Persistent FAITH in Novi, Michigan
We Won’t Leave You
We Won’t Leave You
Brightmoor Christian Church in Novi, Michigan has gone all out for foster children. What started as a Royal Family KIDS (RFK) camp twenty-two years ago has blossomed into something so much more. It was when the church began to invest in the lives of foster children that a holistic plan began to develop.
Royal Family KIDS (RFK) Mentoring Club keeps the foster children ‘camp’ relationships intact throughout the school year. And, once the children graduate from camp, they are eligible for Teen Reach Adventure Camps (T.R.A.C.). Here the children are able to maintain relationships during their teen years. Additionally, the church owns two homes that help teens who are facing emancipation, learn life skills. It is through these homes that the foster children are able to cultivate the relationships they have established, well into their adult years.
The folks over at Brightmoor are purposeful and persistent in their pursuit of healthy relationships for foster children. Rachel knows the rewards of persistent faith.
Rachel was discouraged. This would be the third year she was paired with Kayla—a girl with whom she did not have a strong relationship. Kayla was aloof and disconnected. During this particular school year, Rachel was unable to make the October mentoring club meeting, and Kayla could not make the November meeting—or the Christmas party. It was a one-hour commute to the meetings and the drive was beginning to feel like a waste of time. And then … January happened. While driving together to a mentoring club meeting that month, Kayla asked if she could connect her phone to the car’s bluetooth. And just like that, Rachel and Kayla began to sing along with the worship songs that were playing in the car. The two girls sang the songs together for the entire hour-long drive.
Many traumatized children are afraid to love. They learn from experience at a young age, that if someone loves you, they are more than likely going to leave you. In the process, some have learned it is best not to love at all. That one fateful day in the car was the first connection between the two girls in the 2-1/2 years they were involved with mentoring club. Rachel’s faith was restored! She lifted her eyes heavenward and said, “Ok, Lord, I won’t give up.”
It’s what many children in the foster care system are used to—adults giving up on them. By faith, Brightmoor Christian Church hosts Royal Family KIDS Camp, RFK Mentoring Club, and Teen Reach Adventure Camps (T.R.A.C.). They also own two homes for foster children facing emancipation. In addition, Brightmoor has 27 ‘Safe Families’ that have kept 67 children out of the foster care system.
Safe Families is a ministry offered to churches. When children are removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment, they have an opportunity to live with a Safe Family instead of entering the foster care system. The 27 Safe Families of Brightmoor Christian Church have kept 67 children from becoming wards of the state.
When the people from Brightmoor Christian Church tell a foster child, “I won’t leave you,” they have the wherewithal to keep that commitment. And to think that all started with a Royal Family KIDS camp in 1995.
By John Schwider, RFK Regional Ambassador
1) Please pray for the 13,452 children in Michigan foster care (4,022 ages 6-12): that they will come to know that God loves them and has a positive plan for their future;
2) Pray for our current Directors and Volunteers in Michigan, that God will protect them and encourage them;
3) And pray for the future Leaders of Royal Family KIDS in Michigan — that when they feel God stirring their hearts to stand up and get involved they will do it today!
“If God is your partner, make your plans BIG!”
“What if you could go on a mission trip and interact with 75% of the population that we are trying to reach for the Lord? There are hundreds of hurting children in our area placed in the foster care system that can be impacted by one week at a camp that specifically ministers to their needs. Will you join me?”
Twenty-two years ago, standing in the pulpit of our church, that was the challenge that we laid out for our congregation. A few years later, a second camp was added with another supporting church. Several years later they started a mentoring club. This year, T.R.A.C. camps have been added, and a T.R.A.C.Life will begin next year. It’s been quite a faith journey for the 200+ volunteers and senior leadership involved from over 17 different churches in Mid-Michigan.
What’s holding all of this together you might ask? Faith in God, hard work, and our underlying theme: One Band, One Sound. Within our various groups such as senior leadership, camp, club, and mentors, we do not have stars. In other words, there isn’t one person who is deemed more important than the next. EVERYONE contributes based on his or her God-given talents and gifts. We ALL are part of a team that strives to create One Band, One Sound. Keeping this theme in mind—in all that we do, our group has experienced the essence of teamwork throughout our shared faith journey: collaboration, trust, vision, purpose, understanding, grace, forgiveness … and so much more.
Years ago, as part of the National Director’s Cabinet, we began to understand the concept of “changing lives” and that it not only included the children we minister to, but also the adults that were making themselves available to act as a channel of His love and kindness. Back home in Mid-Michigan, it is a joy to watch and experience the team dynamics at the senior level play out as we boldly move into a season of expanding our footprint to include T.R.A.C. and … to birth more camps in our area.
One Band, One Sound has been a step of faith for us that God continues to bless again and again!
By Bill Clarkson and John Schwider
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I could have turned to alcohol and drugs like my birth mother, or I could abandon my responsibilities like my birth father, but instead, I opened a Bible that I received at Royal Family KIDS Camp and asked God into my life.
Erick (RFK Camper)