This Christmas you have put together more than 220 stockings to deliver to children connected to Grace Point and Living Bible Explorer’s (LBE). LBE is based in the West End, and they minister to children and youth all over the core area, through weekly programs and summer camps.
Maybe you don’t know much about LBE, but we thought it would be great for you to get a little taste of what they do. Below, you will find a story written by Mary Ann Funk for LBE’s Newsletter. Mary Ann is in charge of the Middle Years Program that has met in Grace Point’s building. Every week, the staff and volunteers at LBE visit each of the families of their programs to connect with them, and invite the children to the programs. This is an amazing opportunity to get to know the families and minister to the families who send kids to the programs.
Emma’s Story (with permission)
As I reflect over the many events of summer there is much for which to give praise, but it is the transformation of Emma that stands out the most. Emma is a single mother of seven children. I am their visitor and our friendship has grown deeply over the past six years, especially in the past few months.
This spring, after struggling with one of her children, I connected Emma and her family with Safe Families for Children, a movement fueled by compassion to keep children safe and families intact. Emma’s family was partnered with a wonderful host family from my church: Trinity Baptist Church. A very special bond formed between these two families. Emma’s girls called the host family their “other family.”
Unfortunately, on June 4th, Emma’s children were apprehended by CFS. As we spoke on the phone it was very evident that she was exceedingly distraught. She was very upset that she had not been given a chance to say good-bye to the oldest girls who were taken directly from school.
The next day I accompanied Emma to meet with their social worker. It was a very raw and emotional meeting but God was already working on behalf of this beautiful family. He was moving in the hearts of the Trinity Baptist family, from Safe Families, who agreed to take in the three oldest girls who already knew and trusted them. God also blessed Emma’s youngest four by placing them together in another foster home.
Despite the guilt and shame Emma was experiencing, God was doing some deep healing in her life. Emma started to attend Trinity Baptist where she received powerful prayer ministry. She also agreed to leave the loneliness of the city to help out in the kitchen at Living Bible Explorer’s overnight Bible Camp.
The Holy Spirit moved powerfully among the youth during the Thursday camp fire time. Walls had been coming down throughout the week’s sessions and Father had access to their unguarded hearts. Emma had been encountering God daily through worship and the messages and as I laid my hands on her to pray the water works opened and she experienced the touch of God and heard Him speak to her heart!
The following Sunday I picked Emma up for church. She came out of her house all dressed up looking like a new person! She was literally glowing. I have been amazed by the transformation God has been doing in Emma’s life. She continued to help out during the weeks at camp and attended LBE’s worship and Bible study on Friday evenings. After one of the event’s drop offs Emma and I had an opportunity to go out for coffee. As we sat at the restaurant, like two close friends, she told me that she loves Jesus so much and is so grateful for all He has done for her. She shared that she didn’t recognize the old Emma anymore, that everything about her was new.
Emma continues to work at getting her children back and trusting in God to work all things out. She shared her testimony with her neighbours at LBE’s Weston Community outreach. What a light she is in her own community! I know God has a great plan for her future! Please pray with her for God to keep growing strong in her and that her family will be reunited soon.
I am so grateful to be a part of this beautiful family’s life and for the opportunity to watch God be God, move mountains and transform people’s lives.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
How can you help?
If Mary Ann’s story about Emma has impacted you, and you want to find out more. You could sign up for their newsletter, or, if you really want a taste, they would really appreciate some help with distributing some Christmas Hampers this December. You can contact LBE through their website by clicking here.
Maybe the ministry of Safe Families is interesting to you, and perhaps God is calling you to be one of those safe families. Check out their website by clicking here.