preacher upon returning home, but those opportunities have not been very consistent, even though the church he pastored prior to his missionary service grew exponentially.
However, because John Faulkner’s desire to continue to be a good ambassador for Jesus Christ, he has found a variety of ways to serve his Lord and his ministry to his neighborhood at Christmas. He should be an example to us all.