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).

Friday, March 4, 2011

Observations on a Lifestyle Apart from God's Will

In recent days, my heart and mind have been drawn repeatedly to homes being torn apart, families in crisis because of decisions made with ramifications that resonate to all members of the family. I know that this is nothing new, and I have no claim to righteousness of my own, for sure – cleansing because of Christ’s blood is our only Hope! But increasingly, the attitude of going about life in ways that honor only personal satisfaction seems to be the norm. I was struck in the face with this very thing during a recent home visit to a new mom.
“Lora”, an attractive and seemingly mature 30 year old, had just given birth to a new baby. The mother of a grade-school-aged child already, Lora was explaining to me that she was not certain of her wisdom in having another child “at her age”. (Already, my mind’s wheels are turning – I think 30 is still very young!) Never in her conversation was there a sign of regret for not having a father in the home for her children. In fact, she told me that this child was really for her mom who wanted another grandchild to help raise. Furthermore, the family seemed grounded in their church and extended family, so family values did appear to be important to them in many regards. Needless to say, I was confused by the dichotomy of views and values that this young woman lived by.
I visit single moms often. Many times, there are fathers who are in the picture, but not married to the mother of their children; sometimes there are fathers who have been unhealthy or dangerous influences, so they are no longer in the picture. Often, women are just not concerned about the need to be married to the father of their children. So why are so many young women purposely choosing to have families with no father in the home for their children? I turned to mentors who have worked with people in poverty for many years for some insight, and learned several things:
1. When a woman has children in her teens, she is generally not mature enough to raise them on her own. That is where grandmothers step in to help raise the children. By the time the mother herself is more mature and responsible, her own children are becoming mothers themselves, and the cycle continues – grandmothers raising grandchildren. I remember stories of my own grandmothers marrying in their teens and beginning their families early in life, but there is a different element – the planning of a family in God’s way, with a mother and father committed to one another in marriage prior to having children. This demonstrates a responsible maturity that we are not seeing among many of today’s families.
2. Girls today are being encouraged to pursue education. One statistic shows that for every one minority male in college, there are five females. It does not appear that education is being stressed as diligently for males, perhaps because the emphasis is placed upon working as soon as possible. This often means that males will pursue jobs that require physical labor suitable more for the young than for older men – jobs that do not have long term promise for income suitable to support families. Young educated women want committed relationships with young men who have their same goals and values.
3. Therefore, many homes in today’s society are matriarchal. In many cases, the young men growing up in such homes have never had a male role model at all in their home. They are learning by example that the norm is for the woman to be the leader in the home – negating the need for a strong father leader.
4. Finally, our current system of governmental assistance perpetuates this issue. I don’t need to get into a tirade over social justice issues or politics, but it is a fact that a man and a woman living together unmarried will draw more income and benefits individually that can be pooled together than will be the case should they marry. That is why we sometimes find couples who do want to marry, but feel that they cannot because their benefits will be cut.

Would you join me to commit to pray for these families and for our own families, that we will be faithful to apply God’s principles to our homes? Would you join me in praying for God to open our eyes to discover His way to reach people in this day and time, to promote Godly principles, to raise men and women of Godly integrity? Would you pray for us at Forest Park Ministry Center as we seek to reach out to people in need, meeting physical needs in order to earn the right to talk to them about these deep spiritual needs?
In February, we saw a slightly smaller number of families due to the shorter month and also due to tax credits and instant refunds that provided resources not available in other months. Nearly one ton of food was distributed to the families that were seen, and among the 72 families that we worked with, there was a middle aged mother who, with the generous assistance of a sponsoring church, was reunited with her adult children who could help her both with medical needs and reestablishing her life after a tumultuous relationship. Another older woman is battling cancer and having a very difficult time making ends meet, so the members of a supporting church and its Ladies’ Prayer group assisted her to catch up on her utility payments. One family is frightened and worried because the father is not able to be with them or to work for many weeks, leaving a mom who has no job and several children wondering what the future holds, so volunteers have reached out to assist this mom and her children. Please continue to lift all of the guests of our center who struggle with daily life and who desperately need the Hope of Jesus.
A huge shout out to the men of Thorington Road Baptist Church! Thanks for cleaning the grounds this week – what a blessing to have all of the debris removed, making way for a safe environment for Backyard Bible Clubs this spring and summer! Also, welcome to our newest volunteers at the center – Carol Sorrells and Sherry White, who are teaching Conversational English to a Mixtecan mom and tutoring her children, respectively, each Thursday; and to Martha Dempsey, who is our newest intake volunteer on Wednesday afternoons. Each of these women is a valuable asset to the ministry, along with all of the other volunteer missionaries who give of their time and talents to God’s kingdom work. We look forward to other individuals and groups who will be joining us in ministry and missions projects in the coming weeks and months.
I am praying that each of you experiences the beauty of God’s creation, His blessings, and His power in your lives.
Joyfully serving,
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