“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27
When I pulled in the driveway of their home, I didn’t know what to expect. Like a good journalist, I had my list of interview questions, my professional face on, and the story outlined in my head. As God as our author, the one expectation I could count on was to be blown away by the story He would unfold before me—a story that He was in the midst of writing. Here I stood getting a glimpse into a story He was just beginning to author here on earth.
Meet the Park Family: a husband, wife and two beautiful daughters, and within minutes of meeting them, you know they are an extraordinary family.
The tape rewound 4 years before my eyes to 2008 and a meeting of their International House of Prayer small group. The Lord spoke to the Park family as well as others in their group about His command to care for the orphans and widows and how walk this out. Birthed from His leading, were couples who stepped out of their comfort zone and through the door of state licensure for foster-care and adoption. For many in the group, including the Parks the doors did not seem to open as they had hoped to accept a child into their home through this path. But as one door closed then another, the encouragement of his fellow brother, “Just keep walking until God closes a door,” maintained Mr. Park’s refrain.Read More»
One of my favorite things to do is drive. I like to feel the freedom, the wind in my hair and to see the city. But the sight of the men and women standing on the off ramps of our highways as I drive without direction around the city breaks my heart. I often wonder—who are you? Who did you begin as? What were you like as a baby? Did your life begin with unconditional love? Do you still have a family who loves you? Do you stand in these extreme Missouri temperatures trying to support a family somewhere? And maybe your mind continues down the same path mine travels and wonders about their safety. How does he or she stay safe? Maybe you think, “Are my children in the backseat safe while you wait at the stoplight?” What would you do to protect your adult child if he or she became homeless? Today when my eyes met those of our local homeless man, I thought of Jerusalem and the destruction it has undergone and the desolation its citizens have encountered since the beginning of time. In Old Testament time, the city saw many rulers attack it, destroy its homes thus making its citizens homeless or forced into exile. While their reason for homelessness may have been different than the Israelites, the immediate emotional turmoil would have been similar.
Because of where my husband and I live, meeting the gaze of individuals asking for help at an intersection near our home has been commonplace for many years; however, with our economic downturn in the US, I have seen the presence of the homeless adults more prominent in the outskirts of our city and in the more affluent neighborhoods, too. What can be done? What care can I offer? In December of 2011 the city of Kansas City, Missouri, Participated in the United States Conference of Mayors Hunger and Homelessness Survey (http://www.usmayors.org/pressreleases/uploads/2011-hhreport.pdf); taking 29 cities, compiling data to get a feel for best practices and needs for those in need in our cities across our beautiful nation. Kansas City has plans to help tenants and landlords create affordable housing over the next year, but what about now? What about while families are on the waiting lists and going through the paperwork to get accepted for such housing? According to data provided by Kansas City approximately twenty percent of the homeless needs in our city went unmet. Faces turned away, with no bed to sleep in, no program to help them get back on their feet, no friend to lend an ear to offer a word of encouragement that they have a life of purpose here, where they are now.Read More»
April 3rd will be a great night as we hear from our OJC Leaders, highlight Safe Families, Foster Families and Adoptive Families, as well as hearing stories and experiences from our OJC and Safe Families Volunteers, Family Coaches, etc.
We’ll also have a time of training at each of these events that you will NOT want to miss. We are lining up some amazing speakers to speak to us about Justice, Working with the Poor, Understanding Poverty, and many other both practical and theological topics that move our hearts closer to Jesus and encourage us in works of justice for the fatherless and the orphan.
When: April 3rd, 6pm – 8pm
Where: IHOPU Campus, Room 107,
12901 S. US Highway 71, Grandview, MO 64030
Who: Anyone interested in OJC or Safe Families KC, All OJC Volunteers/Staff, All Safe Families KC Host Families, Volunteers & Staff
How to RSVP: http://ojc_april_2012.eventbrite.com
Please RSVP so we can make sure we have enough space.
Youshare.org connects families with critical needs to people who can fulfill those needs. It’s an opportunity for people to share their resources and develop relationships that will lead to better lives.
You can be part of this adventure in sharing, whether you are an individual looking to improve lives through sharing or an organization that serves people with critical needs.
The idea for youshare.org began when we heard about a caring mom who simply needed two mattresses for her kids. Recently employed after a period of homelessness, she was trying to furnish her new apartment. Local social service agencies knew there must be extra mattresses out there somewhere — but found it difficult to hunt them down with their other responsibilities weighing on them as well. She eventually found the mattresses on her own, but it wasn’t easy.
Youshare.org was created to serve people in this very situation. It goes one step further than simply meeting immediate needs. Youshare.org helps foster personal relationships that will help families in crisis build a better life.
Visit youshare.org and sign-up today, fill out your profile and begin finding out how you can help people in need in your own community!
Tina came to us a couple of months ago not knowing what she was going to do. She was struggling, like many of the single mom’s we meet, and needed to check into the hospital for 2 weeks of inpatient and 2 weeks of outpatient.
She made the difficult decision to place her 5-year old son Ivan with Safe Families volunteers Wendy Bisset and Anthony and Tricia Henson. However, she knew it was the right decision, as she put’s it “I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done for me and my son. Because of you and Safe Families, I was able to get the help I needed and be at ease knowing that my son was well taken care of. I was so afraid that my son would be taken from me had someone found out everything that I was dealing with.”
Ivan stayed with the Henson family for about 30 days. During that time Tina called many times during each week to see how Ivan was doing. She was able to complete her stay at the hospital and was reunited with Ivan in January of 2012. Since then she has joined a single mom’s group in the Henson’s community.
She emailed me recently and said “It makes me sad to think of what would have happened to Ivan had it not been for you, Dianne, Wendy, The Hensons, and of course Safe Families. I thank God everyday for all of you!! You are all now a part of our family! What a blessing you and your organization are! I feel very fortunate and honored to know you!! You exude God’s love. Had it not been for Safe Families, I don’t know how my son and I would have made it! Thank you, Adam, so very much for who you are and for all that you do! I pray that God continue to bless you, your beautiful family, and Safe Families KC!”
This story is a great example of how Safe Families can turn lives around. This program is growing in the Kansas City Metro both in Missouri and Kansas, thanks in large part to the support of donors like you—and volunteers like the Hensons, who give so generously of their time and energy.
I hope you will help Safe Families start the year strong with a gift of $50, $100, $250 or even more. We will use it wisely to help children and families in crisis who count on us for support.
We can only do this as we move forward together, volunteers and partners sharing the love of God to the community around us. Join with us this year. Let our story be your story.
Director of Safe Families