I have to admit, I really don’t like asking for things. It has nothing to do with pride or embarrassment at all. I know how hard life is and the struggles people go through, so I’m not always comfortable asking others for help. But wait, let me back up a little.
Three years ago, God called us out of our comfortable life in Johnson City, TN to make a radical change, not only in our geographical location, but also in our spiritual condition. In September of 2010, my wife and I, along with our two children, moved to Charlotte, NC to volunteer with an inner city youth ministry called One7. It was founded in 2008 and now has kids from Africa, Vietnam, Burma, Mexico, El Salvador and the United States. The One7 vision: To reach and transform inner city communities and families by intentionally forming cross cultural youth ministry teams while focusing on holistic change and spiritual growth. We are a part of something so much bigger than ourselves, and we have never regretted the decision to move. One thing we have come to understand is that everyone has a story. All it takes is some time and active participation in someone’s life to develop a personal relationship. Just because a person is smiling on the outside, does not mean they are not ripped apart inside.
Back then, we were volunteers and basically showed up one night a week. sometimes two nights a week, to participate in any way we could. That involved leading small groups, driving kids home, and just getting to know the youth that came out. Presently, my wife and I are both on staff with One7. (You can visit HERE and click on the Staff page to see my ugly self right next to my beautiful wife.) It has become a full time part of who we are. Jennifer will take the girls to school and go into One7 around 8:30am Monday through Friday. Some nights, she might not get home until 9:30pm or later. When soccer season is in full swing, the weekends are just as crazy. She puts in about 60-80 hours a week. And that’s all on top of being a wife and mother.
I work 40 hours a week at my full time job, then spend another 20 or more each week with One7. I pick up kids several nights a week and help with soccer weekends. Ministry for us is nearly 24/7, 365 days a year. For example, yesterday Jennifer and I, along with three other staff members, spent the day with the 30 kids who live at One7. We started at 8:30, went over to another apartment complex, where One7 is about to end a lease on an apartment, and cleaned it out. We removed all the furniture, hauled off trash, and painted everything. After that, we returned to One7 so the kids could get cleaned up. We had a short devotion time and then took them all to eat at McDonald’s. We went back to One7, spent a couple hours hanging out, and then took them all to the dollar theatre to watch a movie as a reward for their hard work. We returned to One7 at 9pm and ended the night with a birthday party. I think Jennifer and I finally climbed into bed around 11. That was just one day. That’s how the weekends usually go.
Since 2010, One7 has grown in leaps and bounds. We have a new facility that houses our One7 Academy. We have an 18 unit apartment complex that we use for offices and living space to house some of our staff and also the homeless that God brings to our doorstep. We currently have over 30 kids living there who have no where else to go. They are split up among our staff members. Some of these kids have been through complete Hell. Some have had to witness their parents being murdered right in front of their eyes. Some were sleeping on the streets before they found One7. They all have stories that will wreck you, and shake you to the very core of your being. These are the ones we share life with on a daily basis. They have no one else. We are to stand up for the weak and abused. Provide shelter for the homeless and poor. Feed the hungry. The list goes on and on.
One7 runs off 100% donations. We are a non-profit organization that depends solely on the generosity of others to keep the ministry going. The more we grow, the more expenses arise. It’s just a fact of life. One7 is able to pay two or three of the staff members, but not all of them. Jennifer is one that gets paid. I am not. We have our two girls, and another girl named Yomira who lives with us, (Brief story HERE) attending a private Christian school here in Charlotte. We are unable to afford the tuition, on top of everything else, with just my income, so what Jennifer does get paid through One7 is vital. It allows us to pay school costs, but also to help others. We believe that the more we give to others, the more we will be blessed. It’s a continuous cycle.
Here is where you can help. We would love to be able to raise our own support so One7 doesn’t have to continue paying Jennifer. The money they use to pay her could go to another staff member or to other things needed by the ministry. Now, here is the part I don’t like getting into. I hope by now that most of my faithful readers know me. You’ve read my posts and my other ramblings on here. I’m always as transparent and honest about my life as I can be. I hope that comes across in my writing. I have nothing to hide. I am a sinner, saved by the grace of Christ doing my best to help others in any way I can. My wife is the same.
My blog has 15,428 followers and I have another 7,400 people following me on Twitter. Now I’m not stupid, I know realistically less than half read my posts, maybe not even that many. We want to ask that you prayerfully consider supporting us financially each month. No amount is too small. $1. $5. $10. It doesn’t matter. God can take even the smallest amount and stretch it for His glory. Just so there is no questioning where the money goes, your donation each month will go directly to One7 Ministries, not us, and then distributed to our family from there. One7 is a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 organization. Your gift is tax deductible. I urge you to check out the One7 website and see if it’s something you want to invest in. By supporting us, you are allowing God to continue using us to further the Kingdom. If you don’t want to support us each month, but would like to give a one time donation to One7, that would be greatly appreciated as well.
For those who are interested in pledging a monthly amount to our family for support, please send me a direct email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or reach me through my contact page. I will reply back with the specifics on how you can send the money in. Please take some time to look at the One7 main website and the One7 blog page. Click Here Both sites have links to the One7 Ministries Facebook and Twitter pages as well.
Make sure to follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook by clicking on the appropriate link to the right. Thanks!
Have a blessed day,