Earlier this week I was eating my emotions. After spending much of the evening enjoying a local high school football game, I grabbed a frozen pizza and headed home to sit down and watch the last of the presidential debates. I had it on my DVR. It was late, and I knew two things: if I were to watch the debates I would need to pray, and to pray I would need the energy provided by a frozen pizza.
Somewhere in the middle of it all the front door opened and in walked my daughter with ten of her best buddies from school. They were laughing quite a bit, very polite and respectful to me, and eager to hang out somewhere for a while where they knew they were welcome. That was shortly after 9 pm. I don’t think the last ones left until almost midnight. My daughter told me later her buddies love coming over because they always know they are welcome here and feel genuinely cared for by Christa and me.
I have reflected on that quite a bit these past couple of days, making me wonder how many kids can never say that they feel welcome somewhere, and can never say they feel cared for by another. The fact is, my musings on this underscore a reality that is far more pervasive than many of us might understand.
In Hennepin County, Minnesota, where we live, there are approximately 1,600 kids in the foster care system. Around 120 of those kids are waiting for adoption, with nearly half of those part of a sibling group needing to be adopted (Hennepin County Data). Unfortunately, hard-workings agencies seeking to facilitate foster care scenarios and adoption are so overrun they cannot keep up with the need. For us disciples of Jesus, concerned for the plight of kids in crisis (see James 1:27, for instance), there is a way to meaningfully help. Safe Families for Children is a national movement of compassion giving hope to families in crisis, providing loving homes where parents my voluntarily have their children cared for while they seek to bring stability into their lives. The Safe Families for Children network provides important extended-family care to nearly 1,000 children annually around the United States.
At New Hope Church we have a handful of families that partner with Safe Families for Children to provide life-giving situations to boys and girls in crisis. Recognizing that the need is great we wish to elevate awareness and match that awareness with thoughtful action. To do this New Hope Church is bringing together two strategic opportunities during the month of November. First, we will be stepping into a sermon series, entitled Every Child, helping us see that God’s vision is that, through his people, every child has hope and a home. Together we will discover how God empowers us to fulfill vision.
Additionally, 50% of this year’s Thanksgiving Offering will be given directly to Safe Families for Children of Minnesota. Our church family’s generosity is such that we know this will be a sizable contribution (last year we gave $31,000 to the extraordinary Hope Academy).
New Hope Church’s Thanksgiving Offering will be collected Sundays, November 20 and 27, as well as at our special Thanksgiving Eve gathering on Wednesday, November 23. One can also give online. By God’s relentless grace we can see a significant difference made in the lives of boys and girls throughout our region. This Thanksgiving, let’s extend Christ’s love to an organization changing lives every day. Let’s overwhelm Safe Families for Children with a resounding New Hope Church Thanksgiving gift!