Hearts of Gratitude – 2019
One year. 12 months. 365 days.
Time brings forth great impact.
God can move mountains in these moments. People can love deeply in these minutes. Innovation can happen in these seconds. Another year of pursuing God’s promise, chasing His commands and partnering with His people – a year we would like to share with you. With renewals, support, funding and partnerships, Florida 1.27 (Live the Promise) has celebrated a year of victory for the Kingdom of God. We are humbled, grateful and excited to share some big picture moments of God’s victories through our ministry.
Firstly, we renewed our annual agreement with the State Child Welfare System. This reestablishes the financial commitment that helps the Live the Promise model to grow. The financial support enables us to continue to create more Care Communities around vulnerable children and their families. The act of renewal shows acknowledgement of the state’s need for church support, which in turn bridges a gap between government and faith. “We view this as a Kingdom praise because God is uniting our government and His commandments to serve those in need,” says Brian Strawser.
Thanks to the state’s commitment to our non-profit and our ministry, we are able to be the catalyst to train and support new church partners to engage and launch more Community Care teams that serve foster families, kinship care and adoptive families. This reveals that we are being good stewards of government money by taking in resources and multiplying them. “It has really been the fish and the loaves. The government is giving us a little and we are multiplying it with the churches support,” explains Brian. It is humbling to witness more people step in wanting to learn and act.
We are also praising and celebrating the grant funding we received from 100 Shares Tampa Bay. With this funding we have developed a software application, The Care Calendar, to help manage and communicate the volunteer work that is being done within our many Care Communities. This new software articulates the needs of the family and then makes volunteer responses trackable. Knowing how each volunteer has served the family allows for a more effective, efficient and peaceful serving experience. It eliminates overlap, overwhelm and untimely help. The heart of this is to make serving easier and receiving more tangible. The Care Calendar is a communication platform designed specifically for a Care Community and the family it serves. It has been developed and built with a roll out date of January 2020. The software will be shared with all participating churches at no cost.
Lastly, we are rejoicing in our partnership with Care Portal, a platform of The Global Orphan Project. Florida 1.27 has signed an agreement to serve as an exclusive implementing partner in Hillsborough County. We are currently finalizing our funding commitments with our State Welfare System to launch the Care Portal in the new year. Care Portal provides an additional pool to connect our church members to the known and tangible needs of many families in vulnerable situations throughout our county. It allows the opportunity for a Case Manager to post the need of a family and then someone from the church responds to meet that need. Those needs can be met by providing physical or relational support. Physical needs are met by donating items such as: cribs, car seats, assistance with rent, utilities, and more. Relationships can then develop through additional opportunities of providing ongoing support within a church community.
- Preventative: Keep families intact to avoid placements into foster care.
- Foster: helps support needs of foster, kinship care, and adoptive families.
- Reunification: Providing support to help sustain families after their children have successfully returned from a foster care placement.
2019 has been a year of unification and growth for Florida 1.27. “I see these little fires, whether it is a church or individual, with passion for children and families. I see a unification in our local community and nation,” Rachell Strawser explains, “We are experiencing unified efforts. We, the church, are bridging arms. We are becoming one flame.” Thank you for being on this journey with us. We ask for partnership in prayer as we show gratitude for the year behind us and expectancy for the year ahead. We wish you countless joys and blessings as we enter 2020 together. May we all stay focused on pursuing God’s promises.
“Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods.” Psalms 95:1-3 NLT
- This article was written by Shelbi Hales. Read more about her and her work at her blog: Love Into Freedom