A Shout-Out and a Christmas Gift

Many say that this is “The Season of Giving”. Something about Christmas makes even non-religious people look beyond themselves to the needs of others around them. It’s wonderful! To that end, I wanted to give a little shout out to a ministry that Jared and I have only recently discovered but have been touched personally by.

The night our last two foster children came to our house was terrifying. We had no idea what to expect. I received the call at work and only had time to run to Target for boy sheets and blankets (all we had was girl stuff). They arrived about 6:30 pm filthy and with a bag packed by their family that we were told by the investigator to leave outside until we had time to shake out and wash everything for sanitary reasons. Literally, they came with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They were also both in diapers. We were so unprepared! However, they also came with backpacks given to them by the investigator when she left. The backpacks were packed by a ministry called Bundles of Hope and each contained a pair of pjs, pull-ups, diaper wipes, a blanket (one of which was hand-knitted), a stuffed animal, a toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo, everything we needed to get through the night. The kids were so excited and I can honestly say those backpacks became their most prized possessions. We tell the story often and always end with, “We would not have made it through the night without those backpacks.” Sounds dramatic, and maybe it is but they were a lifesaver.

After the kids left, I began looking for the ministry that provided those “bundles”. I wanted to thank them and, their kindness so moved us that we decided we want to help them in any way we can. I was completely shocked to find out that the entire ministry is run by 4 middle school students who are living proof that God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. Please, check them out:
http://www.bundlesofhope12.org
Recent article about Bundles of Hope in the Joplin Globe

And now for something completely different…as I think about the last year, I feel like God has given us the gift of hope for Christmas this year. I’m not exactly sure what He has planned for us but I’m hopeful for a family. This year we used the phrase “cautiously optimistic” often but I think it’s time to drop the word “cautiously”. After all, we are all-in, go-big-or-go-home type of people! Our family isn’t going to look the way we thought it would 10 years ago. Our family isn’t going to look like our friends’ or families’ and that’s ok.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. (Romans 8:28)

We are awaiting (and truthfully sometimes dreading) our next call from Children’s Division. We also are traveling to St. Louis in January to meet with Bethany Christian Services. We are excited and OPTIMISTIC!

Happiest of New Years!
Much love,
The Blacks

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