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2024 - New Year, New Horizons



I love the new year.  For me, it is always a reboot of sorts - a chance to evaluate, set the course, and head forward in “the race marked out for us” (Heb 12:1)




At our Annual Event last year, we presented these startling statistics about what happens when foster youth age out of the current government based care system. At our Annual Board meeting a few weeks ago, we decided unanimously to create a workgroup and launch an initiative to intensify our research into this problem and ways Cultivate could potentially help foster youth now and in the future. This year is slated to be a year of exploration and learning for Cultivate like none before.


We will be having conversations with people and organizations who are already doing the work of helping foster youth transition into adulthood.  This past month, we were able to have a Zoom meeting with Mark and Dori Carpenter of Created Ministries near Birmingham. Their organization has an innovative approach to ease foster youth who have aged out into the responsibilities of independent living, while providing stability in housing and food.  Mentors, called “Lifters” (Don’t you just love that?), provide job placement assistance, life skills, and encouragement.  We learned a lot from our conversation and enjoyed talking with people who are like-minded.


Over the month of February, we will be talking with representatives from Winshape Homes, Junior Achievement, and Big Oak Ranch.  


THANK YOU to those of you who are providing contacts and resources in this endeavor.  We will keep you posted as the year progresses.

 




“Mrs. Elise, why can’t I do witchcraft and be a Christian at the same time?” … 😳… Well, I’ve never been asked that before!  It came from the heart of someone who is really trying to learn and understand Truth but is coming from a troubled past.  Please pray for her and for the challenges that are ahead of her.  Please ask God to help her to understand that His "no" is always for our good.  Please ask Him to provide a way for her to get all the help that she needs.


There are 5 girls that Rhonda and Phillip Skinner have invested in at a local children's home over the last 18 months who are now scattered around the State of Georgia in various foster facilities preparing them for transitioning out of care.  Phillip and Rhonda came up with an innovative way to keep the spiritual conversation going.  They started by sending a short devotional each day via Instagram. Recently, they began doing a weekly Google Meet Bible Study. The girls are enjoying digging into God's Word and better understanding what it means to be a follower of Jesus. One of the girls has even invited friends to join the group! 🥰 Please pray for these young women as they grow in their relationship with the Lord and look toward their future.  Please pray for Rhonda and Phillip as they continue to build these relationships and try to discern how to best help them grow into godly young women.


 


Beth is an exuberant young woman whose design is full of creativity and natural leadership qualities.  It was fun to watch as she discovered things about herself, and embraced what she was learning through COMPASS. 


She wrote - “Mrs. Elise was able to highlight what was most important with my strengths and with this to identify what I was naturally gravitating towards… This taught me I had more to offer than I realized.”


Beth is planning to pursue a business/marketing degree in order to use her photography/film skills in website and social media design.  We can’t wait to see what God does through her life!


 



February is the month of love but because of SYMBIS (Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts) mentoring, Cultivate is always celebrating love!  We are constantly blown away by the fact that God uses the story of our own marital dysfunction and brokenness to teach and encourage young couples before they get started in marriage. He is so sweet in how He uses even our bad for His good and His glory.


The first thing discussed with a SYMBIS couple is their "mindset" coming into the marriage.  There are 5 marriage mindsets in the SYMBIS profile (RESOLUTE / RATIONAL / ROMANTIC / RESTLESS / RELUCTANT) We are encouraged that most couples we work with are moving into marriage with a RESOLUTE mindset.  They are committed for life through the good, the bad, and the ugly.  


Ken and I came into marriage differently. He was RESOLUTE, but I was a ROMANTIC. This means I had an idealistic approach to marriage. He was going to be my knight on the white horse and we were going to ride off into the sunset.  Ken would often tell me, “I choose to love you,” and that would tick me off!  I wanted all the “feels” rather than the commitment.  Now that we have been married over 34 years and he has seen my good, bad, and very ugly - I’m so thankful he still chooses to love me… and in case you are wondering, I’m a RESOLUTE now!


We appreciate your prayers on behalf of all the young couples we are mentoring.  As you well know, our culture seriously attacks life-long love.  


 

PRAYER TEXTING IS ABOUT TO LAUNCH...



We have established a texting service to send you notices when the need for prayer is imminent.  If you signed up for it at our Annual event last year, you will begin receiving texts in February. If you would like to be added to this list, you can join by clicking HERE.


 

THANK YOU!


Cultivate is committed to provide most of its services free of charge. This means our ability to continue to do what we do is wholly dependent on God raising up supporters who believe in this ministry and generously support this work financially.


So many of you already support Cultivate through your prayers and financial support. We cherish your continued support and cannot tell you how thankful we are for your partnership. If you aren't yet a Cultivate partner, we ask that you consider joining our support team.


The easiest way to give is to use our online platform, provided by PushPay. Click here or text the word "Cultivate" to 833-245-6481 from your mobile phone. You can also contact elise@cultivatenext.org for more information.







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