Thursday, May 6, 2010
One of the best things about the Summit was the networking. I met so many people, all of whom were shining with the light of Christ. Everywhere I looked, people were taking, sharing, and encouraging one another. Everyone (and I can really say every one) I met was sincere, generous and so willing to share everything they are doing and what they have learned.
I spent a lot of time listening (I know...hard to believe) and came away blessed after every conversation. One such 5 minute conversation has stuck in my mind for days. I can't let this couple go and I want to introduce them to you...
So, I am sitting in a breakout session called "Orphan Ministry 201: Foster Care" when the speaker from Texas points to a couple and says, "You guys in Wisconsin are doing amazing things." The couple humbly nodded their heads. I stared at them. You are from Wisconsin? I had no idea! There they sat, covered in tattoos, edgy hair cuts and trendy clothing...totally cool. They were especially cool next to my pink collared shirt and capri pants - ha!
Once the session concluded, I bounded over people and chairs to catch this couple before they exited. "Where are you from? I need to know what you are doing!" I blurted out to a surprised woman.
After settling down, I began a heart-felt conversation with the woman of the pair (they husband had made it out before I could tackle him too). They have been working with foster kids in Green Bay for years and year. But, they felt a call by God to move closer to Milwaukee, to be able to start ministering to the over 3000 kids in foster care in the big city. A generous donor gave them several acres in prime real estate land just outside Milwaukee County. Their plan is to build a group home for teenagers in foster care - you know the ones NO ONE wants to dare to bring into their home. Yea, those teenagers are the kids this couple WANTS. The wife said, "For these kids, the first bump in the road derails them for life."
I learned this statistic at the Summit: 80% of kids that age out of the foster care system end up homeless or in prison within the first year. 80%. This should not be! So, I ask, Church...what are we going to do about this? It is no longer acceptable to bury our heads in the sand and say, "It's not my problem!" I ask, where would Jesus be? Would he be in the suburban neighborhood having a cook-out? Or would he be sitting in the group home of 40 teenagers?
So, this real estate is in an area where million dollar homes are built on 20 acres. Most families are privileged and have pretty much everything they need and most of what they want. Is it any surprise that they are now up in arms about the possibility of a group home being built in their town? What will happen to their appraisals?
Tonight, this couple are going to stand before the planning commission and ask that they be allowed to serve 40 teenagers who no one wants. And there will probably be a hundred people asking for them to be run out of town. If you feel led, will you pray for Raivu tonight?
I am learning that much of this work needs to be done on my knees.
I pray that compassion and mercy will prevail.
Posted by Traci Weldie at 5:19 AM