Tag Archives: God’s plan

We have to have a parking lot? Really?

 

 

Eighteen months ago it seemed like a pretty simple concept.

  • Pregnant teens needed a home

Logically speaking when you see a problem you search for the solution. This one seemed like a no-brainer.

  • Get them a home

I honestly couldn’t figure out why I seemed to be the only one to see the solution. I’m a fairly intelligent woman but not always the sharpest knife in the drawer. As each month passes it’s pretty clear now why nobody wanted to touch this one. As each month passes the stacks of papers, regulations, applications, policies, procedures, licenses, requirements grows exponentially. The budget is nowhere near what we originally thought. We have to convince a whole heck of a lot of people that what we are doing is a good thing. And now we found out we have to have a parking lot.

A Parking Lot? Really?

All we want to do is help those in need

And that, is exactly what we are going to do.

Are you ready to dig in with us? Are your knees ready for some bruised up prayer time? Are your knuckles ready to be bloodied as we climb the side of this cliff?

We have a tough road ahead but it’s necessary.

Are you in?

Leave us a comment below to tell us. Thanks!

2 Corinthians 4:8

The Message (MSG)

 7-12If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side;

 


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Where do we put the stuff?

Housing

Image by james.thompson via Flickr

If your children are “Messies” encourage them to marry someone who is laidback but possibly not a Messie. For better or worse, I’m a Messie and I married a Messie. Among other places in our house, the garage has always been a major dumping ground for us. This past year it has also become storage for the wonderful donations from people like you that just can’t wait for The Sparrow’s Nest to open.

Our garage is full of diapers, maternity clothes, a couch, a chair, a sidetable and lamp, a glider rocker, a changing table, well, you get the idea. We worked almost all Saturday cleaning and organizing and sorting. We took some into other parts of our house and some we took to church to store for awhile. It’s so fabulous and exciting to think about these items being used in the house by young mothers.

But that’s the catch , isn’t it. We are getting all this great stuff but we still don’t have a place to put it. We don’t have in our possession the whole point of The Sparrow’s Nest.

The Nest.

God has put on my heart such an urgency since the weather has started to change. Do you remember how bitter last winter was? I keep having that dreadful thought of a young mother trying to find shelter when it gets really cold. What if she thinks the only way she can find a home is to terminate her pregnancy? These thoughts race through my mind and make me sick to my stomach.

I just want to put on your heart the plea for God to provide a facility for us. I know there is someone in our area that could make an incredible sacrifice and donate a 4-5 bedroom house in St. Charles. I also know that if we pool all our resources we can have this project fully funded by January so we can lease to own a property.

There are so many exciting possibilities this fall. I want you with us every step of the way. I want your prayers. I want your creativity.

Can you just see it?  Are you willing to make it happen?

Part 1: God whispered “Nehemiah”

Nehemiah rebuilding Jerusalem

Image via Wikipedia

Do you remember when your toddler was learning to build with blocks? They would take those 2 or 3 blocks with those little mitten hands and try over and over again to stack them up successfully. During the process they would undoubtedly get frustrated when the blocks would fall over. They might eventually throw them or trying to push down even harder to get them to stay stacked.  The irony is the pure joy they get in knocking them down again themselves. 🙂

My heart was drawn to a different type of building this morning. God drew me into Nehemiah. He’s been whispering parts of this story to me for a year and I’ve only read and studied it bits and pieces. This morning I read its entirety and God has brought me to my knees.

The parallels between Nehemiah rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem and our building The Sparrow’s Nest are obvious. But I just wanted to share a few points that God specifically showed me this morning.This week I’ll share a 4 part series over what God gave me from Nehemiah.

1. Prayer : It seems so obvious. But Nehemiah gives us the example at every start, every turn, every adversary, every thanksgiving to pray to God .

Nehemiah 1:10-11 They are your servants and your people, who you have redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. O, Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”

Nehemiah’s heart had been broken by the despair of his people. Nehemiah knew this would be a huge undertaking . Building the wall again would not be a popular project. Nehemiah also understood he would need the support of powerful people. But the very first thing Nehemiah did was to ask God for forgiveness before favor. When Nehemiah was given the opportunity to ask permission of King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah quickly first prayed to God and then answered the King.  When the opposition was in full force against rebuilding the wall, Nehemiah and his men prayed to God and made preparations to meet the threat.

I believe with all my heart in the power of prayer. I also believe we will not be successful in this endeavor without on-going, consistent, bold prayers. Just as Nehemiah did, we need support from powerful people, we need guidance and direction in our decision making, and we will need prayer warriors posted at our doors to protect the young women and those precious babies.

The next 120 days are a critical part of our history. My instinct is to get through the fall and start wrapping things down for the holidays. But God has always had a different plan. I believe God has some incredible wall building coming down the pipe this quarter and I challenge you to boldly pray what your role will be in this endeavor. I ask you to pray for generosity in spirit, time, and money. I ask you to boldly pray for protection, guidance, and direction. YOUR prayers will determine our steps.

What’s the Plan Stan?

Sky

Image via Wikipedia

It’s hard to imagine that a little under a year ago the idea of The Sparrow’s Nest Maternity Home didn’t even exist. Since then of course it’s become an all-consuming fire of urgency.

I  just wanted to take a moment to share with you where we have been and where we think we are being led. On July 21 last year I determined there was  need for a residential maternity home for pregnant teens in St. Charles County. The next several months were filled with research, phone calls, and visiting other maternity homes. I started recruiting board members and volunteers in August and September. In September Quinn Murphey orchestrated Armstrong and Teasdale agreeing to do all of our legal work for us at no cost. On October 4 we had our first board meeting at the Schnucks’s Deli with Kevin Thompson, Amber Teigen, Adam Eaton, and Scott Sigmund.  Scott McHenry had our website going live in December. We finished up the year with a very intimate Christmas party with dreamers sitting around my kitchen table thinking of “what ifs…”

We started off the new year with Dan Cooper helping us to receive our non-profit status from the IRS on Jan 12, 2011. Susan Zimmerling hosted our first fundraiser on February 2. During this time I worked to make relationships with the community through the YMCA, Rotary, and Community Council. I contacted many churches, individuals, and civic groups letting them know we were coming. We collaborated with Bridgeway Behavioral Health for our first 5k fundraiser in April followed by a beautiful benefit concert in May hosted by Zion Lutheran Church  I connected with Casey Graham, our friend at givingrocket.com, who developed our first capital campaign. Through these efforts we were able to raise almost $34,000 in the month of May through individual contributions and local church support. I attended as many Non Profit trainings and webinars as my schedule allowed. My reading list of resource books and blogs was sometimes staggering. It’s been a compelling year of growth, prayer, learning, and focused determination.

This past month our brave board decided to fast forward the timeline of The Sparrow’s Nest. Instead of opening in another 18-24 months we are dedicated to opening our doors in 12 months. Mark your calendars now to attend our ribbon cutting ceremony in July 2012.

I’ve laid out a very optimistic but aggressive timeline for the next 12 months. As one of our volunteers said, “if we’re going to do this, and this is really a need, then let’s move now.”

So on July 30, 2011 we will have a focused time of prayer and praise at the O’Fallon YMCA to dedicate the next 12 months to God’s leading. Our Strategic Plan will be finalized  by August 5 allowing us to go after major funding from grants and foundations. By August 30 we will have all the information gathered for the ordinances, permits, and licenses required to operate. We need massive manpower to get this underway in this amount of time so September 2011 will be a major volunteer recruitment month for us.

Our next two major fundraisers will be our October 1 Sparrow Scramble and our Celebration on November 12th. We will finish out the year with another letter appeal. By December 30 we will have determined a general location.

We will start out next year flying. We plan to purchase or have a lease on a home by January 20. By March 30 all of our permits and licences will be acquired. By May 30 our staffing will be complete and by the following month their initial training will be finished.

By July 30, 2012 we will be operational finally  able to see our mission in action.

It’s a lot of hard work requiring laser intensity and focus. We need your prayers. We need your financial support. We need your insight, ideas, and help. This is such an exciting part of our history to be a part of. We are literally starting from the ground up. And the sky is the limit of what we can accomplish together!

So that’s the plan Stan. And we’re praying with all our hearts this is God’s plan for The Sparrow’s Nest. We can’t lose sight of what we are really working towards. We want to restore young girls to the love of God. We want to give their precious babies a very strong start to life. We want to be used by God to ease a portion of social injustice.

What’s your plan?

You’re so right. We can’t make a difference.

Humans using a running gait. Note the "su...

Image via Wikipedia

I really thought I was going to throw up this morning before the RUSH 5K Run. I really wondered once again if God was going to come through for us. I was so nervous and worried that all  the thought, all the planning, all the meetings, all the to-do lists for this race, would be for nothing. I thought the river might flood. I thought the weather would continue to be awful. What if the water wasn’t delivered? What if the porta potties weren’t delivered? What if one of the kid runners gets hurt? What if the timing crashes for the runners? What if no one comes?

And then they came. Literally almost 200 hundred people showed up this morning for our first major fundraiser. Some heard about our program for the first time ever. The weather was amazing! Extra cups appeared out of nowhere! Volunteers stepped up and did phenomenal things! There were hitches but most of the participants didn’t even notice. Children were happy and running around. People just handed me checks like it was no big deal. Our partnership with Bridgeway was a complete blessing. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

God came through in ways I can’t even imagine.

As you have probably noticed, most days I totally doubt I’m the one to do this. Like Moses, I question God everyday “are you sure I’m the one to get to started?” Until today I thought He was answering “Yes, you are the one to get this started. If not you, who will? ”

Today I heard what He has really been saying.

“You’re right. You’re not the one to get this started. ”

“I am.”

If you’re like me and have any doubts of the difference you can make in the mission of The Sparrow’s Nest then rest easy. No more questioning. You can’t make a difference.

But I challenge you to see how God can move through you to make a difference in this community. To make a difference in the lives of these girls forever. I challenge you to allow God to work a legacy through your life.

What do you think God can accomplish through you?

Lots of places to serve this week!

We are jumping into one happening week! We have lots of places we could use your help!

Tuesday April 26 5:30-7:00 p.m. Volunteers are needed to stuff the goodie bags for packet pick up . We will meet at the Bridgeway offices at 1570 S. Main St. St. Charles, MO

Thursday April 28th 6:30-8:00 p.m. Have you considered joining our board. We are meeting this week at the Busch Wildlife Educational Classroom. We would love to have you visit and meet the rest of the board and see if this is a capacity you would like to serve.

Friday April 29th Times to TBA: Volunteers are needed for Packet Pick up for the R.U.S.H 5k Walk/Run. Packet pickup is also at the Bridgeway offices.

Saturday April 30th 7:30 a.m. Volunteers are needed to help with set up and tear down,  time keepers, record results, water stations, and runners.

Sunday May 1 Kicks off the GIVE WINGS 30K in 30 Days Campaign. Can you consider fasting this day and lifting up The Sparrow’s Nest and this capital campaign in your prayers?

Don’t forget to Save The Date for June 4th at Spencer Creek Park to celebrate all the wonderful things God is going to do in the next 4 weeks!

Thanks for all your help and support! Can you just imagine what we will be talking about 30 days from now!?!

If you give a mouse a cookie,…

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been using the analogy of Laura Numeroff’s books lately to explain the process of starting The Sparrow’s Nest. Her titles include “If you give a Mouse a Cookie,” “If you give a Moose a Muffin,” “If you give a Cat a Cupcake,” as well as “If you give a Pig a Pancake.” The basic premise for all the books is if you give the main character an item it reminds them that they want something else that is bigger and better and more than likely, more complicated.

Today has been one of those days for The Sparrow’s Nest. I started really researching and applying for grants today. But when I started applying our tax exempt number does not show up yet electronically on the IRS website so we are automatically declined for the grants. Don’t misunderstand we do have our 501C3 status, but the IRS explained our status won’t show up electronically until sometime after June even though we’ve had the number since January 12. 2011. I also went to apply for our Missouri Maternity Home tax credit today. This will help our donor’s dollars go further by not only have a tax exempt donation but receiving an actual tax credit for that donation. But we can’t get that until we have a letter from the Department of Social Services Children’s Division stating we are in good standing. But we can’t get that until we have an actual home to be licensed and of course, you see where I’m going. We can’t get a home until we have sufficient funds.

A vicious circle when you’re just trying to do the right thing.

However discouraging and confusing this journey becomes I know God is going to see it through to the end. I still have no doubt that this service is desperately needed for our area. Further proof was supplied on the April 13, 2011 report from Putting Kids First. The following is an excerpt.

Compared with the cost of 130 unwed parents and teenage parents who may require up to two years of public assistance, which could cost St. Charles County $2,600,000 (130 parents x $10,000 x 2 years), we believe St. Charles County will benefit more from expanding its existing services to develop productive healthy families. The savings to the taxpayers would be over $1.7 million every two years.The establishment of a maternity group home with a capacity for six (6) teen mothers (averaging 12 mothers per year) at a daily cost of $185 would cost $405,150. (6 mothers x 365 days x $185 = $405,150) Please note these estimated costs are based on current Youth In Need direct service cost experience. They do not include inflationary costs. These cost estimates are also consistent with the contract experience of other providers. The $185 per day cost can be further broken down as follows:

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$102 per day for housing and 24 hour supervision

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$83 per day for counseling and case management, which includes intake, service planning and linkage, prenatal and post partum care coordination, individual, group and family counseling, and discharge and aftercare services.

The total cost for both programs above is $821,150. ($416,000 + $405,150 = $821,150)

Trends
The capacity to provide services to teenage parents has dropped slightly since the last survey, but the demand for services has remained the same. Since the closing of the only group maternity home in the region, no facility has taken its place. The Pregnancy Resource Center is interested in spearheading an effort to locate a group maternity home within the County, but funds have not been raised.

I know you can see the financial mountain we have to climb. $400, 000 seems insurmountable. But I have faith in our community. I have faith in God’s people. We will find the funds we need. We will get the licenses we need. We will provide the services needed in our community. We will minister to the young women of St. Charles. God is faithful.

Let me know how you have experienced God’s faithfulness. Share how an unsure time revealed God’s plan for your life.

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