As a young girl growing up with an alcoholic father, I often wished that I had siblings to share the ups and downs of my childhood journey. Although I never had a brother or sister to share these difficulties, I learned that even though I felt alone, I always had my Heavenly Father beside me to face each day.
As I watched my family break apart through divorce, my mom did the one thing that she knew would bring me stability. She brought me to church and surrounded me with families that loved God and welcomed me. The songs that I sang at church each week reminded me that God was good when things I was facing at home were not. Friendly smiles and candy from “church grandmas” reminded me that life could be sweet again despite the uncertainties with my parents. Encouraging teachers at Sunday school taught me about the resurrection, reminding me that God the Father always has a big picture in mind, just like He did when things looked bleak in His own son’s life on the cross.
Like many children from broken homes, I found myself on a journey that I didn’t personally choose, facing circumstances that I could not change due to decisions made by the adults in my life. Thankfully, my little heart was filled with hope that God remembered me in the times I felt forgotten, through the prayer and loving actions of the Body of Christ in my life.
Today in the state of Minnesota, there are around 10,000 children on a journey that they did not expect, cannot change and would not desire to be on. These children are either in foster care waiting for their biological parents to become more stable so that they can provide care for them or are waiting for an adoptive family to step up and become their “forever family.” Starting the journey into the foster care system is always unexpected and often leaves the child feeling alone and unloved.
While most of us pack for a trip in a duffel bag, backpack or suitcase, these children often begin their journey into foster care by throwing their belongings into a trash bag as they are quickly rushed out of everything familiar. For children that begin their journey due to their parent’s drug abuse, they are often required to dispose of all their clothing and toys because of the drug residue, which leaves them without a single belonging that brings familiarity or comfort.
Hearing about these difficult situations may leave us with questions like, “How can hope be found in such dark places? What role can we as the Body of Christ have in showing the Father’s love to these forgotten ones?”
As always, looking to Scripture gives us the answers we need. We see in Psalms 68:6 that “God in His holy dwelling is a father of the fatherless and a champion of widows. God provides homes for those who are deserted.” This passage helps us remember that God cares for those that are forgotten and is a reminder that we too are called to remember them.
We acknowledge that our own sin had separated us from God, yet in His rich love and kindness He adopted us into His family. In Ephesians 2:4 we see that, “God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace we have been saved-and raised up with him.” As children of our loving Heavenly Father, we have experienced the tenderness of His sacrificial love and the hope that the Gospel brings to our current situation as well as for all of eternity.
The Scriptures are clear that God the Father cares for each child in Minnesota that is facing an unknown journey. As the Body of Christ, we have an opportunity to show these forgotten ones that the Lord himself remembers them and that there is hope! What better way for children to start their journey into foster care than by taking the first steps with a loving and God-fearing family, that delights in caring for them and with a church family that welcomes and prays for them. Some of us may feel a desire to learn more about the waiting children in our state. Others may want to help in a short-term way through foster care. As a church body, we will have the opportunity to serve these children through a special event.
This March, we will be partnering with The Forgotten Initiative to minister to foster kids in Scott County. The Forgotten Initiative is a ministry that brings awareness to churches regarding the needs of the local foster community. Through an advocate, they identify ways that the local church can partner in meeting these needs. For three weeks at both campuses of Friendship Church, we will be collecting supplies to be used in a packing event to create “Journey Bags” for children and teens entering foster care. These bags will be distributed by the Scott County advocate as needs arise. To bring donations, visit the website to sign up, or pick up a tag from the display at either campus. Then, drop the items off in the red bin at either campus until Sunday, March 15.
On Saturday, March 21 at 9:00am at Friendship Church-Shakopee Campus, the Women’s Ministry will host a Girlfriends Gathering: Serve event for women and girls in grade 6 on up. Together we will prepare freezer meals, make blankets and assemble journey bags for youth and children. In addition, we will take time to pray and hear from Friendship Church members that are fostering.
Will you join the journey in loving these little ones?
Click here to learn more about The Forgotten Initiative
Click here to register for the event or to donate
All of us can care for these children through prayer!