Food Pantry Update

Celebrating the one year anniversary of our new client choice pantry called Harvest: A Galley of Grace

Moving Forward in Ministry in 2011

"Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe" (Hebrews 12:28).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010 Ends With Praises for What God Has Done!

In the process of preparation for this blog post, I found and reviewed the goals set in January 2010 for Forest Park Ministry Center. The following goals were met and accomplished. To God be the glory! These include:
• Enrichment for Volunteer Missionaries:
• Sharing Christ – encountering people at various stages in their spiritual walk.
• Working with guests with mental illness – rep from NAMI to speak at an in-service. This was realized this December – a true blessing to all who attended!
• More volunteer missionaries for specific areas:
• Substitutes for when others are out
• Younger ones to step in when necessary
 Begin to mentor / coach using KALEO tool
• Readers for schools
• Southlawn Commons - cooking classes during the summer.
• Funds raised for the renovation, and then the completion of it.
• Finish work in the food pantry
• Carport enclosure
 Set up classroom setting for classes and support groups; room is complete and in use!
• Summer Stories from the Porch
• ESL Classes for Mixtecan parents (concurrently with SSFTP)
• Backyard Bible Clubs
• Both ESL and Backyard Bible Clubs were conducted with the help of supporting churches and with the assistance of team members from Reye de Reyes Baptist Church.
It is nothing short of God’s intervention and grace that, in these tough economic times, His people have seen fit to contribute toward these ministries and enable us to achieve so many of our goals. As we look forward to 2011 and establishing more Kingdom goals, please pray with us to be not only open to whatever God desires, but to be resourceful and creative with the gifts that He provides for missions and ministry. Thank you for your participation in the ministry!

Recently, “Angela” walked in with a somber expression and head hanging low. She was in need of food assistance, but something much heavier weighed on her heart. Just ten days prior, her youngest daughter, once a vibrant 28 year old, had succumbed to a severe illness that took her life, and the family had no financial means to memorialize her or bury her. Prayer, kind words, and a promise to at least ask if anyone could help, lifted her spirits somewhat, and when a few days later, friends and family and two FPMC donors contributed enough for a modest funeral, this family was able to bury their loved one. Thanks to the kindness of God’s people, one monumental burden was relieved from this family.

Time and time again, we see God’s hand move in such incredible ways. In December, the 2nd Annual Ministry Centers Toy Sale hosted nearly 200 parents who were able to select and “purchase” toys for 1,000 children who would not have had gifts from their parents otherwise. What a God-thing!

2010 Statistics That You May Want To Know:
>1,374 guest visits to Forest Park Ministry Center, representing 3,198 family members;
>9 professions of faith and one rededication of his life to Christ;
>MANY new moms reached in home visits through the layette ministry;
>Character reading to K, 1st, 2nd, & 3rd graders in two MPS schools;
>32,042 pounds of food distributed to families in need;
>75+ families helped with utility assistance;
>1200+ Goodwill gift certificates distributed so that guests may shop for needed clothing;
>70 full turkey dinners distributed to families during the holidays.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Seed Planting Requires Patience!

“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life” 1Timothy 1:15-16.

Remember last month when I shared with you about a young man who wanted nothing to do with “the Jesus thing”? Heartbreaking – and this month, we experienced it again – only this time, one of our volunteers received this response from a young mother that she was witnessing to. Times like these, and other times when we cannot understand people and their motives (or their hurts!) should draw us closer to the Lord to seek His wisdom and guidance. That’s what we’re doing at FPMC, and that’s what we ask you to do as you pray for the Kingdom work through the center. Last night, Dr. Kevin Ezell, newly appointed President of the North American Mission Board, spoke at the MBA Annual Celebration, and this statement spoke volumes to me: “Helping hurting people will hurt.” When upon reaching out to someone in Christ’s name, if you receive barbs instead of warm fuzzies, it isn’t a personal jab at you – it is an outward expression of someone’s hurt. A powerful reminder of scriptural truth – “pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” Matthew 5:44b-45. We simply do not know God’s timing, and we may just be planting a seed that He will provide water and light for. So have faith, and don’t give up!

Our new classroom is almost complete – painting going on as I write this today. And thanks to generous donors, we have both vinyl tile for the entry area and beautiful high traffic carpet for the remainder of the room. Even the bulletin boards and the white board are being furnished. God is good! NOW, DOES ANYONE FEEL A CALLING TO HELP INSTALL FLOOR COVERING? (about 100 SF of vinyl tile, and a 12x 20 piece of carpet!) Once complete, we will immediately begin to use the room for classroom space on some days, receiving and sorting donations on other days, and use it also for volunteer training space.

In the month of October, we received 121 guests of the center, helping a total of 266 family members, and one accepted Christ. HALLELUJAH! Again, we distributed over 1 ½ tons of food and over $600.00 in gift certificates to shop for clothing at the local Goodwill Retail Stores. In November, we anticipate those numbers rising, and we also anticipate the distribution of several dozen Thanksgiving meals and turkeys in addition to the regular food assistance. If you, your church, or your Bible study class would like to assist with this, please contact Donna at 269-5726 or at

Finally, don’t forget to place Saturday, December 11 on your calendar, and to pray for the families who will be invited to come and shop. It is our 2nd Annual Ministry Center Toy Sale, to be held at Heritage Baptist Church. Already, preparations are in full swing, and we are receiving donations of new toys. This is a tremendous blessing to all who are involved – be blessed by participating this year!

As we approach the time of year for our traditional Thanksgiving celebrations, I am reminded once again, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.” Thank you for your prayers and support as we all desire to be the hands and feet of Christ and His salt and light to a dark world.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Joys and Heartbreaks - God Knows Them ALL

“For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God” (Ecclesiastes 5:7). How do you impart this truth to someone? Recently, “B” came to the center and as we sought to assist him with physical needs, we also inquired about his spiritual needs. His answer to us was so heartbreaking. See, he had said all the right things – three times, in fact – to no avail. He said nothing had changed, even though he had tried the “Jesus thing” three times. Good words, good dreams, but no heart transformation. Would you join the volunteers and me as we pray for B to be open once again to hearing about – and this time really comprehending and understanding – the limitless width, depth, and height of Christ’s love for him? He so desperately needs to be pulled from the pit of despair!

In September, over 130 families visited the center, for a total of over 300 family members and over 1 ½ tons of food distributed. There is one more addition to God’s Kingdom through her profession of faith, and one other gentleman prayed to rededicate his life to Christ. Even though there is heartbreak seen every day, these are joys to celebrate!

Also in September, ministries to school children have resumed. A big thank you to those who are again entering the classrooms at several Title I MPS elementary schools, reading not only to elevate the children’s interest in the written word, but to impart to them and reinforce the character traits that will help them to become good citizens and hopefully to one day realize and claim faith in Christ. An addition this year has been spearheaded by Eastern Hills Baptist Church – in home tutoring for the children of the Mixtec families in the Forest Park neighborhood. Currently, three teams from Eastern Hills and one team from Heritage are each going to a home each week to work with children on homework and reading. Doors are opening as a result. Just this week, Greg from Eastern Hills was asked by the father in the home where he and his team tutor to teach him English. This man’s wife is attending the Conversational English class at the center on Thursday mornings, and he is interested in learning, too. Congratulations, Greg and team members – we are praying for all of you!

As Fall is in full swing, we are busily preparing for the 2nd Annual Ministry Centers Toy Sale. It was a tremendous blessing last year for the guests and the workers both last year, and this year will be even better. If you desire to help, please let us know – you may call 271-6794 to sign up – see the flyer, too, on Facebook. Thanks to all for your prayerful support. May God bless your walk with Him.

Joyfully serving,
Donna McCullough, Director
Forest Park Ministry Center

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thanks, Thorington Road Baptist Church

A big shout out to members of Thorington Road Baptist Church and also to Brad Sinclair from Heritage!! Brad gave hours and hours to prepare the sheetrock for painting. Then today, TRBC members came to the center, painted, repaired, hung fixtures, cleaned, and promised to come again and do more - and then a large group prayerwalked the neighborhood, meeting people and sharing Christ. Many thanks to all who gave sacrificially of their time and talents.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wake-Up Calls and Other Needs

Have you ever experienced a "wake-up" call? Most of us have. And Jonah did. "..You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God. While I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to You.." (Jonah 2:6b-7a). "Malcolm" did, too. Malcolm is a young man who lives in the neighborhood near Forest Park Ministry Center. We met him nearly a year ago, shortly after being laid off from his job with Hyundai. He was trying to work wherever he could find a job, but finding one was difficult, and doubly so because he had also lost his car.

"Malcolm" accepted Christ one day last Spring during a visit to the center. He promised to follow through his confession of faith with making it public at a church and plugging into a body of believers for growth and accountability. But the unhealthy influences of friends and even some family tugged at him and pulled him back into harmful habits and away from his new found faith.

Two weeks ago, as we were closing the center at the end of a service day, Malcolm came running down the street with tears streaming down his face. He was crying for help. You see, a neighbor had stolen something of value to Malcolm. When he confronted the neighbor in order to get it back, the man pulled a gun on him and shot at him. He was running for his life! The police had come, but of course, the shooter was nowhere to be found, and Malcolm's fears were mounting. As we sat there, encouraging him to "breathe deep" in order to calm himself, we began to pray with him. And you could sense his spirit calm. After talking to God, we talked to Malcolm. A wake-up call - he acknowledged it. And grace that his life had been spared.

Would you pray for Malcolm? For him to have the steadfast courage to step away from bad influences and into God's grace; for protection and guidance and the realization that a life invested in Christ is the only "good life" that there is!

There are always so many needs. Your prayers are necessary and we thank you. Here is another opportunity to invest in the work of the center: With such a brutally hot summer, the utility bills have mounted. Can you imagine going without air or water in the heat that we have experienced? Just this week, two families have needed assistance because their water has been turned off - no water at a time like this?!? To make matters worse, one family has a newborn and the other a special needs child. Funds for utility assistance are precariously low. Would you consider a designated offering of $25, $50, or whatever God lays on your heart, specifically to help families in such dire need? These are not lazy people. They do not want to be in these situations. But job losses, illnesses, and other life circumstances are draining their finances, their strength, and their hope. Will you be a help? Just note on the
bottom left corner of your check "utility assistance" and mail it to Forest Park Ministry Center, 2026 East 4th Street, Montgomery, AL 36106. If God has moved you to do this, I thank you in advance. May He richly bless you!

Sharing an update from the center - in August, 116 guests were served at the center, for a total of 290 family members. Of those that visited, one gentleman was led to Christ by our missionary volunteer, Fred Fulton. Praise the Lord! Over 3,000 pounds of food were distributed to these families, and $800 worth of clothing gift certificates were given. We partnered with one of our churches to assist a family that lost everything in a house fire, and several families received direly needed baby supplies. The construction is moving along; the sheetrock is nearly finished, and the painting and other finsh work will be completed by mid September. God is so good.

I would be remiss if I did not thank all of the churches, the individuals, and even the businesses who contributed to the Tools for Schools effort this year. For the first time, we were committed to supply five junior high and high schools - a massive undertaking! But God was faithful through His people to supply at least three large cases full of paper, notebooks, pencils, pens, calculators, folders, binders, and so much more, to every school. And in addition, each school is receiving uniform shirts to keep in the office for students who are in need of them. Thank you to all who had a hand in this endeavor.

Volunteer readers and tutors are now beginning a new school year of ministry. Reading4Character has proven to be an effective investment in the lives of schoolchildren. Soon, after school tutoring will be available for the Mixtec children in the neighborhood who need an English speaking "listener" as they read. Eastern Hills is taking this on, but we welcome volunteers from all of our churches. Already, several from other churches have stepped forward. We need more! Would you pray about being a part of this opportunity to share God's love?

Your prayers, your gifts, your support are all so appreciated and so necessary to carry on Christ's Kingdom work. May you be blessed with God's grace.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Summer Harvest!!

“O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; for You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness…You have been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat..” (Isaiah 25:1,4).

The Mission Serve team found it both amusing and awesome that over two years ago, we had purchased a building permit for the addition to Forest Park Ministry Center. A little presumptuous on my part, some would say, but really, believing that God would provide – and in His good timing, He did! How like God to have the room so near completion – just a little more interior work and we will be able to move our Conversational English classes in there, as well as use it for donation intake. This will make the flow of traffic and the privacy needed when interviewing and sharing Christ with guests work so much more favorably! A huge thank you to Mission Serve, to Heritage Mission Montgomery, and to all the donors and helpers who gave selflessly to see the project through! There is still a little more interior work to do; if you or your group feels led, please contact me ASAP; it would be an awesome thing to have the sheetrock completed and ready for paint when the next group is slated to come in September!
Just the other day, we received a call from a former guest of the center. She wanted prayer for her and her family, and she was serious about it! Earlier in the year, she had visited the center for food assistance and shared her frustration over so many years of seeking Section 8 assistance (it is an arduous process). We prayed with her about this, about God’s provision for her and her family in His timing. That very day as she returned home, she found a letter in her mailbox announcing that she had been approved! Now, several months later, she was facing some new challenges and wanted prayer again.
Don’t get me wrong – it was and still is a privilege to pray with our guests. And when God chooses to reveal His hand at that time, it is an awesome experience, and one to celebrate. We did just that! But I could not let the opportunity to pass in this teachable moment. This precious woman needed the comfort of corporate prayer, but she also needed the reassurance that God hears her prayer; she, as a child of God, has a direct path in prayer to Almighty God, a path made clear because of the blood of Christ that cleanses her sins and makes it possible to enter God’s presence in prayer. As I prayed with her and encouraged her to pray to God herself, just like she was talking to a dear friend – because He is her dearest friend, I was reminded of the responsibility that we have to disciple those that He puts in our path for encouragement.
Then just the other day, another guest came for financial assistance. As we discussed together her situation, made arrangements to resolve her current dilemma, and prayed, again thanking God for His provision, she blessed me! It was a joy to receive the blessing from this dear sister in Christ who even through her own struggles, sees God’s hand, receives the grace of God’s provision and blessing, and chooses to bless others through prayer, too.
The ministry to Mixtec families is growing as well. Eastern Hills youth did a phenomenal job in July to reach the children in our neighborhood; the transformation from unruly and uncooperative to listening, participating, cooperating, and enjoying each other was truly magical ---- no, it was all God! Now, Eastern Hills volunteers, along with volunteers from other churches, are in the process of planning after – school reading and tutoring for Mixtec children, and Mixtec parents are still learning English in the ongoing Conversational English classes designed specifically for them. A tremendous thank you to the team led by Oscar Gonzales from Cuernavaca, MX, who made such inroads into building relationships with these families!
All of this, and we saw families for food and clothing assistance, too. In spite of being closed for half of the month for construction, eighty-two families were provided much needed food supplies, with over a ton of food distributed in just two weeks. Throughout the entire month, the Backyard Bible Club (Summer Stories continued from June) and the English classes continued, and though it was very chaotic, everyone was so accommodating and patient to work together!
I think that everyone that works at the center and the guests alike would agree that this summer has been full of evidence of God’s goodness and grace. May He continue to work in and through each of us, reaching others in His name, sharing His Hope, literally being His hands and feet reaching out to a lost world.
Check out the photos to the right of the work at the center!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Busy and Fulfilling - What a Summer!

“Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.” Ephesians 3:20

Summer is here – and busier than ever! I’ll describe in a moment the incredible things happening already, but first please allow me to once again share with you an enormous need coming in the next few weeks. A small group of volunteer missionaries is coming from Reye de Reyes Iglesia de Baptista (King of Kings Baptist Church), Cuernavaca, Moreles, Mexico, led by Oscar Gonzales, a Campus Crusade for Christ missionary in Mexico. They will be in Montgomery to assist four MBA churches and two MBA community ministries, including Forest Park Ministry Center and Community of Hope, as we seek to discover ways to reach the Hispanics in our community, and specifically the Mixtecan population. Through the gracious provision of Ridgecrest, Heritage, and other churches, housing and transportation are being provided while here. These team members have worked hard in their own country to raise funds to travel here. We need to provide food for them while they are here. We are planning to provide initial groceries for them in the house where they are staying, and then allow them to purchase food, gasoline, or essentials as they need them. In order to do so, we need either GIFT CARDS (Walmart, Target, Winn Dixie, or Visa Gift cards) or CASH. Connie Pouncey has offered to help coordinate the initial grocery purchase, so you can forward gifts to her, or you can bring them to Donna at Forest Park Ministry Center or to the MBA office on Perry Hill Road. PLEASE help us with this incredible opportunity to bless missionaries coming here to assist us!

Have you ever felt like your head was spinning? After months, even years, of praying, hoping, and planning, God in His perfect timing has brought forth some incredible volunteer missionaries to share HIM through highly anticipated opportunities now in full swing! It’s so incredible, yet why am I surprised? The Word tells me exactly what He is capable of, and my mind will not be able to wrap around it all!

MissionServe arrives next week, and the construction will be underway. Please pray for each of these precious souls who offer their time, talents, energy, and even their hard earned finances and off-time to help us improve the facility here at Forest Park Ministry Center!

Cooking and nutrition classes are going great, and we are receiving glowing reports from Southlawn Commons. Each week at the Molina Center in the middle of Southlawn Commons Apartment Homes, Ashley Loomis and her volunteers are meeting with 11 – 15 children (and even had a mom join them last week), and learning together about healthy food choices, economical ways to shop for and prepare food, and safe and easy ways for children to prepare food. Thank you, Ashley, for stepping out into the community with your love for sharing Christ in such a practical and loving way!

Summer Stories from the Porch also has many participants among the children in the neighborhood surrounding Forest Park. Each week, children hear stories that illustrate strong Biblical truths, and have fun activities that support the truths illustrated. Thank you, Victoria, Andrea, Nathaniel, Norma Jo, Hope, Jennifer, and David, for your excellent leadership in June. We look forward to sharing with everyone about July’s activities, as Eastern Hills youth lead. We are also sad to say “Aloha” to the Roberts family who helped so much each summer, including this summer. They are moving to Hawaii where their dad will be stationed, so we had an “Aloha” party for them as a part of our last June Summer Stories. We pray God’s blessings on them wherever they are serving!

In June, we saw 115 families representing nearly 300 people in need of food, clothing, and / or financial assistance, gave nearly 1 1/2 tons of food, $800.00 in clothing gift certificates, and numerous referrals for everything from specialized clothing needs, other financial needs, to medical and prescription needs. “Vera” was such a mom in need; her son is disabled and had just been released from the hospital into her care. However, his disability income had not begun, and he had no insurance for prescriptions. She was desperate to get a prescription from his doctor filled because of his intense pain. Recently, we were given a new resource for discount prescription meds (God’s perfect timing), and what was going to cost her over $100 (that she did not have) only cost $15.00. What a blessing, and what praises she voiced to the Lord!

When we reopen on July 19, we will be seeing more and more people who need encouragement, clothing, food and finances, and most importantly, the Hope of Christ! Join us in praying diligently that the love of Christ is what each person sees and experiences as he or she visits this center.

Joyfully serving,
Donna McCullough, Director
Forest Park Ministry Center

Friday, June 4, 2010

God's Timing - always On Time!

"Make me know Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation. For You I wait all the day."

His ways are so worth waiting for. We've seen evidence of this truth in recent days. But waiting - that is a real challenge for me. Just yesterday, as the classes for Conversational English were to begin, and the Summer Stories from the Porch began, we were challenged with the need for perseverance and patience. Please pray for the women who are in fear of stepping out in faith to learn how to negotiate life challenges in the U.S. Language barriers are so overwhelming, and cultural norms that keep women from pursuing education are so strong. We are learning - and I have so much yet to learn - to allow God to use our hearts, hands,and voices, to demonstrate His hope and lovingkindness to a people group whose ways we just do not yet totally understand.

To help understand, and to assist us and other ministries reaching the
Mixtecans, Oscar Gonzales and a team of 8 will be traveling to Montgomery, Alabama, from Cuarenevaca, Moreles, Mexico, in July, for outreach evangelism specifically to help build bridges with the parents of the Mixtec children that are so active in ministries in several of our churches! (Two of the girls who attended Summer Stories from the Porch yesterday are going to GA camp at WorldSong this summer, thanks to the generosity of the church that they are attending - what a praise!)

The Mexico Mission Team coming in July has been provided a home in which to stay, thanks to Ridgecrest Baptist Church. What we wish to do is to provide them with the ability to shop for food and necessities and also to dine out as their schedule allows. They will be working with at least five different churches and ministries that are making inroads to ministry to the Mixtec people group, so trying to schedule meals at a central location would not only be difficult for the providers, but also hard for the team who will be traveling neighborhood to neighborhood.

Therefore, Connie Pouncey has agreed to be the "point person" to receive donations of gift cards or cash in order to provide for these needs during their stay. Gift cards to WalMart, Winn-Dixie, or Target, or restaurant gift cards would be most helpful in making their stay enjoyable and their work here productive, alleviating the financial stress and the time stress of when to eat where and how to pay for it! You may call Connie at (334)301-1475 if you have questions, and you may send your gifts to her at 9339 Preston Place, Montgomery, Alabama 36117. You may also drop them by Forest Park Ministry Center on Mondays or Wednesdays or mail them to the center at 2026 East Fourth Street, Montgomery, Alabama 36106. Thanks for your assistance in furthering His kingdom work!

Construction is about to begin at the center! Later today, we will be meeting with a contractor who is offering to do the demolition of the existing carport, and in July, the MissionServe team will be here to frame in the new multipurpose receiving/ storage/classroom! Thanks to all who have generously given for this project; we still are in need of funds to complete the interior - please prayerfully consider how you might be able to assist!

A praise about how Christ's hope has changed lives! We have new believers among the May visitors to the center, and a recent guest who has been so moved that he is now volunteering and such a huge help! Cooking classes at Southlawn Commons apartment complex are underway for the children who live there, and volunteers report eleven excited children who came, participated, and went home the first day armed with information, motivation, and encouragement to make healthy food choices. Pray for Ashley and her volunteers who are giving their Wednesdays this summer to help these precious children.

Finally, continue to pray for the guests who come to the center for food, for clothing assistance, and for financial assistance, and for the volunteer missionaries who offer not just the physical sustenance, but hope in Christ to each person that crosses the threshold of the center.

God's blessings to each of you.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Showers of God's Grace

"The Lord sustains all who fall and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him."
Psalm 145:14-16, 18.

I wish all of you could have been there. The moment was so sweet; we stood together, holding hands, and I prayed for the new mom and her baby, for her example to be godly, and for a hedge of protection around her family. As I said "Amen" the tiny voice of her four-year-old son continued, "Thank you Jesus, for my new little sister, and for my mom. AMEN." Out of the mouths of babes....may he grow to be a man after God's own heart.
There are so many opportunities to see God's hand work in the lives of guests and volunteer missionaries alike at Forest Park Ministry Center. The work is not easy; stories that we hear are heartwrenching. But through it all, God's hand covers all, meets the need, and provides His Hope for hurting and lost people.

This month, the numbers of families seeking assistance rose dramatically. It is a sobering reminder that "the poor are always with us." The work will never cease, until Christ returns! So here are some current stats, and then following, read about the ways that new ministry will be accomplished this summer!

Number of families assisted in April: 139 - 32% were new guests of the center.
This represented 335 family members helped.

There were THREE professions of faith - Praise the Lord! - Please pray for them as they begin their new life in Christ, to follow through with public profession and plugging into a church for discipleship and spiritual growth.

3,536 pounds of food distributed to the families.

Please pray for "Danielle" who so sincerely shared with me (during a home visit to see her and her newborn baby) about her desire for her child to attend finish school. She only finished 9th grade, and truly regrets it. But she is working, and is trying to juggle motherhood, work, and GED classes. Pray for her to look to the Only Source, Jesus Christ, as Her Lord and guide in life.

"Danielle's" story is all too familiar. Choices made early that you regret, but you live with the consequences, sometimes for the rest of your life. Pray for cycle of generational poverty to stop with this generation.

This summer, there are at least four new ministry opportunities:
1. Ashley Loomis, a busy home-school Mom from Heritage, has a heart for teaching children healthy and safe ways to prepare food. Many children in the Southlawn Commons and Sherwood Apartment complexes have to prepare their own dinner, because Mom is out of the home in the evening, often working late shifts. Ashley is teaching cooking classes on Wednesdays for kids at the Molina Center (located inside Southlawn Commons), beginning in June. Pray for her and her volunteers as they reach children in this creative way. If you feel led to help with this ministry, email or call and let us know, so we can plug you in!

2. Ann Bush, Mom and career woman, and passionate about teaching Conversational English to Mixtec Moms in the Forest Park neighborhood, will begin classes for these Moms in June at the center on Thursdays. Please pray for Ann and her assistant Evelyn in this incredible opportunity to reach those marginalized in our society because of language barriers.

3. Stories from the Porch is a weekly story hour with related activites for Forest Park neighborhood children. Each Thursday afternoon this summer, children will gather in the front yard of Forest Park Ministry Center to hear a story that shares the truth of Christ's love, and to have activities that reinforce His truth. Pray for the youth from Eastern Hills and Heritage and other churches who will participate in reaching these children each week.

4. In July, MissionServe will send a construction team to the ministry center to construct the multipurpose room (the enclosure of the carport area). We are so excited about having this addition to our facility in the future for classes and groups at the center, as well as for receiving donations during service days.

Speaking of MissionServe, PLEASE consider participating in the MissionServe Banquet in November. You will be treated to a wonderful meal, testimonies and information about MissionServe, and you will be supporting a ministry that is already reaching out to this ministry!!!!! More details to follow.....

Have a blessed May. Mother's Day is this weekend, and I'm reminded of what a blessing it is to have a godly mom who has been an example of being God's vessel. Thanks, Mom, and thank you, God, for my mom. Blessings to all of you.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Generation to Generation

What a wonder to see my son holding his newborn son! It stirs an emotion in me that reminds me of God's goodness and the miracle of His creation. A new grandchild, two weeks old yesterday, and he is just adorable! He is a reminder of how God has such a perfect design for His grace and goodness to extend from generation to generation.

God's grace and goodness from generation to generation - a passionate desire of those who minister through Forest Park to see in the lives of guests of the center and their families. Please allow me to share some hopeful stories with you.

"Amy" is a young student at a local school where our volunteers tutor. Her family has recently experienced a tragedy in the near death of her father. Thankfully, he will recover; but for weeks, we could not put our finger on what was causing such a gloomy disposition in this ordinarily happy and jubilant child. Prayer for her and her family prior to entering the school and showing her specific concern about what she needed to concentrate on and learn - in other words, just knowing someone cares about her - is showing results. Today, she smiled and even asked to work on a new area that needs improvement!

C. is just one of many mothers who are desperately praying for their children to resist the temptation of the streets. Even for Christian families, the pressures that are present in the everyday lives of children and adults alike are intense, and for children in poverty, the presence of criminal activity in stressed neighborhoods is a constant concern for their parents. Pray for parents like C who are striving to show their children Christ's way, and to break the cycle of unhealthy and sinful choices.

Here's more hope: a local group of concerned Christians is cooperatively working on a community garden in Montgomery - on the corner of Holt and Emerson Streets. This will be a valuable tool to both demonstrate and encourage growing and eating healthy foods, and also to foster cooperation among people in a constructive project. And when they ask, "Why would you do this for us?", the answer is, "Because Christ's love compels us to."

And COMPLETE - an awesome experience that I was so blessed to be a part of, showed me that there are young women in the youth generation that have a passion for Christ and sharing His love with others. Thank you, girls, for allowing me to be blessed by you during COMPLETE.

This summer, Forest Park Ministry Center will be abuzz with activity in addition to the twice weekly food and clothing assistance. Each week, "Summer Stories from the Porch" will feature a great story told and fun related activities for the children in the neighborhood. Also each week, Mixtec Moms who want to learn Conversational English will have classes being taught by church members who have been trained specifically for that purpose. In addition, a Mission Serve team is coming to the center in July to construct the addition to the center so direly needed! God is so good, and we are relying on Him to provide the materials needed - we have enough for phase I, and are looking now to raise funds for the interior phase.

A summary of the work in March 2010: 109 guests of the center, representing 252 family members, but only 17% new guests. One guest had a very dire need, and thanks to two of our MBA churches, her family was able to have a funeral for their infant that passed away unexpectedly. Nearly 1.5 tons of food was distributed, and even more importantly, prayers were lifted on behalf of those who visited. It was a great time in the Lord, and April is looking great, too! Keep praying for these families, and for Christ's hope of Abundant Life to be realized in the hearts and minds of families everywhere.

Finally, please put on your calendars a fundraiser for MissionServe. The date is November 9, and you will receive a wonderful dinner, information and testimony about this incredible organization. MissionServe is the group coming to Forest Park Ministry Center to construct the addition to the center, along with members of MBA churches. The event on November 9 will be at Mt. Hebron West Baptist Church in Elmore County. Hope to see you there!

Friday, February 26, 2010

God Moments

I have a dear friend who is in community ministry that is so sensitive to those times when God is working. She calls these God moments, and she has pointed me to an awareness of those times when you can only say, Ah, God; He's sooooo gooooood. This month we experienced some of those times - like the day when I arrived at the center after a long day of being alongside my husband having an outpatient medical test - I mean, you know how long you wait for those things, right? But just as I arrived, two expectant mothers - one who came to the center and another who called to talk - were needing that someone to talk to, to encourage them, to pray with them. God just takes my weariness and shows me His grace. I am humbled to be witness to His work.
Earlier this month, students from Lee High School collected food and youth from Eastmont delivered it to the center. What a joy to see youth reaching beyond themselves! ACA did the same - and a teen from ACA and Heritage is volunteering at the center, too, along with other teens that will be coming this summer.
Just this week, the G.A.s from Snowden Baptist came to the center to help sort and label cans with Bible verses. Earlier, they had made Valentine boxes for a young family whose children would not have had Valentines for school otherwise, and before that, had purchased and assembled items for a layette for a newborn baby. How sweet that these young ladies have caught a missions vision; and a huge thank you to their leader, Tammy Rolling, who has such a heart for missions.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


After a phenomenal December of ministry, partnering with other ministry centers in town, January 2010 has already proven that God is in the life changing business. We need to all get on board with what He is doing!

Doors have opened in several churches, giving me the awesome opportunity to share about the way God is moving in Montgomery. On the very first Sunday in January, a Sunday School class at Heritage invited me to share with them how they could "plug into" the ministry on an ongoing basis. Armed with my "laundry list of opportunities", I listened to their chatter prior to the beginning of our time together. And as the time came for me to share, I was struck with this Truth - relationship, with the Lord, and through Him, with others, is what it is all about. You see, they had "adopted a family for Christmas", a generous and lovely gesture for any one, but in the process, found that they want to do more. They asked me if it would be "Okay" to provide for the family a food box each month, and to make at least one monthly visit to the family. What a phenomenal way to capture the spirit of the great commission - to foster a relationship with a family in need! My laundry list was totally unnecessary - this group of people had been sensitive to the Lord's moving, and they were ready to join Him in what He is doing. That, you see, is what community ministry, is all about.
Here's a vision for us all to pray about: what if, in every Christian church in Montgomery, multiple people or groups of people caught this same vision - Christians mentoring others, developing relationships in order to share Christ's love and hope with people who are living in such dire need? What an impact for Christ's Kingdom would be made!

Thank you: Heritage SS, Youth, and Heritage CDC; Eastern Hills Mentors;
Thorington Road Senior Adults; Prattville FBC Youth, for your interest in the work at Forest Park Ministry Center, for your hard work and generous spirits, and for the joy of working alongside you and other MBA churches who share the vision of leading Montgomerians to a life change through Christ.

Here are some of the statistics for January 2010:

127 guests visited the center; over 40% were new guests who had not sought help before.

2 families who experienced the loss of everything when their homes burned were helped with food, clothing, household supplies, and partnering with other ministries and church members, furniture and so much more!!

Over 3,000 pounds of food were distributed to hungry families.

Best of all, one more child of God added to His Kingdom - praise the Lord!!

Finally, do you love to go to yard sales? Would you like to be a "Yard Sale Ambassador" for the center? You would be equipped with receipts to give to those who will donate their left over clothing to the center. Just ask them if they will do so, return to their home at the end of the sale, give them the receipt for their tax records, and bring their clothing to the center on Monday. What an asset this would be to both the emergency clothing and to the Good Samaritan Clothing Ministry at the center!

God bless you all. Have a great 2010; I am excited to see what the Lord has in store!

Serving joyfully,
Donna McCullough, Director
Forest Park Ministry Center

Ways You Can Partner with Forest Park Ministry Center

* Have a food drive in your church
(get list from Donna)There is a dire shortage!
* Hold a Baby Shower for new moms who come to

the center; we need supplies for 12 layettes by October!
* Be a prayer partner and pray for our guests needs
* Need larger sized mens and womens clothing

must be in very good condition
*Hold a Paper supplies shower for the center

*Need a data entry volunteer once a week
*Need a small desk for the receptionist in the waiting area