Nurturing a community
(Mother and Pastor, Gisborne NZ)
These words from the book of James have always inspired me: “True spirituality that is pure in the eyes of our Father God is to make a difference in the lives of the orphans, and widows in their troubles…” - James 1:27 (The Passion)
At Shout Conference 2017 Judge Andrew Beacroft, NZ’s Commissioner said, “One of the best things you can offer your community is good, quality foster care and respite care.”
This confirmed something that I believe God had placed on my heart - Fostering.
A few weeks later I met a Social Worker who knew nothing about me. She said that Oranga Tamariki (formally known as Child, Youth and Family) have a huge shortage of Caregivers in Gisborne.
Shortly after, at a leaders Meeting, one of our leaders said this: “There is a grief on your heart. It is a grief for the community. It is a grief from God. You have been carrying it alone...we will support the burden that is on your heart.” I knew immediately that God was saying to me that “fostering” is not just for my family, but that He is calling Equippers to foster Gisborne.
Jeremiah 29:7 NLT - “This is what the Lord says... ‘work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you... Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.’” The NIV says about our city, “if it prospers, you too will prosper”.
We can all in some way nurture, help, support our community. So far three families from our Church have completed the Caregiver training. Between us we are now fostering a 16 year old boy, a 12 year old girl and a newborn baby. Another lady and another family are also informally providing respite care for children and families.
This is just the beginning.
I believe that we will “foster whole families” (keeping parent/s and children together but have them living with another family who can support/nurture/equip them).
I believe that we will have facilities where parents can be equipped through programs around parenting, relationships, grief; receive counselling for parents and/or children; budgeting advice; lessons on how to cook, care for children and manage their home.
Going into all the world for us means seeing God transform families in Gisborne.