Project Greatest Gift, our church’s annual outreach to children and caretakers in the foster care system in Northern Colorado, was a success again this year.
In the end, we were able to sponsor 241 children and caretakers in three northern Colorado counties. Additionally, we were able to take part in an event to meet and bless the families who were recipients of these gifts. Along with giving gifts, we were able to include materials in each bag explaining to each child and caretaker the hope that we have because of Jesus.
One thing to pray about for 2019 is that Weld County (where the majority of our recipients come from) is considering cancelling their program next year. If that happens, White Fields would consider taking over the program from them. This would require significant resources, meaning we would likely have to expand what we do beyond our church. This might just be the next step God has for this project, but do pray for God’s leading and provision as we move forward!
Check out this interview that our worship pastor Mike Payne did with Christine Appel, the founder and leader of Project Greatest Gift:
Project Greatest Gift, our outreach to foster children and their caretakers at Christmastime will be kicking off THIS WEEKEND at White Fields!
Check out this video in which Christine shares some information about the great needs that these families face and how we can help:
Starting this Sunday after church, and going through the entire month of November, we will be taking sign-ups for those who would like to sponsor children this year to help make Christmas more joyful, and ultimately to introduce them to the hope that we have in Jesus Christ.
Did you know that children in the foster system are an at-risk people group within our communities?
In almost every case, the reason children end up in foster care is because of an unsuitable home environment, which often involves violence, neglect, drugs and crime. These environments not only result in trauma, but they are also associated with poverty. Many foster care situations are kinship care, which means the child is cared for by a relative, which can create a financial burden, especially in the case of grandparents living on pension.
Poverty has a profound impact on a child’s mental and physical well-being. In other words, the suffering that a child who is raised in this environment endures is not only limited to their childhood, but can adversely impact the rest of their life.
Our church, White Fields Community Church, has a history of ministering to children in the foster system. Through some of our leaders, we have developed a great relationship with the Health and Human Services departments in Weld and Adams Counties, and we are able to make an impact in the lives of needy families in our area. In recent years, we have had the special opportunity to get to meet and serve these families at a Christmas event we help put on for them in Greeley at which the gifts are distributed.
If you would like to be involved, visit us on a Sunday morning this November, leave a comment below, or contact the church here.
If you can’t participate but would like to support this endeavor financially, you can make a donation by clicking here, and choosing Project Greatest Gift from the drop-down menu. 100% of your donation will go straight to the kids and their families.
As we’ve been studying through the book of Romans at White Fields, one of the topics we recently looked at was how the Bible says that adoption is a one of the most profound Earthly pictures that we have of what God has done for us in the gospel.
Adoption is a picture of the gospel
We who were not children of God – destitute, orphans – God reached out to us, and not only did he pardon us and forgive us, not only does he give us his Spirit to help us in our weakness, but he has reached out to us and adopted us. At great cost to himself, doing something for us that we could never have done for ourselves, he has given us a new identity, paid our debts, given us a new belonging, a new future, a new family and a great inheritance.
For more on this topic, check out the sermon: Adopted by God from Romans 8:12-17.
Adoption is close to my heart for personal reasons
Adoption is something close to my heart. In 2008 we began foster parenting an 8th grader from the church I pastored at the time, and in 2011 we adopted him.
When you adopt a child, you are making the decision to love someone and care for someone, not because you have to, but because you choose to. While all adoption is beautiful, I am particularly moved by people who adopt not because they cannot have biological children, but because they understand adoption as a ministry and a way that they can live out the gospel – a way that they can live out what God has done for them in Christ, and bless someone else in a way which will absolutely change their life.
Michael and Ivey Ketterer
It’s been a while since I’ve watched America’s Got Talent, but I recently heard about Michael Ketterer, who appeared on the show and performed so well that he was fast-tracked from the audition process straight to the live show round of the competition.
Michael Ketterer is a musician who is part of United Pursuit, a Los Angeles based collective of Christian artists and musicians. He describes himself as a part-time worship leader, part-time nurse, and full-time dad.
Michael and his wife Ivey have 6 children, 5 of whom were adopted through foster care, and one of whom suffers from cerebral palsy – the neurological disorder which we were initially told that our daughter would have (Read: I Believe in Miracles; Here’s Why).
Michael and Ivey share their story of foster parenting and adoption in this video. With the exception of the part where he talks about demons (3:20), (we aren’t to resist evil on the basis of who we are, our own name and authority, but only in the name of Jesus and on the basis of his authority – see Jude 1:9) this is a great and moving testimony of love and being moved by the love of God to love others. I encourage you to watch the whole clip:
Here is the video of Michael’s first appearance on AGT:
Also check out Michael’s album, The Wild Inside, which he recorded with United Pursuit here:
You can help White Fields in our efforts to make a difference in the lives of children and care-takers in the foster system here in Colorado. Click on these links to learn more about our two annual outreaches to foster families on the Front Range:
Finally, maybe there are some of you whom God would lead to get involved with foster parenting or adoption through the foster system. Here is a link with information about foster parenting and adoption in Colorado: Co4Kids.org For those of you outside of Colorado, information can be easily found for every local area with a quick internet search.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For…. you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:14-15)
Recently I told you about Project Back to School: White Fields Community Church’s annual summertime outreach to kids in foster care in conduction with Weld County Health and Human Services.
This month-long project concluded today with some of us from the church delivering the backpacks to the case workers in Weld County. They will be delivered to these needy families in the coming days and weeks.
Staging and Inventory
Here’s a message from Travis Hergert, who oversees missions and outreach for White Fields:
This morning, Joe Cady, Pastor Nick and I had the great privilege of delivering the backpacks that you so graciously provided to 135 elementary, middle school and high school age foster children. As you all are well aware, each pack was filled with the needed school supplies for Weld County Schools.
It took two pickup trucks to haul all of the backpacks to Greeley! As we were unloading them at the facility, I was so moved when one of the Human Services workers commented that he is always amazed at how our church manages to provide this amount of backpacks and an incredible amount of gifts at Christmas. He said he wanted to know the secret of how a congregation is so engaged with their community! All of the Human Services case workers were incredibly appreciative and very excited to give each child their new backpack and supplies.
This goes beyond just backpacks, you truly showed the love of Christ in a tangible way!
…As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:15, ESV)
It was great to see how excited the case workers were about the backpacks, having personal knowledge of the kids and the details of their situations. Please be in prayer both for the kids, their caretakers and these case workers who care so much about them.
“Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)
One of the great outreaches we do here at White Fields church in Longmont is a home-grown initiative called Project Greatest Gift, which is our ministry at Christmastime to children in foster care.
Project Greatest Gift has been a tradition at White Fields since the beginning of our church, but in the past it was limited in the number of families we were able bless. After looking at ways to broaden its impact on the community and considering alternative programs such as Operation Christmas Child, we decided to attempt to bless the “orphans” of Northern Colorado. Since no orphanages existed in this area, God led us to reach out to local foster families. A couple in the church was heavily involved in the foster system and they offered to make contacts within that system to find families in need. Beginning in 2009, as a result of God’s provision and their efforts, we were able to begin blessing the foster families in Weld and Adams counties through the generous gifts of the congregation at White Fields. Over the years, we have continued to see God’s great provision for us so we are able to continue to share His abundance with others.
In past years, our church family has provided gifts for around 40 to 60 kids. This year we have had a great outpouring of generosity, and people from our congregation have signed up to provide gifts for 90 children in Adams and Weld counties!
For those of you unfamiliar with the purpose of foster care, it is safe homes, loving caregivers and other family members who take in and provide for children whose living situation is unsafe. Unfortunately, through no fault of their own, many children live in homes with parents addicted to drugs, who are neglectful or abusive, or who do not know how to care for children appropriately. So foster homes are critical to meet the needs of these children while birth parents work to recover and learn to parent. Sometimes, foster homes are also where children’s needs are met while they await a forever home through adoption. Children in foster care experience grief and loss. Even when their living situation was unsafe, children mourn its loss, as that is all they had ever known. Foster parents serve not only as loving caretakers, but often also as counselors as they help the children in their care through this grief and loss. We are so thankful that we can in some way bless these foster families too by helping provide gifts at Christmastime.
In addition to the blessing of Christmas gifts, please pray for these children that they would soon have a forever family, and more importantly, that they would come to know Jesus Christ as their savior, and God as their Heavenly Daddy.