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Ministry Moments Blog
A devotion by Mike Taylor, Arms of Love Foster Care Licensing Specialist - Pima County
We’ve asked a few different people to tell us about their “why” in their ministry area, today we hear about Foster Care from Mike Taylor.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. – Ephesians 3:20
There are times in our lives when life gets in the way of our calling and God makes us come to place of searching, struggle and redirection in which all you can say is, “What’s next, Lord?” ABCS is my “Next.” God opened a door for a new kind of ministry that allowed me to use my many experiences as a Christian, a pastor and a parent (birth, foster and adoptive). I have been amazed by the situations that God has put me in that I thought, “been there, done that.” This has shown me how God allowed me to be in those situations so that I could use those experiences to help other people as they seek God’s vision for their future. So what has this taught me? For me it comes down to, if God is who the Bible says He is, I simply must trust God moving forward. I am very grateful for the many experiences I have had and am now experiencing, and have been amazed at how God has used even some very painful experiences to supply me with grace, strength and growth opportunities to help others. The “Next” times are rarely easy, but God has never failed me in each of those times and I agree with Paul in Ephesians 3:20. My “Why” is because God made ABCS my “Next.” I see my current “Next” as a bridge that God uses to help others find their “What’s Next?”
Many New Life Transitional Program participants wonder how their lives got so out of control. They know it didn't happen over night, and they hope to make their lives manageable again. That is part of the healing journey clients take every day.
One client, Esmeralda (name changed) 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, a believer. He would talk to her about the Lord, 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.
A devotion by Stacy Madson, ABCS Ministry Support Specialist - Statewide Operations
We’ve asked a few different people to tell us about their “why” in their ministry area, today we hear about Statewide Operations from Stacy Madson.
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ - Matthew 25:40
Over the past 10 years of serving in this ministry, God has been helping me to see others as He sees them; in the light of His great love for us. Working at the front desk gives me an amazing opportunity to help others in meeting their physical needs through material assistance to welcoming clients who are hurting and seeking counseling. My desire is that those who come into the office will not feel judged, but will feel God’s love through our interactions. Jesus was the greatest example of all as He showed compassion, love, and forgiveness to others even in the act of their sin. Jesus met people right where they were in their hurt and shame; He gave them hope through trust in Him. I pray that even in the midst of a busy or stressful day, we would always remember the importance of taking the time to share God’s love with everyone God brings us in contact with inside and outside the doors of ABCS.
A devotion by Amanda Villareal, Parent Aide Team Supervisor - Pima County
We’ve asked a few different people to tell us about their “why” in their ministry area, today we hear about Parent Aide from Amanda Villareal.
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me. - Romans 15:1-3
A major topic dominate verses 1-3: pleasing others instead of ourselves. We have to ask ourselves, “how can I help those around me? In Parent Aide we work with truly broken families. We have a responsibility as believers to build up and encourage others if they are struggling with certain things. As such it is important for us to endure the struggles of our weaker brothers and sisters without passing judgement. Instead we should strive to encourage and build them up for good.
A devotion by Andrew Shermett, Parent Aide Ministry Support Specialist
We’ve asked a few different people to tell us about their “why” in their ministry area, today we hear about Parent Aide from Andrew Shermett.
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. - James 1:27
For a while now, I have been interested in studying theology, as there are so many opinions about the Bible floating around out there. Every now and again, somebody will post something on social media that I feel inclined to investigate! I recently saw a quote on Facebook that read, “Christianity is a relationship, not a religion.” It stirred my curiosity, so I decided to look into it and found that James, the brother of Jesus, actually addressed this very topic! James clarified what pure, undefiled religion is. Here at ABCS, our Parent Aides get to live this out by caring for widows, orphans, and others who are in desperate need. True religion is not based in traditions or laws, but in showing others the love that Jesus shows us. As somebody who works behind the scenes, I am blessed to be able to support the Parent Aides in their mission of true religion. James also mentioned that we must keep ourselves unspotted from the world. This is how we can shine brightly to those who are lost and in need. My “why” in this ministry is that I want to pursue true, pure, and undefiled religion before God, and cultivate an atmosphere of light-shiners!