June 12, 2014

Praying For This Beautiful Mess

As we look ahead to the next year of Afterschool Adventures, would you join us in praying for the following things?  We thank you in advance!!

  • Wisdom and Guidance: Please pray that God would show us just what we need to do with them every week.  In working with Family Quest, we try to do a service project and fun event each set of 5 weeks, plus we do a Bible story with them each week.  Join us in seeking God for what things He would have us do with them as we seek to have them serve and have fun each month.  Pray that He would give us the words we need to help explain to them the stories we read as we lead a devotion time with them each week.
  • Behavior/Discipline Issues: As you can imagine, having that many kids in one place, there are definitely some behavior issues.  And, as you can imagine, when dealing with other people's children, knowing just how to discipline can be a challenge.  Please join us in praying that God would show us how to deal with each child as situations arise.  Pray that we will be able to show them that discipline, when done correctly, is for their good.  Pray that God would show us how to effectively teach them how to deal with frustration and conflict in a godly and wise manner.
  • "Adoptive Families": Please join us in praying for God to send along some couples who would be willing to adopt these kids and take them to Family Quest.  This provides many benefits to the Afterschool kids (seeing a husband and wife working together properly, in-depth Bible study, learning scripture, etc), as well as those in our church (creates a mentoring/discipleship relationship, gets them involved in Kingdom work, positive impact in the lives of children who have very little positive impact, etc.)  Right now I am not sure how many couples we would need, but we'd be more than happy to pair up any and all we can!
  • Afterschool Workers: We start each Wednesday around 3:30 p.m. over at the apartment complex.  While there we work on their homework, play games, do service projects, have snack, read Bible stories, etc.  We really could use more help there, from about 3:30-5:00.  If you have kids, bring them along!  It's been a great experience for my kids having to meet new people, learn to get along with people who don't live or act like they do.  It's also been a great way to teach them about serving others.  They are not only seeing me do it, but they are walking right along with me in it.  You're a college student?  Great!  We need your energy!!!!!  Please join us in asking God to send more workers.
  • Home lives: Please pray that God would protect these children in whatever their home situation may be.  Some of them come from nice, loving homes, but several come from homes with parents who are rarely there, take little care of them, and move constantly in an effort to avoid DFS.  Most of us cannot even imagine the lives many of these kids are living.  I am thankful that several in our church have completed the classes to become foster parents and the reality hit me the other day that it is totally possible one or more of our kids could end up in their home.  The day may come when our Afterschool kids are living with some amazing church members, so I also want to ask you to lift up those who are foster parents/future foster parents.  Pray that they will have wisdom, discernement, and strength to love these kids as their own and fill them with as much God as they can while they are in their home.
  • Bridging the gap with the parents: We have had a hard time getting the parents involved in much more than bringing or picking up their kids. Jennifer does have contact info for most of them and does a great job of keeping up with them, but we still have yet to really make a connection with them.  Ask God to show us who to reach them, love them, and serve them.  Ask Him to show us how to connect with them.  
  • Encouragement: Pray that God would continue to encourage and strengthen all who are working with these kids.  It's hard.  Like, really hard.  And very messy.  Very, very, very messy!  It's not for the faint of heart, that's for sure.  Pray that He would remind us each week to spend time in prayer specifically for the kids we will be working with that day.  Pray that He would keep showing us the little changes and improvements that happen, even when we don't want to see them.  Pray that, if the time ever comes for any of us to step out, He would show that and we would be obedient. Pray that when we want to quit, but God has not told us we can, that He will give us the energy and passion we need to continue.
  • The connection of Afterschool Adventures and Family Quest: Let's be real, at times, this is a challenge.  We are very protective of both ministries and our families.  At times, it seems like these two ministries are at odds and can never work together.  I think, however, that it's beautiful to see how God has grown and changed Family Quest over the years, and I think this is just another way He is growing it.  FQ has beautifully fulfilled it's mission to train and equip parents to disciple their children. And now we're adding the element of allowing the rest of the church to come alongside and use FQ as a way to mentor, disciple, and love on some kids who need it badly!  Please pray that, as both ministries grow and change, that they will continue to work together. Pray that all families, those that are biological and those put together through Afterschool Adventures, will continue to grow, learn more about each other, and come to love each other through this process.  Pray that there will be no conflicts and no judgments made from either side.  Pray that all involved in Family Quest have prayed to ask God what they need to do for their family and that they will then have the courage to follow in obedience with whatever He has asked their family to do.  Lord, move in mighty ways during Family Quest!  Most of the children attending FQ, both our church kids and the Afterschool kids, are lost and need to know their deep need for You as their lord, master, and savior.  Help them all to see that! Give the parents the words to be able to explain the hard things, to answer the hard questions, and to be real so their children can see You in their lives.
  • Jennifer: Let's be honest, Jennifer does a large majority of the work each week and she is the one that stays in contact with the apartment manager and the parents.  She plans all activities and snacks and she's the one who does most of the discipline and comforting.  Pray that God would give her wisdom as she leads.  Pray that God will continue to give her energy and strength as she pours her life out with these kids each week.  Pray that God will show the rest of us how to support and love her as she leads.
Thank you so much for joining with us in prayer!  We have no idea which kids will be back next year and how many new kids we may have.  But, we have seen God's hand all over this ministry this year and feel confident He will continue to guide and direct as we move into year number two!!!

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