If you are a part of the christian or even just the humanitarian community of Statesboro, you have probably heard of this organization; Fostering Bulloch. They have been making headlines in our community as they continue to serve - far beyond bulloch county - with all of their heart, soul, passion, and God-given talents. I know for a long time I heard of this organization and knew with a name like that, they had to be doing something amazing. But then I started hearing stories. Stories from camp they do every year, stories of how they were helping families in crisis, stories of how they were meeting people where they're at, and stories of God's hand - MIRACLES - in the midst of their ministry. Once I started hearing these stories and seeing how many people were being impacted through their ministry, I became more curious.
Each January we do a first Sunday serve as a church where we shut down the facility and worship with our hands as a community. Yep, when I became a part of this church this exact mindset was a huge reason. It's always a fun Sunday for kids, students, and adults. I honestly feel like it's one of the most worshipful Sundays of the year.. but that's just my opinion :) you can tell this is definitely my cup of tea. When the staff began planning for this last November, Lisa Joyner brought up the idea of partnering with Fostering Bulloch for our 2019 Sunday Serve. We knew a lot of our congregation had served with them before, would recognize the name and be all in! Little did we know we would have the highest percentage of people there for a Sunday serve EVER. When I say it was a huge success I mean that in more ways than one, it was one of the most amazing days! Through the planning of all of this, my opportunity arose to learn more about this organization. To say my outreach heart was excited is just barely scratching the surface of my emotions... I was pumped! In preparation Cheryl, Dennis, and I (this is Katie writing hiiii) went to check out the hope chest in downtown where the clothes closet and warehouse are located. Cheryl and Dennis are well seasoned pros with the hope chest, so really I was tagging along for the fun of it and to soak in as much as possible. When we arrived Chris Yaughn - the director - met us. He was so warm and genuinely excited to see us. I am pretty sure he never meets a stranger. He showed us around and told us of needs for the January outreach. I then told Him that I wanted to learn all I could about what they do. He laughed and said "me too". He walked around for about 45 minutes sharing with me story after story, victory after victory, their beginnings, and some amazing testimonies of how God had moved. I learned that they exist to share the love of Christ with children in crisis situations in real ways. I learned about the 7th Mile farm, what happens at hope chest weekly, their camp for foster children, their heart for the foster care system, and how they are continually saying yes to whatever God puts in front of them. It was amazing. During that conversation Chris brought up the idea for a yard sale too... you could tell his wheels were always turning to find ways to advance the kingdom in big ways. Our serve came and it rocked. I mean, ROCKED. I don't think I will ever forget that Sunday. While we were there Chris talked to me again about the yard sale and I told him without hesitation (I was excited) that we were down to do it.
In December of last year we had a leadership meeting where staff, elders, and spouses got together to dream, pray, and plan for 2019. During this meeting we took a survey of what people could "get behind" at Southbridge. The number one thing from the survey was outreach. As a staff, we were ecstatic. We felt like we were making our way back to our roots! We planned to begin a once per month Saturday serve starting in February and we really thought that we would partner with a food kitchen to start off. Lisa started reaching out to plan, but here we are... and our first Saturday serve of the year is with Fostering Bulloch. But you know, I don't think it was an accident or just me saying yes on a whim to a yard sale. I got dinner with a group of ladies a few months ago, and while we were there we all started talking about foster care and adoption. One was thinking about the idea of foster care, one was in the process with her husband to begin foster parent classes, and I was in this stage of noticing how many in our church have adopted, serve in foster care, or serve with fostering bulloch. As the conversation progressed, we mentioned that maybe that's one of our calls as a church that sets us apart... Being the church that supports serving the orphan well! The church that is known for bringing the fatherless in and loves them like they have never been loved while directing them straight to the heavenly father's table. It was a beautiful conversation and gave me a lot of hope. I'm not going to label it right now and say for sure that's the call on Southbridge.. maybe that's just a dream I have or maybe it's from the Lord. Only time will tell, right?
One of the beautiful things that I can say I have learned from Fostering Bulloch is to put the yes on the table whenever God opens a door. I know this Saturday is an excellent one to say yes to. One thing I do know is that as we seek after the Lord together and say yes to the things he places in front of us, he will continue to mold us in beautiful ways. We hope you will say yes this weekend and join the outreach conversation this semester. If God continues to open doors each month for us to serve with this amazing organization, you better believe we will be there and we hope you will be there with us heart and soul.
If you would like to know more about Fostering Bulloch and ways to serve we would love to help get you connected. If you would like to know more about the foster care system we would love to sit down and have a conversation. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any of these questions. Love you all! Enjoy the pics from January. :)