I was in Sedona, Arizona for a few days. I was blessed with the opportunity to pray, to read, to reflect. I will do a few posts from those days, and title them, “Reflections from Red Rock Country” series.
I was on a retreat and vacation, and therefore decided to treat myself to an event that has hardly ever happened to me: to enjoy a coffee and a newspaper at a local cafe.
The coffee was delicious (a 12 oz french press brew of “House Blend” from locally roasted beans), and the weather was fantastic. But what really fed my soul was reading two incredible stories.
One story was about a couple from the Phoenix area who decided to be volunteer as foster parents. The woman had been through the foster care system herself and so knew what it meant to have an environment that felt like a good temporary home and be emotionally supported through what seems like a vastly uncertain future.
You’ll find the link to the family’s story at the end of this post. The story is short, but so very deep. It touched me at the core of my being because it showed that God does do miracles…but often needs our help in completing the task. The woman admitted that she and her husband were not thinking of being “in it for the long run.” They wanted to provide a home for children until the foster care system could reunite the parents with the children. They only thought of themselves as a “haven” for potential children who needed a safe place while the original parent(s) got their act together.
In the case of the Parks, they ended up with the opportunity to adopt. And they whole-heartedly accepted. Read the article to see how little by little the Parks moved from “transitional home” to “permanent home” for two very promising teens. What was the downer in the article was the statistic that there are not enough volunteers to run helpful programs of the foster care system in Arizona. Again, God can’t make us do good things. We have to be willing and ready to give of our time when it’s called for.
The other article that wacked me in the face as a wake up call was about five high school teens who were not only doing well in school, and involved in extracurricular activities, but were also faithful volunteers. One story that was engraved in my thoughts for awhile was the one about Trey Gass. He’s a star football player, and also has a love for promoting the good work of “Streetlight,” a project to end child prostitution in the USA. He met some of the girls who had escaped their prostitution, and some were 14 years old. The same age of his sister. Trey has been fundraising and speaking about the good work of the organization since then. He has so much on his plate, and yet gives so much dedication to this worthy cause. His story and others are at the bottom of this post or click here.
So what do I do? With the time that I have, the talent I am given….what does it go towards? I hope that question can inspire any of us to say “Yes, Jesus, I am listening,” and then start giving our time, talent, and funds to something bigger than our selves. Volunteering changes the world, one person at a time.
- “A gift of hope and home”/”Phoenix couple completes family with adoption of twins” by Connie Cone Sexton (azcentral.com)