Caring for Single Moms in our Community

At six o’clock on a Friday night, most people around the metro are busy bustling home to feed families or get ready for their evening plans, but on September 21, 2012, more than 50 volunteers from OJC and Safe Families joined Mountain of Myrrh and descended on The Daniel Academy’s grounds in South Kansas City to bless Single Mothers and their families.

More than 80 moms attended the event, 60 of which were new to Mountain of Myrrh’s ministry altogether. Mothers were able to spend time being blessed and rejuvenated with haircuts, manicures and chair massages. The children played with bubbles, arts and crafts, and a bouncy house. Chick-fil-A’s Cow brought smiles to so many children and adults as did Sparky the Clown.

We heard mothers say, “I have not had a haircut in over two years!” And the children exclaim, “this is the best day of my life!” while running around sword fighting with her balloon sword. Others were blessed by the food offering at the event. Dinner was served to all who attended as well as a grocery bag of goodies sent home before the moms left. We were so blessed to reach out to so many families in the area.

Caring for the Modern Mother

Caring for the Modern Mother

God’s been stirring it my heart for several days, but how do I put it on my paper, how do I not offend? But if I write it out of love and a calling to love, can it be received by love? My desire is not to diminish those who have lost a spouse and the hurt that comes with that; however, what’s been stirring in my soul is that God is saying, “Why are you not caring for the widows?” Do you not see her? She is the one without the covering.

As a single woman in my twenties, living on my own, I was so thankful for the Godly pastor in my life and the husband/wife leader team of our college and career ministry. I had models of conflict resolution, how a husband serves as a spiritual covering for his wife and family that taught me what to look for in a future spouse, but also as a single woman, I had a spiritual covering for my life. God’s calling for his church to help the orphaned and widowed (James 1:27) is so much more than providing clothing, food and shelter. It goes to a spiritual playing field that we cannot see. That while we make “plays” on a spiritual plane via prayer and reading our Bible and through working for the Lord, we don’t interact in and see the results in a way that gives us necessarily immediate feedback or feedback that is felt in our natural, five senses.

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Kisses from God

“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.

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Homelessness in Kansas City

Homelessness in Kansas City

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.

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OJC / Safe Families KC All-Volunteer Gathering

OJC / Safe Families KC All-Volunteer Gathering

OJC is kicking off our first OJC / Safe Families KC All-Volunteer Gathering of 2012. This will serve as a great connect point for people interested in getting involved with OJC / Safe Families KC as well as be a regular connection point for new and current volunteers and staff.

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.

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