An Instant miracle
About 80 pastors & ministry leaders gathered together in December. They laughed, reconnected, and prayed. The meeting came to a close, but one leader still had a personal need. Before she left, she pulled a friend aside to ask for prayer. She was scheduled for a surgery mid-January 2019. Her insurance would change the first of the year, and she’d have to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket. If the surgery was moved to a date in 2018, insurance would cover it entirely.
They prayed for God to move the surgery to December.
Five minutes after the “Amen,” the doctor’s office called because there was an opening in six days!
In tears, they rejoiced for God’s provision and instant response. Miracles like this happen as brothers & sisters carry one another’s burdens & contend for the other’s best; something that networking events don’t provide.
We pray for the health, provision and unity of spiritual leaders - what a great example!
A CHRISTMAS MEMORY:
dhs CHRISTMAS PARTY FOR 265 KIDS
For kids in foster care, Christmas used to look like this: One hour in a small visitation room with their biological parents. Presents... if their parents could bring them.
Ever since churches banded together in Every Child, an effort to collaboratively care for vulnerable children and come alongside DHS, things have changed.
For three years now, eleven churches have partnered to throw a DHS Christmas party. Now, Christmas for children in foster care and their bio families looks like this:
Four hours at a massive Christmas party. Families share meals together, play games, bounce on inflatables, decorate Christmas cookies, and take pictures together with Santa – a lasting memory caught on camera. They hear stories from Mrs. Claus, and every child opens a present, provided by churches & businesses, but given by their parents!
This year, 265 kids & their parents roamed the Christmas festivities. Plus 65 DHS workers & 80 volunteers enjoyed the party too!
Every year we pray that as Jesus-followers host the celebration, families experience healing, parents are empowered to love their kids well, and reconciliation momentum builds.
In the collision of brokenness, trauma, reconciliation, love and hope, God went above & beyond in answering our prayers:
A Heartfelt Connection: A mother lay on the couch with her 15 month old on her lap. They laughed & laughed, connecting eye-to-eye; a loving interaction, surely bringing healing to the trauma of their separation.
God Drawing a Parent | A bio parent in his early twenties reflected, “Wow, it’s been years since I’ve been in this church. The last time I was here, I was in the middle school group.” An Every Child volunteer said she could see the Lord reminding him of those days, and inviting him back.
New Shoes | One boy has a disability that requires him to have specially-tailored shoes. He put the shoes on his gift wish list, though they exceeded the $25 limit. When he opened his present, his shoes were inside, and he put them on immediately! The smile didn’t leave his face or his case worker’s all day, thanks to the generosity of an unnamed present purchaser.
Encouraged DHS worker | A DHS employee volunteered for the whole party, refusing to take a break because he didn’t want to miss a thing. Seeing families connect
together was a joy for him, compared to his job which requires him to terminate parental rights.
Santa | Kids visited Santa over and over, some more than eight times. One boy even decorated a cookie for Santa!
Here’s our favorite story that illustrates what we’re believing for long-term:
A high-level DHS employee pulled the Every Child Director aside, in shock and awe. She pointed out a 10-year-old, as he & his bio dad prepared to say goodbye. They had two wonderful hours together, and she couldn’t believe it. Ever since the boy entered care, his weekly visitation has ended in such significant meltdowns that DHS has to call an intervention service to calm him down. She said, “I was keeping an eye on him, waiting for that happen. I can’t believe it, but they just had two quality hours together with no meltdown!” The Every Child Director then shared that we prayed for peaceful, healing interactions like that one!
Our long-term prayer: Peace in the presence of God, fostered by caring Jesus-followers, as fragile, separated families come back together.
the mission’s new director
We asked God to lead the process & selection of the Eugene Mission’s next Executive Director, and Sheryl Balthrop was selected! She’s a long-time resident of Eugene with a wide-variety of experience as a lawyer and president of the Eugene Chamber of Commerce. She is also an active member of First Baptist Church. She has a heart for Lane County, the unhoused population, and a collaborative vision for the future!
A BRand new wheelchair
Here is a pastor’s testimony about a praying church family, a man named Hoover & his new wheelchair!
“Hoover is a vibrant part of our community and hands out Bibles wherever he goes. Due to MS, Hoover is also a quadriplegic who depends on a specialized wheelchair. The motors broke down, as Hoover waited on insurance. His repair requests were denied three times, and he wasn’t due for a new chair for months.
During that time, Hoover was hospitalized and then entered a care facility. Doctors were unwilling to send him home because of his broken wheelchair. As weeks went by, Hoover worried he would have to be moved to long-term care. If that happened, the insurance company would not approve a new chair. A new chair would cost more than $16,000.
Hoover said it would take a miracle for the insurance company to approve a chair so he could return home. We sent his need out on the church’s prayer list
The next morning, Hoover called me sounding like a new man. The insurance company called with the news: they approved a new chair, and it would arrive within two weeks!”
Teachers Pray for Principal
A group of Christian teachers pray at a Springfield school weekly. Last year, they learned their principal resigned and they began to pray for their next principal. This year, they were overjoyed to learn the new principal is a Jesus-follower!
OVERDOSES + GOD’S MERCY
This Fall, Lane County saw 23 fentanyl overdoses in four days. Doctors consider it a miracle that no one died due to overdose. We thank God for His mercy, and the publicity warnings of opiate risks. We prayed for God to expose drug abuse & intervene in the area of opiate addiction.
a miracle of growing trust | DHS, Foster Parents + The Church
In January, Every Child and CAFA will launch an 8-week TIPS class for foster parents in Lane County. It’s training to care for children impacted by trauma. Foster parents will attend free-of-cost, along with dinner and childcare! The training will be held at First Baptist in Eugene, and it will also be simulcast to five rural towns. Teams of churches in Florence, Veneta, Junction City, Creswell & Cottage Grove will host the satellite sites.
Here’s the miracle: DHS is inviting all Lane County foster parents! They’re thrilled about the material & presenter.
One pastor, and longtime foster parent, held back tears as he expressed the tremendous trust that’s developed between DHS & churches through Every Child. When he became a foster parent, he never thought he’d see something like this happen between churches and the foster care system.
An Every Child volunteer reflected on the change she’s seen in DHS staff since God’s people started serving through Every Child.“ From providing breakfast for DHS workers & organizing unmanaged clothing closets, to recruiting more foster parents & babysitters, the impact on staff is visible: They know we are Christians. They believe we don’t have a secret agenda. They trust us. They say ‘Thank you.’ They expect to see us again. What hasn’t changed is their shock and gratitude to know they’re appreciated, and that we do it together.”