Thank you to all who attended, volunteered and financially supported the ministry at our Sidewalk Funday School BBQ last month at the beautiful campus of The Covenant School of Jacksonville. This year, it looked like another record turnout with over 90 people attending. We want to give our appreciation again to Batson Cook for sponsoring this event. We especially want to thank Ed – well, Bonnie and Kaylan – who bare so much of the organizational burden and then to Scott for his tireless cooking efforts resulting in some GREAT BBQ!
We appreciate W.W. Gay lending the tents and volunteers to set up so that you could hear from directly from our site leaders and our partners about the various focus areas of the ministry. We are so thankful for the servant’s hearts at First Baptist, Slavic Missionary Bible School and Covenant School who come alongside us and enhance our work in the communities we serve. We hope you enjoyed a little change of pace from the past with Richard and Kimberly not speaking quite as long 😊 and our additional testimonies from Angela Holden (SFS), Anastasiya Uzhva (SMBS), Patty Keenan (Miller Electric) and Tom Smith (WW Gay Mech).
This year we shared about how much Sidewalk Funday School has grown in the past year. We have experienced tremendous opportunities for advancing relationships and support to “our kids”. We noted we now have children who have been with us more than five years and have grown into teenagers. With support from companies like Miller Electric and W.W. Gay, we have started reaching out to our teens with career exposure nights resulting in 100%, yes 100%, of our teens involved in these programs excited to have been there!!
Summer camp attendance with FBCJax also grew last year with 11 teens attending! Based on multiple teens already asking about camp (many who haven’t been before), it looks we will have even more this year! So many that Richard and I feel compelled to go and serve at camp this year (pray for us!). This is a wonderful opportunity for these students to experience the week immersed in a loving, safe and fun environment. The cost for camp is $350/student and we would love for you to help us by sponsoring a teen or two with the link below!
We are also in the early stages of developing an active mentoring program pairing adults to teens. Of course, we continue our normal efforts to reach kids in their communities on a weekly basis in five local challenged communities that see some combination of higher levels of violence and poverty or elevated levels of refugee residences looking for comfort and acclimation to Jacksonville. Next Fall, we are planning to start a new location in the heart of Arlington in partnership with River City Baptist Church.
As always, the opportunities to help children and teens in Jacksonville far outstrips the resources. Please pray for us to continue to have the right people come alongside us to make right strategic decisions, that the Main thing remains the main thing as we grow, and that volunteers will see this ministry as the place God would have them to give of themselves so we can do more and reach more. Lastly, pray for abundant wisdom for us and our board. We do reach some 500 kids annually and continue to add programs to meet growing needs. To us, this is starting to seem like a lot, especially as we see how much more there is to be done. Even so, our chief desire is to reach more kids… and to reach the kids we have, more. If we've piqued your interest, please do not hesitate to contact me to ask where you can help. If you are interested in serving with us in the communities, please mark your calendar for our Ministry Training the morning of August 20th.
For Scott’s sake, I almost hate to say this but, please help us break 100 attendees for our 2023 BBQ!
My humble and continued gratitude to you all,