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Ministry Moments Blog
Esmeralda* had a rocky childhood. By her teenage years, she was angry and self-destructive. She found ways to numb herself with drugs and unhealthy relationships. When she found out she was pregnant she was overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty. "I couldn't see myself as a good person, let alone a mother." During her pregnancy, Esmeralda stayed with her uncle who is a committed Christian. He would talk to her about the Lord Jesus, and he often had worship music playing in the home.
One day, out of habit, she was on her way to meet with her drug dealer. She says God stopped her in her tracks. "It felt like I was in cement. I stopped where I was and cried out to God, I can't do this anymore! I don't know how to believe that you love me!" She says in that moment she experienced God's presence for the first time.
That day, instead of getting high, she went to detox and rehab. She started pursuing God by meeting with a pastor, reading scripture and going to Bible studies. After having her son, though, she fell into old patterns. Her new baby was removed from her care.
"I knew I had to move forward or I was going to lose everything," Esmeralda said. She decided she would do everything she could to get her son back. She cooperated with the Department of Child Safety (DCS) and found resources like the New Life Transitional Program. Through her work to get her life back together, Esmeralda found a job and housing and she eventually got her son back!
Esmeralda will now tell you that she has good and bad days. She says on the bad days she has to give herself permission to feel and work through it. Her son and her growing relationship with the Lord are her motivation to keep moving forward, one step at a time. *name changed
We’ve continued to ask different people to tell us about their “why” in their ministry area. Meet Hillary Horn, one of our Arms of Love licensing specialists. Hillary has been with ABCS for 8 months, but her family has been involved in foster care since she was 12 years old. Hillary has felt called to the ministry of foster care since she was a child. When God opened the door for her to serve families at Arms of Love Foster Care, she knew she was supposed to be here. Hillary loves working in foster care because she can advocate for families and give them a voice. She also feels passionate about helping families fulfill their calling to care for hurting children. The most amazing moment Hillary has experienced while working in foster care is seeing children grow and flourish in a safe and secure environment while watching families grow in their abilities and confidence in their care of the children. Hillary’s favorite verse is 1 Peter 5:7, Give all your worries and cares to God for He cares about you. Hillary loves this verse because it shows Jesus as a Father who cares for us as his children. We can cast all of our anxieties and fears on him and he will take care of them.
We’ve continued to ask different people to tell us about their “why” in their ministry area, today we hear about Foster Care from Mike Molina, Arms of Love Foster Care licensing specialist.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. - Galatians 6:7–10
Sometimes doing good can become exhausting when we see no change as a result of the good we do! No question the believers of Galatia were feeling this way. They were sowing seeds of goodness, but nothing good seemed to be coming forth. Paul is writing to the Galatian believers to encourage them to keep doing good. At times, I have felt that way in my life and I just want to throw in the towel. When I was a 5th grade teacher, I would pour myself into my student’s lives. At the end of the year I would ask myself is it worth it, considering the pay, excessively large class sizes and lack of resources. A few years after I had been teaching, though, I started seeing the fruit of my labor. Students coming back to tell me thank you for being patient with them, helping them learn, and I even had one tell me thank you for showing me Christ.
Now as a pastor and a licensing worker I am reminded the very thing that drives me is my faith in Christ and wanting others to see him by the good that I do. I will continue to do good because that is what I am called to do and I know at the right time, God’s time, I will reap a harvest for the good I have done.
Alice* came to the New Life Pregnancy Center hoping to get an ultrasound. A peer counselor explained she would first need to take a pregnancy test, and Alice agreed. The two sat in the office together, and Alice explained her situation. A pregnancy test she had taken was positive. She felt all of the pregnancy symptoms, but was extremely worried because she had experienced eight miscarriages in her past. Seeing the fear on Alice’s face, the peer counselor encouraged her that Jesus loves her so much he died for her so that by believing in Him she might have peace and hope for the future. Alice listened intently and said that she had never had any spiritual beliefs.
They continued with the pregnancy test, which came back negative. As the peer counselor told her the test result, Alice sank into a confused silence. The peer counselor asked if she could pray with her. Alice agreed, and as the peer counselor prayed Alice let the tears she had been holding back for so long flow steadily. The peer counselor reminded her again of how deeply Jesus loves and cares for her. She encouraged Alice to return to the center or call for support. Alice thanked the peer counselor genuinely, and as she left, she turned back to the peer counselor to thank her again. Pray for this woman who has endured so much pain and hurt in her life. Pray she would realize the Lord wants to draw her near to him and heal all her wounds.*name changed
My first thought when I wake up is that I hope the car makes it where I need to be because I don’t have the money to fix it. Actually, that thought keeps me up at night. I can’t sleep when the bills aren’t paid. I have two children in school and one who I pay to send to daycare when I am at work or in class. The state can help with childcare costs, but it’s hard to qualify for it when work is infrequent.
I work for a healthcare agency that does not provide enough to maintain my monthly expenses. I am looking for other job opportunities, but I have been turned down many times because I have a criminal background from years ago. Most healthcare agencies won’t give me a chance, and every time I get turned down I feel like I am trapped by my past mistakes.
I live in a constant state of anxiety because there are many factors that can go wrong in my day. Will I have enough money for gas? Will I be able to pay for my cell phone bill? If I don’t have a phone my employer can’t call me. Are my kids doing okay? Am I going to get back to them in time? Should I choose to pay for gas or electric this month? Who will help if someone in my family gets hurt or sick? Who will care for my family if I get hurt or sick? I have recently have had an issue with my foot that has caused a lot of pain when I work. My only choice is to push through it and hope it doesn’t get worse.
I think about going back to college and about my children’s future and if they will struggle through life as I am. My hope for the future is to be given an opportunity to overcome, to move on from my past and to provide a better life for myself and my children.
Many moms experience financial stress like Pam*. A key theme and focus of the New Life Transitional Program is to help clients see a better hope for tomorrow. Each week they work with mentors to set goals and problem solve when a new crisis arises. Financial hardship can seem hard to escape, but God continually offers hope. Pray for moms like Pam to have the resources they need to support their families. *name changed