A Burden to Share
I'm starting this "blog" not really sure how I can put into words what I want to say. I'm writing from a place of burden and need for one of my ministries that seems to overwhelm me each day. I trust the Lord. I know that He cares for these girls more than I do. I know that His plan is FOR them... for us as we seek to serve them well. Yet, each passing day reminds me of how great the needs are that are yet to be met. I'm reminded of how heavy it feels to the few of us who are carrying it, but how light it can become if others will join us.
Lifehouse Children's Home currently serves eight girls. These girls range from ages 12 to 20 with a wide range of trauma stemming from extreme abuse and abandonment. Two of our girls are considered "special needs" with cognitive delays. On top of the many needs each girl has individually as she heals from her past, the home as a whole is in great need. In the last year, I have joined a team of people to create a board of directors for the home. We have stepped into the needs of the home hoping to give renewed energy to those who have carried the burden for so long. We have committed that the girls will be provided for at any cost and that we will be open to growth and change, however uncomfortable, if it betters the home and the girls' futures. Here are some of those needs.
After more than a decade of faithfully running the home, our caregivers are retiring at the end of 2021. With their retirement, comes the need to hire new people. The thought of being responsible for finding parents for 8 girls who need a lot of support is weighty and stressful. As we look for new parents, we also need to update the policies and procedures of the home so that a new couple can take their place. It's a lot of work creating and updating what's been happening over the last decade. A lot of meetings. A lot of writing and rewriting. A lot of advice from others who have gone ahead of us in similar work.
As we think financially, the current caregivers are funded as Dominican missionaries and do not take a salary from the monthly budget of the home. This has been a tremendous blessing to the home in the past. Now, our board is left with not only the need of hiring new caregivers, but also the need to begin paying them. This will add, at the very least, $410 to the budget that already seems insufficient to raise 8 girls. On top of that, we hope to hire some support staff for the home so that the next set of caregivers can truly focus on raising the girls, knowing that all of the administrative needs are covered.
In addition, prior to the caregivers resignation, we had begun the process of creating a transitional program where our three oldest girls could move out of the home and begin learning how to be young women. We had hoped to hire a mentor who would live with them and guide them through these pivotal years as they learn the basics of time and money management, relationships, and community involvement all while developing a deeper connection with Christ. All of these were dreams we were dreaming for them even before knowing from where the finances would come.
If the needs of the main home continue to overshadow those of the transitional program, the three oldest girls will need to move in with me and my roommate for the first six months of the new year. The fact is, they are just too old to remain in the other home. While I am so grateful that the Father has provided us with a home that could host these three, young women for six months, I am saddened to see the idea of this transitional program put on hold because of mainly financial reasons. The older I get, the more I see that funds are always available, but gaining access to them is what's most difficult.
This is why I am writing, I guess. Lifehouse is more than a program to me. Both the main home and the transitional program aim to raise real girls with real needs. When I hear the name "Lifehouse," I automatically think of eight young women who matter to me. They matter to the Lord. I think of the beautiful progress they've made to grow and heal during their time with us, and I don't want that to slow down in the least. So, here is my plea.
Help us fund these homes! We are looking for individuals, families, and churches who would be willing to stand in the gap both in prayer and through finances so that these girls can have their needs met. So that these caregivers can know that they can focus on loving these girls well. So that our board can focus on the best ways to serve the Lord through these homes. I know that there are a million and one ways that people can raise money in the States (car washes, bake sales, auctions, side jobs etc). I know that there are plenty of people who already have extra money to give. I know their are others who can put down one coffee, coke, or snack a week to save money so that they can give to this effort. Is there anything YOU can do to help?
Is God calling you to share some of this burden?
If so, here's how you can join us! If you'd like to give a one time donation or a monthly gift, you can do that here. You can choose if you'd like your donation to go to the "Lifehouse Children's Home" or the "Lifehouse Transitional Program." Your gifts are tax deductible, but more than that, they are eternal.