My internship with The Forgotten Initiative gives me a lot of different opportunities that I am so blessed and thankful for. The Lord is constantly challenging me through my duties with TFI. We are a ministry with a mission, with a passion for the foster care community and that means the entire community, not just the children. But today, I am going to focus on a dear child that I have the honor of tutoring and mentoring.
This boy we will call Timothy. He is in 5th grade. I have been tutoring him once a week for about a month and a half. The first few weeks were a breeze, he did everything I asked him to work on without questions. When I had to miss a week of tutoring due to a small family emergency, I felt the guilt of having to call and say I could not be there for him. I felt the pain of being another person in his life to make a commitment to him, yet I missed a tutoring session with him. A lot of people may think, “So what? It’s just tutoring.” Let me tell you something, it’s not just tutoring. It is a short hour each week that I get to share Jesus with this boy, love on this boy.
About a week before Christmas, my last week with Timothy before Christmas break, he began to open up to me. His birthday was that week and he was hurt that his foster parents treat him differently than they do their own children. He wanted gifts equal to the gifts their biological children received. He stated that he only had one present under the Christmas tree and the foster family’s kids had a numerous amount. Is this fair? A child who gets taken from his home and has been in five different foster home placements still has to fight for what is fair? I was a mess after this meeting with Timothy. He is SO tough, but I’ve seen him vulnerable, I’ve seen his tears. God wants him to be loved for who he is, not as a foster child, not as a random addition to a family who doesn’t see him as their own. A boy in 5th grade should not have to say, “Now that I’m 12, I can choose if I want to be adopted. And I do not want to be, I want to stand strong for my mom.”
Recently I was challenged with James 4:14-15, “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you out to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’” Are we all doing what the Lord has challenged or called us to do. There are so many children in need of Jesus loving, selfless seeking foster homes. I do not want to disrespect the foster home Timothy is currently in, because I know they are much better foster parents then so many others out there. But what is our life if we are not seeking to help God’s children, “to loose the bonds of wickedness…. to let the oppressed go free… to share bread to the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house.” (Isaiah 58:6-8 ESV).
This story I told you is not as terrible as they come. I’m sure caseworkers and foster parents can tell you more painful stories. Can we come together and help the Lord heal the pain that these children are feeling? How can you make a difference? Is it by becoming a foster parent or maybe just supporting a foster family or the foster care community? Your calling may not even be to foster care, God has created you the way you are for reason, what is your passion? How can you serve the Lord and step out of your comfort zone into full trust and faith in our Lord?
Jillian is currently studying social work at Illinois State University and will graduate with a Bachelor’s in Social Work in the spring. About a year ago Jillian found out about TFI through Facebook and immediately felt a tug on her heart to do more for those who feel forgotten. As she started volunteering for us, the Lord began changing her heart for the fatherless as well as “the forgotten” children in foster care. Jillian has a passion to serve hurting and oppressed individuals by showing them Jesus’ amazing love. She is now our very first intern and we are thankful she has joined our team!