Happy Summer, Everyone! Here is a glimpse at what's happening...
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:15
Last summer, our Leadership Team was reading Experiencing God together and asking God where we could join Him in what He was doing around us. He invited us to join Him with other volunteers and the staff at a local children’s home providing dinner and “church” for the guys and girls living in two of the cottages there.
A year later, we are beginning to see fruit!
Recently, the girls have been consistently coming to church with their staff. So far, six of them have come to Christ through the love and counsel of Phillip and Rhonda Skinner, the children’s home staff, and other volunteers. Three of these girls have been baptized and are now being discipled by Rhonda and several staff members there. It’s wonderful to see God bringing beauty from the ashes in their lives!
Some of the guys are asking good (and sometimes hard) questions, but there are still big obstacles for them in coming to Christ. We remind ourselves that our job is to provide truth and love, and we must leave the results to God. We know that God’s Word does not return void, so He is planting seeds that may not germinate in our sight, but will produce fruit at some point in the future.
Please continue to pray for these teenagers - that they will all come to a real and personal relationship with Jesus, be healed from their life experiences, and embrace hope. Please pray that all who work with them - staff and volunteers alike - will have unconditional love, wisdom and discernment in everything they do.
Would you perhaps be interested in helping to support Cultivate's work at the local children's home? The first Monday of each month, Cultivate provides dinner for the two cottages mentioned in the previous section of this post. If you would be interested in helping us prepare our monthly meal for them, please contact Elise at 678-571-6094.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if middle schoolers could begin identifying their “design” so that by high school, they could know their strongest aptitudes and be already exploring potential careers?
Elise, and her daughter-in-law Mary, are currently discussing how this might become a reality. (Mary works with under-resourced children at a local middle school.) Together, they are exploring the different facets of COMPASS with middle schoolers in mind. For example, they are researching fun activities that can reveal different aptitudes. Identifying aptitudes without using assessments would be beneficial for kids who struggle with test anxiety or have educational gaps.
Please pray that this collaboration will help the under-resourced kids in our spheres of influence embrace their God-given potential.
“… Today I graduated! I just wanted to thank you for everything. I couldn’t have done it without you!” Madison, COMPASS 2020.
Since we have been doing this for a few years now, we get to celebrate milestones with some of the emerging adults who have come to us for mentoring. In May, Madison earned her Radiologic Technologist degree and accepted a job offer.
On another note, John, one of the very first students Elise met with for vocational discipleship, obtained his architectural degree this spring. He and others like him have pushed through some really hard challenges in their college years and are now exploring employment opportunities.
Whenever you become aware of job openings in your field of expertise, please let us know. We may know a young adult who could be a qualified candidate.
In July, we will begin collaborating with the education staff at the children’s home to tailor COMPASS (our vocational discipleship process) to meet the needs of kids who are aging out of the foster care system, and to seek to provide discipleship activities through the education department. We have already started working with one young man who is a gifted artist. It took a few weeks to get all the needed permissions, but we are using one of our Adobe licenses to train him in digital art.
As you may well know, foster teens have experienced life situations that are very difficult. We are realizing that we need more training so that we can be better mentors, not only for these teens, but for others that come to us with similar issues. One of Ken’s mentees introduced us to some training that is available through the National Association of Christian Counselors. We plan to begin this training soon.
Cultivate is committed to providing services free of charge. This means our ability to continue to do what we do is wholly dependent on God continuing to send 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. Visit Cultivatenext.org/give or simply text the word "Cultivate" to 77977 from your mobile phone. You can also contact Elise@cultivatenext.org for more information.