Jesus Cares...and He makes a difference!
    We just passed graduation month. You know... caps and gowns, lots of children and young adults receiving diplomas, students full of excitement for their future. Depending on what phase of life you are in, you might have attended one or two of these recently. The ones we celebrated this year carried some very special memories for us. The memories are of a magnitude that I could never share fully in this newsletter. I can recall young mamas in agony over facing single motherhood, the grief of dashed dreams, and the terrifying fears of futures that seem so beyond their control. Yet those thoughts are contrasted with prodigals who came home to face their pain and fears alongside of a powerful and forgiving God who held out the gift of mercy as He exchanged beauty for ashes. I have had the privilege of watching these mamas down through the years, not always perfect but perfectly united to a Savior who could accomplish far greater victory with His mighty right arm than they could have ever imagined. With their permission and with great privilege, we share with you, our faithful supporters, what has been accomplished in the lives of those that have been impacted by the ministry of Jesus Cares. We invite you to share in our joy at the life changing power of the gospel in these lives as you see the fruit of a changed life evidenced in the next generation.
Sarah and Tristan's Story

   “At 18 years of age, I had moved out of my home and was hopping from house to house on my own. I had turned my back on God and embraced the world and everything that came with it. I was caught up in a whirlwind of drugs, a fast life, and a roller coaster of mental illness. I almost died multiple times, ended up in a drug rehab, and a mental hospital. Not even a year later, I found myself pregnant and at Jesus Cares doorstep. I turned my life back over to the Lord and embraced his plan for me as a young mother. I was truly saved through childbearing, and the day I held that sweet baby boy in my arms I knew I could never go back to the way things were. It wouldn't always be easy, but that day I truly committed myself to raising him to love the Lord with all his heart, soul and mind.”

   “At 18 years of age, (on June 29th) Tristan is a patient, easy going young man with a kind and gentle spirit. He loves Jesus and adores his 3 little sisters. He is a hard worker and always willing to lend a helping hand. He will be the first to admit that he is a Star Wars and technology nerd! He enjoys helping others with their computer problems and graduates from our home school with 27 college credits towards his AAS in Computer Network Engineering. He is taking the summer off from school to go to church youth camp and serving on the church media team, as well as spending time with our family. He will also finish building his Storm trooper costume so he can join the Star Wars 501st charity group which goes to children's hospitals and participates in local charity events.”
            Sarah entered our women's maternity program in 1998. After giving birth, she trembled as she thought of putting her newborn in childcare. She so wanted to protect him under her wings! We prayed for the Lord to make a way for her by providing a career that would be adequate enough to sustain her as a single mother and eventually an opportunity to be a stay at home mom. Quite a tall order for the time but nothing is too difficult for ourGod. In 2003 Sarah and Brandon, Tristan's father, were married and by 2004 she was a happy homeschooling mommy with job opportunities she could do from the home. The Lord picked her up from the mire as she called out to Him (Psalm 40:1-2). He set her feet upon a rock... the Rock of Christ! What an inspiration to see her son walk a different path because Jesus made a difference! 

Enid and Desmond's Story

   At 18 Enid had dropped out of school. She was working to support herself, and would admit to sowing a few wild oats! Many aspirations had filled her heart but somehow, as a new American citizen immigrating from Sierra Leone, the ability to follow her dreams was evading her. A few years later, in her early twenties, she found herself pregnant and hopeless, with thoughts of swallowing bleach swimming around in her head. She had made an appointment to terminate the pregnancy but the Lord quickly intervened with His plans for Desmond, as he would come to be named by his mama. As she was contemplating swallowing the potentially deadly drink, there was a knock at her door. On the other side stood a young family who had lived in her complex, extending an invitation to go to church with them. They stayed and chatted a little longer than she wanted and by the time they left her appointment at the women's center had come and gone. She would need to reschedule but that appointment never came to fruition. Neither did her appointment with the bottle of bleach. Through another series of divine interventions, Enid arrived at our doorstep still pregnant with her firstborn child. She was pregnant with something else that she didn't expect when she chose not to terminate the pregnancy. Hope had been stirred in her heart and redemption was on its way to bring her and her child to a brand new path paved with mercy and divine possibilities.

   As I watched Desmond coming onto the stage, I was poised to give my best whistle. Not very feminine but a unique gift that had been bestowed upon me as a mother of many children. When feeling like the mother who lived in the shoe with so many children she did not know what to do, it did come in handy when things got a little rowdy around the home. Nothing like a piercing whistle to stop hostile arguments! This time the famous whistle would announce my joy at the young man who was now walking across the stage. A young man full of potential, wisdom, and in his own words, “complete faith in the Lord.” Not only was I blessed to know His Godly character, zealous pursuit of education, and hard work ethic but the young men who were also there cheering him on, his closet friends, had the sweetest spirits and exuded genuine faith in the Lord as well. Time has gone by so quickly. Jesus has made all the difference in Desmond's life. He is preparing for college and intends to pursue a career in law. 
    One of the teachings Enid received at Jesus Cares that she would constantly fall back on was a unique lesson from the avian world. The cowbird was an encroacher that would neglect its young by laying their eggs in the nest of another bird in order to go about a carefree life of ease. The expectation would be upon this stranger to take on the cowbird's responsibility. Enid was fascinated with this story and convinced she would never imitate the irresponsible behaviors of the cowbird. She was determined to learn her lessons well. When I would call her over the years to announce a surplus of food and toiletry items in the ministry, she would immediately say, “I do not want to be a cowbird!” What a joy to know that a simple lesson had such an impact. We are so blessed to be a part of this precious family for almost 20 years. We are affectionately called, “My White Mom” and “My White Dad.” The Lord has blessed us with an African child and grandchildren who love the Lord.
Catie and Sue's Story
   “Going back from when I was a little girl, about 5 years old all the way until I was about 28 years old my life was rough. My Mom passed away from breast cancer when I was 10 years old. My biological father abandoned me my entire life. My step-dad raised me after my mom passed. Our relationship was often rocky. I struggled with feelings of abandonment and that led me to involvement in an unhealthy relationship. I had a child and struggled with knowing what would be best for her. During this time, I shut out my family and the people who really loved and cared for me. I basically wasn’t listening to anyone and made bad choices.

Text Box:  Catie and Sue    I was also not very happy. I had anger built up inside and grief. It was around this time that I was introduced to Jesus Cares Ministries by my uncle. They introduced me to GOD and helped me untangle the grief and pain. I am a much different and better person now. I have changed; I can feel it myself. I can be an even better mother and the mother I want to be to my daughter because I now look up to GOD and allow him to take the wheel and control of everything. I have forgiven everyone I needed to forgive so I don’t have anger built up inside anymore and so all of this combined turned me into a different person in a positive way. I am much happier now on top of turning my life around for the best not only for me but more importantly for my daughter, Sue. All of this happened because of GOD being in my life and working with the ministry for 3-6 years. Every day I look up to GOD and know I can have and get everything I need and want from Him.”

            This little graduate is safer thanks to family members that have helped to provide a good support system and a mama that has taken steps to uncover her own loss issues in order to move towards healing. Sue is not the only graduate in this family. As Catie and I met for our last session recently, she closed the last page of her workbook. Catie has been working hard on a course with Jesus Cares Ministries that identifies abandonment issues and introduces the participants to a relationship with the Heavenly Father. This month marks a one and a half year journey through this book. Catie went through her own graduation, from ashes to beauty from despair to amazing hope for her future. She has some other mountains to conquer but we have been greatly privileged to walk alongside of her and will continue to be a support system for Catie and Sue.

            We are grateful that her family cared enough to seek out the support system of Jesus Cares Ministries. We are honored to see the fruit of two generations touched by the hand of the Savior.

Congratulations Graduates

            On behalf of the board and ministry partners of Jesus Cares we congratulate our graduates and the hard working, Jesus-loving mommies and caring family members that made their graduations possible!

            This passage sums up the newsletter so appropriately. It describes our heart to see His work carry on from one generation to the next among those we have seen restored and redeemed through Jesus Cares Ministries:

"Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts."
Psalm 145:3-4

 Thank you for making all of this possible!

Jesus  Cares