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Preserving Dignity and Promoting Diligence

by Debbie Marini, Interim Executive Director

"For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.'" (Deuteronomy 15:11)

Christmas is around the corner. Praise the Lord for the gift of our Savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ. At Baptist Family & Children's Services, it is an opportunity to humbly observe those that take the command above to heart. Our Good Samaritan Network staff is accepting calls from churches and individuals interested in supporting our Christmas Outreach Project -- the GSN Christmas Stores. We have selected several sites, some familiar and some new, to serve 1,300 kids this season!

In thinking about the Mission of the Stores, we have in the forefront the true gift of

sharing Christ's saving love with those we meet along the way. We also aim to preseve the dignity of the needy that come to receive. This is done in the way they are treated when they walk through the doors, with compassion and humility:

"I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:12-13)

At our back-to-school stores we began to ask those who came to receive if they were pleased with the treatment they received at the GSN Stores and 98% of those surveyed said "Yes!" Being welcoming and not judging is a gift the volunteers at the Stores clearly excel in.

Finally, we aim to promote the diligence of the needy that come to receive. We do this by asking them to give a canned good or a dollar in exchange for what they will receive. We also ask those that come to the stores to provide their contact information so that the arms of the church can extend to them beyond that day. While a large percentage may not return, those that do will be nourished in their faith and supported by their faith community.

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If any one wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?'" (Matthew 16:24-26)

The Good Samaritan Christmas Stores are accepting your generous donations and/or offers to help in a volunteer capacity. Please contact Kate Macdonald, of the Good Samaritan Network, at 800-621-8834, extension 109, for more information. We are thrilled to serve another year -- preserving dignity and promoting diligence!

PRAYER REQUESTS

...for devastating events that have occurred within a few of our CHOSEN families: for the mother of a foster mom had a stroke late last month; for a foster mom whose brother was struck by a car and passed away earlier this month - the 4th family member she has lost in a year - as well as the unexpected removal of her foster youth at the child's request; for a foster dad whose brother passed away suddenly; and another foster dad who lost his half-brother a couple days after being rushed to the ER.

...for an elderly GSN client who will undergo a kidney procedure, we ask a quick recovery and for her fears about the hospital to be dispelled.

...for an 11-year-old foster child whose biological mother has been inconsistent in her contact with him, leading him to exhibit tantrum behaviors, and for his foster mom as she offers support and care to help him deal with it.

...for a teenage CHOSEN girl who continues to leave home without permission for extended periods. This is compromising her safety and may require that she be placed in a higher level of care.

...for another teenage CHOSEN girl who has left home without permission and has not returned.

...for a former GSN and volunteer family who completed their housing program without success and had to leave with few alternatives. Please remember their 2 high school age children who may be sent to shelters.

...for the husband of a former staff member who has stage II pancreatic cancer and will begin chemotherapy on February 25.

...for the quick recovery of a 3-month-old infant boy who had surgery.

...for a foster mom who is considering whether to take in a difficult placement that was referred to us.

Answered Prayers!

Note: Names have been changed, where necessary, to protect the identities of our kids and families.

We are so thankful for the prayer warriors who have partnered with us! We see His answers every day.

Regarding our prayer for new families to step forward, we had 6 families graduate from CHOSEN pre-service training last month, and 2 families expressed interest in becoming Safe host families after hearing our presentation at Calvary Baptist Church in Bel Air.

We are grateful for a woman who responded to our last Prayer Gram and donated 2 boxes of diapers.

Many thanks to the two who responded to the need of a Safe Families host family who was struggling to pay for car repairs. One of the donors was also a Safe Families host family.

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