My wife, Frances, and I came to Stroke of Faith Farms through a Facebook post one of our friends sent us of an announcement requesting House Parents for the ministry. And everything worked quickly after that initial message, where our friend stated we would be good fits as House Parents. That same evening (Tuesday), Frances and I discussed it very briefly and we decided to send an email to Kathy stating we would love to visit very soon if at all possible. Well, you all know Kathy, she replied and asked if we could come that week. So we decided to come and visit Kathy and the farm that Friday. Being from Oxford, NC, Stroke of Faith Farms is about a 2 hour drive from us. So Frances and I came down to visit on Friday, walked around the farm and spoke to all the animals, met Tyler, and had lunch at Yoder's. With excitement in the air, Kathy asked if we could come back and meet the ministry board the following Monday in New Bern, which we did. And I think after meeting the board, discussing the ministry, and God's calling, we felt this was truly a place where we should be in order to help children in crisis. We all know the farm, children, homeschool, animals, people, and so forth, are all in God's magnificent plan. All we have to do is be faithful, listen, and be ready to move. We, who believe in Jesus Christ, are His hands and feet, and we all must be doing something for Him and His children.
So much going on, as we prepare for the coming of our wonderful new House Parents, Frances & Will Wheeler. WHAT A BLESSING they are and will be in the lives of the children that God has in store to come to this place. Thank you for supporting us, not only financially, but prayerfully, because without prayer we would never be able to make it! God is so faithful. What a journey this has been this past year and we are now down to the crunch and really need your help! Please prayerfully consider Stroke of Faith Farms with your year-end giving. We are a 501(c)3 Non-profit Organization.
I remember when I was a young teenager looking forward to hanging out with the youth counselors at my church. They were always more fun than my parents and I connected with them on a different level.
Before my wife and I had children of our own, I was involved with the youth group at Garber United Methodist Church for many years. I am sure I wasn't nearly as cool as I thought the counselors were when I was in school, but to this day I enjoy seeing those counselors, now adults, many of whom are now married and having kids of their own.
Today I get to teach my kids' classes at church. I hope they won't mind if I help out when they are in youth group!
"Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble." 1 Peter 3:8
The Work of HIS Hands
"Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble." 1 Peter 3:8
FROM ONE OF OUR VOLUNTEERS:
WHAT STROKE OF FAITH FARMS MEANS TO ME
By Nick Mathews
It is hard to describe what happens to my family at Stroke of Faith Farms. Every time we go I say to my wife "its another world" ..."its like walking into a bubble" and I truly mean this with all my heart. There is something so special being created there. I wish that I could find better words to convey how I feel when I'm there. When there my soul is at rest and anything I was worried about that morning upon waking up is now meaningless and infinitesimal. I believe that Stroke of Faith was created for more then just those who have found themselves in impossible situations at such a young age. I believe this place is meant for all those who come in any capacity, of any age, of any gender. I am not normally one to speak very openly about my walk with Christ to anyone other then my wife. I have been down many roads that do not involve Jesus. He has always been there from the beginning and forever still. I feel unworthy of speaking in his name but I realize that pride and shame are keeping me from proclaiming the magnitude that Christ has played part in my life and in bringing me back from the brink of death. I love Stroke f Faith Farms and truly know that it is a place touched by God created for the soul purpose of calming the souls of ALL those who come.
HELLO DEAR STROKE OF FAITH FRIENDS . . .
As we were just welcoming SUMMER in this past Memorial Day weekend, there is so much to be thankful for. I saw the following cartoon posted on Facebook that speaks volumes in how much we take for granted. In thinking along those terms, every time I go to the detention center I have those same feelings. That is truly what keeps me going back, along with the love that God has given me for these children. Because even though I got WAY OFF TRACK from ages 13 to about 23 (& still a work in progress), I still had parents and friends that loved me, encouraged me and supported me in everything I did.
Unfortunately, it is not that way with the kids in the detention center. In most cases, they have no hope for a future. This is also a BIGS THANKS to our military and their families for the opportunities that we do have in keeping us safe.
One thing I try to stress with any children or young adults that I have the opportunity to speak with, is that probably from about 13-23, is when you are going to make some of the most important decisions you will ever make in your life. It is during the time of these critical ages (13-23), when you are really directing your whole future and how it will play out. It is during this time that every person is making the wise or not so wise decisions, that will have the long term consequences, whether it be good or bad, for the rest of your lives. We take so much for granted without thinking about the long term impact of our decisions during these young years. And we, as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, etc., need to be bold and talk to these kids and make them think about what they are doing that will effect their whole entire future. If not, depending on how bad the decisions, they will spend the next 25-50 years trying to overcome, recover or heal from those decisions.
"The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace." Psalm 29:11 LASB
Footnotes: Remember the same power that controls creation and raises the dead is available to you.
Sometimes we have to humble ourselves before these teens/young adults, because we so desperately do not want them to make the same mistakes we did. You don't have to go into a lot of detail. I don't tell my son EVERYTHING, but he knows enough, that I hope he will make much wiser decisions than I ever made. One thing is for sure . . . he knows where his help comes from. His help comes from the LORD, which is probably the most important for our own children and those others we love. Growing up I never was told anything from a Godly perspective. My parents, as some of you probably heard, would say do this WHY?, "Because I said so." Not because God said so in His Word. And I honestly thinking back, truly think that would have had a much greater impact on me, if I had known God's Word and what it said. If there is one scripture that would bring JOY to me, as a mother to my son, it would be: "I have no greather JOY than to hear that my children walk in TRUTH." And that is the TRUTH of God's Word. If you watched the Stroke of Faith Show above, these you hear from John's testimony of what obedience to God's Word from generation to generation can be passed down. WHAT A BLESSING!!! It is a FREE gift from GOD!
The moment we realize that a change is necessary is the best moment to take action.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I had to text one of my God-children, because they had some things going on and I truly BEGGED THEM to please pray about their situation, because it was something serious on their heart. And WHO is not better to SEEK than THE ONE & ONLY that already has ALL THE ANSWERS!!!
"Seek first the Kingdom of God & His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you." Matthew 6:33
People all the time blow off some of my circumstances, as not God's time yet, among many other reasons why different things have not happened in my life. But honestly, they don't know all of the circumstances, which are truly LONG TERM CONSEQUENCES from unwise decisons I made from those critical ages between 13-23. There areALWAYS CONSEQUENCES for every decision we make, whether good or bad. Now, as Romans 8:28 states, God has turned it all around for His good and His will and purpose, since I gave my life to Him, but it stays in the back of my mind how different my life would have been. But it has taken years to heal from those mistakes, years to TRULY know that I was forgiven, etc. (a work in progress)Now don't get me wrong, I know I am truly BLESSED in so many ways and I know I am FORGIVEN & FREE for what Jesus Christ did for me on the cross, but He uses that pain, that reminder for His Glory, for me to help others. It makes me almost desperate for others to know this TRUTH, so they don't have to suffer the long term consequences of their actions, like I have had to suffer.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17
From one of my readings this morning in the Experiencing God Devotional by Henry & Richard Blackaby, it was saying from the moment of your salvation, every sin you ever committed is forgiven. Healing for every hurt you have suffered is available. Love and acceptance are yours despite every failure you have ever experienced. Your past, no matter how difficult or painful, is completely and thoroughly provided for. The problem is that we seek changes by our own will rather than by turning our lives over in faith to the ONE who has given us new life. The profound testimony of Scripture is that the blood of Jesus Christ and the death of the Son of God is sufficient to completely free us from our sin. Satan will try to convince us that it is not. He will try his hardest to keep us in that miry pit. That is why we have to stay in God's Word to keep us out of the pit.
This is the whole purpose of Stroke of Faith Farms, that these children will know God's LOVE & FORGIVENESS. That they can walk in freedom, that they can have a future and a hope, that at these critical ages (8-17), that they can go ahead and get on the right path so that they do not have to suffer any long term consequences and end up spending the rest of their lives in prison, like so many of their fathers are doing.
AND SOMETIMES WE GET SO TIRED OF WAITING ON GOD in so many circumstance in our lives!!! It is probably the hardest part about trying to be obedient to the Lord. It is for me anyway, because I am NOT a very patient person. The only patience in me comes directly from the Lord, and He is continuously working on my patience each and every day! But I have to know in my heart that God loves those children in the detention centers 100 times more than I ever could. I have to TRUST HIM in the timing. When He is ready for Stroke of Faith Farms to open, it will. I have to rest in knowing that He is putting all the pieces together, even though I can't see it. I have seen many of the pieces and continue to see, but He is not putting that puzzle together fast enough for me! LOL!!!
Tuesday in Bible Study we were talking about how we serve God, and how He will use what He has given us. He will always equip us for what He has called us to do. But we have to stay in God's Word and seek Him about where He will use us. It is from getting filled up in His Word, that the overflow will come out towards those around you. No different than having to fill up your gas tank.
". . . my cup overflows." Psalm 23:5
He gave us each individual gifts to use for HIS glory, not our own. That is why it is so hard for me in trying to get Stroke of Faith Farms up and running, because there are so many aspects of it that I am not equipped to do. But I know that God called me to it and that He is either stretching me in areas that I need stretching, to give me more wisdom and knowledge, or either He will supply the person in the area that I need. He will equip for all that is needed. As a matter of fact, you can look at the 'Prayer Requests' on the new website.
"God will supply all our needs." Philippians 4:19
Let's all come together to help each other in LIFE, trying to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and give these children in crisis a hope & a future ~ our own children too!
LOVE YOU GUYS!
God Bless YOU!