At the point when I was introduced to Family Promise it was still in the plan¬ning stages. My Pastor then, Kenneth Green, asked me to meet with Ann Park and Sara Loeppert to see if this would be a ministry the church would consider as an outreach ministry.
After this initial meeting at Hastings in College Station in the summer of 2007, First Church officially became a I host church in August ’07. I can recall there being only 4-5 churches involved including First Church-CS at the time.
I serve as the Volunteer Coordinator for First Church-CS and a volunteer for the Day Facility. Initially, volunteering at the Day Facility had become an everyday event. I had to laugh at myself when I realized that most of my time was spent at 1806 Wilde I Oak Circle during that first year. The 2-5:15 time slot and my work schedule fit perfectly allowing me the time to spend at the Day Center. No, I am not there as much as in the past. But I will continue to be a volun¬teer at the Day facility.
At First Church-CS, it is my responsibil¬ity to oversee that everything is ready to welcome FP guests when they ar¬rive. As a matter-of-fact, it was a bit overwhelming preparing for the very first Rotation. First Church-CS is a small church with a small member¬ship, but the members have such BIG HEARTS. At the beginning of this program, even I questioned if First Church would be able to do this. Immediately, the doubt was erased when some creative and ener¬getic volunteers began planning how to section off our sanctuary allowing ample space to accommodate 14 guests comfortably. First Church opened its doors October 19, 2008, to 13 FP guests. When only 2-families are in the program it has become more convenient to set up in the Nurs¬ery and Lab rooms. The First Church Family believes we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
Beginning with the 2010 rotations, there have been great changes for the better. More volunteers have been recruited from the “Powered Singles on Pursuit.” This group of singles is doing a magnificent job in covering areas from preparing meals – staying overnight and driving in the AM. It is no longer necessary for me to be at the church every day. Parents are bringing their youth and children to fellowship/socialize with our guest children. Wendi Peterson is the influ¬ential force behind all of the new volunteers. This group was a much needed unit, in that, some of the re-sponsibilities were lifted from many of the original volunteers who have been there for every host week since we became involved in Family Program.
I enjoy most being able to provide a safe space for families to stay to¬gather; to see them reach goals they’ve set for themselves to regain their independence.
I am proud to be a part of this won¬derful ministry and I wish it was some way that we could get the idea over to other churches that becoming a host church is relatively easy. If your church can’t host families, connect with another church and do what you can or volunteer on your own.
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