Author: MichelleFord

Reservations

At this time reservations are no longer necessary for Preschool and Children on Sunday mornings.

Thank you for your understanding and flexibility over the past 7 months that our reservations system has been in place. Our Preschool and Children’s ministry areas were the two hardest hit church-wide when it comes to the number of people who opted out of serving due to the pandemic. As such we needed to rebuild both of these ministries. The reservations system helped us be ready for you and your children on a weekly basis.

While the reservations system is not currently needed there may be a time in the future that we will need to revert to it. But for now and the immediate following Sundays, we look forward to seeing you and your family Sunday mornings at Fruit Cove…without reservations!

-Family Ministries Team

Bio Transition Team

DUSTIN KANADY

I came to Christianity through the grace of God one cold day in February 2015. Having considered myself a Christian for most of my life, on that night I realized I was what I now term at best an “Intellectual Christian”. I knew the Bible, but I didn’t live the Bible. I realized that for 51 years I had wrestled with the same sins and made the same mistakes repeatedly because I was living life on my own terms more in love with my sins than with Christ. At the time, I was living up in Northern Virginia due to a job change. I was residing in a basement apartment and living away from my wife, Kimberli, who was tied to the St. Augustine area because of her commitment to her terminally ill parents. It was in this dark and lonely basement where I was living that I met Jesus and He changed my life in an instant. And I haven’t been the same since.

I have been very active in the church since my conversion. I have directly been involved with the Prayer Ministry, The Treasured Friends Ministry, The Upward Basketball Ministry, and the Encouragers Ministry. In addition, I was ordained as a deacon. I currently function as the Secretary and Vice-chairman of the deacons. I am also coming up on my third-year anniversary of teaching a Connect Group called Feeding Your Faith. I love to teach and serve through my Connect Group. We support a local mission, Dining with Dignity (feeding the homeless in St. Augustine), and an International mission, the Guatemala Mission.

The desire to serve and be a spiritual leader is Heaven sent. It led me to accept the nomination to be on the Transition Team back in November 2020 and led me to volunteer to be the Chairman of the Transition Team at our first meeting. As chairman of the Transition Team I have a singular focus – to find the best possible, most qualified pastor that can continue the good works begun by Pastor Tim and his staff for the next 30 years. I will use the leadership and professional skills I have gained in the military and in the marketplace to bring about the best possible outcome for this church, our next senior pastor and Pastor Tim. My skills are in leadership, written and oral communication, public speaking, project management, organization of teams, and leading teams of volunteers. I ask for your continuous prayers for the wisdom we need as a group to make good decisions to bring this transition about in the most efficient and smooth manner. God bless one and all.

JEFF CRICK

As a native of Jacksonville I grew up in a typical “cultural” Christian home. In fact, my dad was a preachers kid and my faith hero became my Grandfather Rev. TN Crick. Grandpa was an actual carpenter and church planter who is responsible for starting several churches in homes throughout the Southeast then building their church buildings, many that still stand today. My personal faith journey, however, began in the 10th grade on the baseball field at Sandalwood High-school where one of best friends shared the gospel (Gospel track showing the Bridge Illustration) with me and I finally realized my sin and need for a savior, and began following Jesus as my Lord!

My journey since that day has taken me down several paths of growth and service for the Kingdom of God. My first servant roles in churches started with teaching 5th grade boys here in Jacksonville at Ft. Caroline Christian Church and then leading bible studies in homes for singles at FBC Ft. Lauderdale, where I eventually met my wife Michelle. Over time, I found myself serving as a deacon at FBC FTL and then as a Deacon and eventual Elder at Covenant Fellowship Baptist Church in Stuart FL where we moved after finishing my medical training as a Family Physician in Columbus, GA. During our days in Stuart, Michelle and I helped launch an intensive bible study group called Community Bible Study which is still going strong today. After moving back to Jacksonville in 2014, I became involved in Evangelism and Discipleship training with the #NoPlaceLeft Movement Network and now also serve as a Connect Group leader for Young Families here at FCBC.

My family, who includes two wonderful daughters (Abby and Ashley), have been members here at FCBC for the past 4 years. I was honored to get the call from a Nominating Committee member late last year to help transition this church from our current lead pastor to a new lead pastor. As a Catalytic Leader for the #NoPlaceLeft movement I have been coordinating teams and working with church leaders for the past 4 years developing intentional processes for reproducing disciples, leaders and churches. My profession as a Family Physician allows me the great privilege of knowing individuals very personally and investing in there lives to find balance to a healthy life experience. My own experience as a Mayo Clinic Consultant and Instructor has afforded me many opportunities to train students and residents as well as be part of many teams and committees pursuing what’s best for our patients and the overall organization. I hope these life experiences will aid me as I assist with serving on this Transition Team. My desire is to prayerfully help develop and lead a smooth and healthy transition of leadership that ensures a place for our current and future generations to call home and continue to be equipped as Disciples of Christ and Disciple Makers until all have heard the Good News. He is worthy!

Meghan Blood

I grew up in a small town in south Mississippi where I was raised and very active in the Baptist church.  I became a Christian at the age of 12 after attending a summer camp with my church youth group.

At my home church in MS I worked in our nursery, directed and taught VBS.

In 2005 I moved to Starkville, MS, where I attended Mississippi State University, got a degree in Risk Management, Insurance and Financial Planning, and met my husband, Robert.

We married in 2007 and moved to Birmingham, AL, where we lived for two years. We moved back to Mississippi in 2009 and welcomed our first child, Kylee in 2010. Our son, Barrett, was born in 2012 and in 2013 we moved to Atlanta.  During the two years we lived in Atlanta we attended FBC Alpharetta where I worked as the Assistant Preschool Director.

We left Atlanta in 2015 to move to Bloomington, IL, where we lived for 3 years and welcomed our third child, Marion Ruth in 2017.

In 2018 we moved to Jacksonville and shortly after we joined FCBC.  I quickly jumped into the children’s ministry to help where I was needed and now you see me every Sunday and Wednesday checking your children in for their classes.

I feel very honored and am excited about being part of the Transition Team.

KELLY GATES

I was born and raised in Jacksonville and came to know Christ at the age of 7. My parents had recently given me a new bible with a question and answer portion located in the back.  For each faith question, there was a scripture reference where the answer could be found in the Word.  I spent a long time reading through all of the questions and answers and began asking my own questions about salvation.  Being raised in a Godly home, Jesus had been part of my life since I was born but from that point on he became my personal Lord and Savior. 

I have been a member of Fruit Cove Baptist since I was in the fourth grade.  I met my husband Barrett on our church campus while we were in high school.  Barrett and I were married in 2009.  Our son Jack was born in 2018 and we welcomed our daughter Margaret in February 2021.  Over the years I have served as an adult Sunday school leader, children’s ministry volunteer and have worked with both the women’s and In His Image ministries. 

I am honored to serve on the Pastoral Transition Team. I bring more than 14 years of experience in both nonprofit and ministry.  While I am currently spending this season at home with my young children, most recently I served as the director of donor engagement and stewardship for the University of North Florida Foundation.  It is my goal to humbly serve the Lord and this church that I love dearly through the pastoral transition process.

Sunil Kuchipudi
Sunil Kuchipudi

Growing up in India, I was surrounded by Hindu and Muslim friends who are still some of my closest friends. It was understood at that time that religion is what you are born into and tied to family, birth, and nationality. Sometimes, my friends would ask me questions such as, “Who is Jesus?” and “Why would you follow a Western God when we have a number of gods and gurus of our own?” At that time, I had no idea, so I would blurt something out and change the topic. During my college years, I joined a Bible study led by the Navigators at the university dorm. I came across the verse in John 14:6 where Jesus clearly answered “I am the Way and the Truth and Life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. 

It was rather a jarring feeling to see why Jesus’ claim would be so exclusive. As I continued to study the words of our Lord in the Gospels, it became clear to me that He is the only One who shed His blood for me and you. He died for my sins and not only for mine, but also the sins of the entire world! He is the resurrected Savior who overcame the curse of death and gives all hope and eternal life. On an Easter Sunday morning, at 18 years of age, I personally accepted Jesus Christ into my life and was baptized in a small Brethren Fellowship in India.

I started helping lead bible studies in the university dorms. I did evangelism on the streets, this entailed presenting the gospel, clarifying the questions that people asked, and pointing them to Christ. In 1993, I came to the US to pursue my graduate studies at the University of Central Florida (UCF). I joined Intervarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) and helped lead the bible studies on the UCF campus.

In 2010 our family moved to Jacksonville to join FCBC and I started serving in various ministries such as Upward Sports ministry. I also have the privilege of uplifting ministry work in Haiti. 

When the Nominating Committee selected me, I prayerfully accepted. I am honored and humbled to serve on this journey.  I have around 20 years in the technology industry, experience in financial, government and advisory industries, and executing strategic and transformational projects for global organizations.  It will be a privilege to serve and apply my leadership and organizational skills to support a successful pastoral transition. I can only do this with your support and prayers and earnestly seek them during this journey.

ROSS NELSON

I grew up in Houston Texas where our family attended a methodist church.  As a child I recall participating in all the various plays and musicals that the children’s ministry put on.  We moved to Louisville, Kentucky in 1999 and shortly thereafter began attending a local baptist church.  It was there at age 16 that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior; I had heard the word of God all my life but only in that moment did I feel compelled to follow in obedience.

While attending school in Kentucky my family moved to Fruit Cove in 2003, and in 2006 I followed suit.  For the last 14 years as a member of Fruit Cove I have served faithfully in the music ministry playing in the orchestra on Sundays.  It is through serving in this ministry that I feel the fulfillment of my desire to be used by God.  For the past 2 years I have also served in the Wednesday Children’s Ministry.  It is such a joy to support the growth of faith in the children of FCBC. While serving in the music ministry I met my wife Larisa, we were married in 2012.  After many years of trying to have a child, we prayed and felt led by God to start the adoption process.  We are currently in the waiting period of the process.

The Nominating Committee reached out about being a part of the Transition Team in November 2020.  After prayerful consideration, I accepted the privilege to serve on this team.  As the team begins the process we ask for your continued prayers that we bring honor and glory to God.

Michael Osborne

I came to know Christ in March of 1974 at 6 years of age.  At the time, my father pastored a church in California, and we were having a youth revival that was led by a student/college group.  After one of the services, my father and mother were in a meeting and one of the young ladies from the lead group saw me sitting outside.  She approached me and asked if I knew about Jesus.  I said yes (duh – my dad is the preacher).  However, she started talking with me in a way that hadn’t happened before and discussed how Jesus died for me.  It made me think about Jesus not as a “biblical figure” but as MY SAVIOR.  Sitting on the steps of the church, I prayed with this young lady and accepted Christ right there.  Afterwards, I raced to tell my parents and excitedly interrupted their meeting.  Later, my parents talked with me about my experience and felt confident that I had a real experience with Christ.  The impact of that decision at that time made a huge difference for me in my formative years of school and college.  Although I was and am a sinner, my early life was framed by a belief that Christ is my guide, and I usually made key decisions by asking the Lord to lead me.

My first adult experience in serving the church came when I was living in Hattiesburg, MS at Temple Baptist Church.  I started in choir and later as part of our worship team.  Choir and worship team were my longest service opportunities, but this was my inroad into other church service.  I also taught (with my future wife) classes in our Singles Group and later became an ordained deacon at Temple in 2005.  I was also a member and Chairperson of our Church Personnel Committee for 4 years.  In 2011 we left Hattiesburg and moved to Panama City, FL.  We became part of First Baptist Church Panama City and got involved in the Children’s Ministry (our daughters were 6 and 5 years old at the time).  To be honest, we loved the pastor and many members of the church but did not get as “plugged in” as we wanted to be there.  When we came to Fruit Cove in 2017, we had a desire to be more missional and more relational.  With our daughters, we have taken part in several mission experiences including the Romanian Mission Team, the Harvest City Church Mission, and the Mission Miami Project with the Middle School Ministry.  Also, we have had several local mission opportunities including City Rescue Mission, Dream Church, and the Fruit Cove Car Show.  I am currently one of the teachers for the “Parents of Middle School & High School” class and assist my wife with the Middle School Ministry food service as needed. 

In November of 2020, the Church Nominating Committee asked me if I would consider being a part of the Transition Team.  I requested a week to provide my answer – this was because I understood the gravity of what this team will work on for the church.  It is an important task that will shape our church for years to come.  I accepted the opportunity to be a part of this team and want to assist in the ways necessary to help us get to the “Lord’s Outcome”.  I encourage all of us to pray without ceasing for God’s will to be done in this endeavor. 

Married to Debra for 18 years – daughters Gracen (15) and Samantha (13) 

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A Prayer for Unity in the Church

A Prayer for Unity in the Church

July 5 Prayer Service

Given by: Jeff Crick

 

John 17 English Standard Version (ESV)

The High Priestly Prayer

17 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,

Dear heavenly Father, if it were right for your Son to live to glorify you, may we, the Body of Christ, The Church, commit to do exactly the same. May we be unified for this purpose above all things. That you O’ Lord may be Glorified in us. Glorified by every word and deed, may you alone receive this glory, honor and praise.

2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

Lord Jesus, as The Church, help us to focus our gratitude of eternal life on Knowing You AND making You Known. If We believe, as we have just sung, nothing should occupy our minds more than knowing you and making you known. Let what we say we believe and what we sing so boldly about from our lips be deeply rooted also in our hearts. As the lyrics of “We Believe” say, “Let the Church Live Love our God will see….and the gates of hell will not prevail, for the power of God has torn the vail, now we know your love will never fail, We Believe, We Believe”.

4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. 6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.

Lord Jesus, thank you for accomplishing the work necessary for us to know truth and to know you. May we “consider our life worth nothing and our only aim be to finish the race and complete the task you have given us – the task of testifying to the Good News of God’s Grace (Acts 20:24)”. Your plan was perfect Lord, but all of humanity has sinned against you. We now have this broken world, full of broken systems and broken lives who desperately need a you, in desperate need of a savior. And while we were yet sinners, You proved Your love for us by taking on this sin and the punishment we so deserved for our sake, so that we may live. In true repentance and faith you restored us back into unity with You, making us a new creation, giving us new & eternal life. Thank you Jesus!

9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[a] 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them[b] in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself,[c] that they also may be sanctified[d] in truth.

Lord, YES, make us one. One Body UNITED around the truth of the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures, led by the indwelling of your Holy Spirit with one Mission… to know you and make you known as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the ONE True God.

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

Dear fellow servants, please hear the call for unity. Unity in the Church is about unifying to glorify the Father so that the world may know His love. “Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:2)”.

24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Church, it is with this love, a love that comes from knowing Jesus and knowing he is in you and that He will stand with you. Therefore, “be strong and courageous, don’t be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 24:13)”.

AMEN.

Footnotes:

  1. John 17:15 Or from evil
  2. John 17:17 Greek Set them apart (for holy service to God)
  3. John 17:19 Or I sanctify myself; or I set myself apart (for holy service to God)
  4. John 17:19 Greek may be set apart (for holy service to God)

 

A Prayer for Repentance

A Prayer for Repentance

July 5 Prayer Service

Given by: Sherri Thompson

2 Chronicles 7:14 scripture focus.

  • Gods response to Solomon King of Israel
  • Finished Temple in Jerusalem, dedicated to God.
  • Solomon praised God.. love, faithfulness, promise keeper
  • David.. people of Israel
  • Solomon wise King servant
  • Knew people fall short of obedience sin against God.
  • Result suffer famine, plagues, disease Sin, wickedness
  • Solomon God to hear supplications people.

IF they turn back heart and soul forgive the people

2 Chron 7:14 is God’s response:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Our prayer

Father, We are your people, called by your name, and we come to you, humbly, seeking your face, praising you, and desiring to turn from our wicked ways. Our land and your people need healing Lord. Healing that only you can provide.

We praise you Father as our Creator, Sustainer, Master, and our Friend. You’ve been our Provider, our Peace, our Hope, and our Joy.

You are Worthy of our love and devotion, yet Father we have ignored and dishonored you. You love us when we are unloveable, and we have been. Forgive us Lord. You are the perfect Teacher and example for how we are to live. You give us instructions in Your Word The Bible. You are The Word Lord. As your people Father, we confess. We have not walked in pure devotion to you. We have not worshipped wholeheartedly, prayed without ceasing, nor have we meditated on the Bible for direction and teaching. FORGIVE US Father for not giving you the honor you deserve. We have taken your blessings for granted and have become an “all about me” generation of people. Worshipping our possessions, lifestyle, celebrities and athletes. Taking much and giving little back to you. We need reminding often, that you are God Almighty and it all belongs to you. Forgive us Father. You are our Shepherd, our Righteousness, our Healer and Redeemer. However, we’ve gone our own way and have not let you Shepherd our lives. You are Jehovah Shammah, you are always there. Your love, grace, and provision is enough, yet we search in all directions for anything we might need or want. We have not been living with the mindset that this world is temporary and your kingdom is eternal. You call us to be a light, to walk in Christian love, and to carry the gospel to the nations. Instead we have withheld the Good News from family members, friends, neighbors, and coworkers as though we are content with them facing a Christless eternity. Instead of being the salt of the earth and bringing change to a dark world, we have allowed the world to change us. We’ve allowed evil to infiltrate our lives and godless media and entertainment to fill our homes. Our children are enslaved by unthinkable sins in a society where evil is called good, and good is called evil.

We fear and worry about sickness, hardship, and suffering, when you tell us not to worry, not to live in fear, that there is future glory in our suffering, and that our faith grows stronger in our sufferings. Yet we have filled our lives with drama and fear. Forgive us Father and hear our prayer of repentance. Make your people salt and light again. Help us to respect and submit to our leaders in authority that you have put there for our good. We commit to put on your armor daily and no longer allow evil to fill our lives. We will praise you and thank you for the freedoms and blessings you give us every day. We will be slaves to you and no one else. We pray for wisdom in our decision making. Father, we will not mistreat our fellow man or woman, whom you love and we are called to love also. We recognize we are all equal in your sight. We acknowledge every life you created is important, and we promise to speak up and seek to protect the lives of the unborn and newborn. We will stand up for justice, and honor those you call to protect and serve the nation you allow us to live in.

Father hear us from heaven, show us mercy and heal our land. Lord, make us whole again. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior we pray.

Prayer for the Nations

Prayer For the Nations

July 5 Prayer Service

Given by: David Cass

Revelations 7:9-12 ESV

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Lord in Heaven, we need you. We need your Son. It’s in His name that we gather together today so, Lord, please give us the eyes that Jesus saw the world with.

Give us heaven’s eyes so that we may look and behold what is to come. And what a glorious day it will be when we are finally gathered together. Every one of us who claims the name of Christ – gathered together around your throne. You have already brought us together as a great multitude that no one could number. Though we are scattered – though we speak different languages – though we have made man-made lines that separate us as nations. It’s all done under the guise of sin, but we who claim your name are already a great multitude.

Give us heaven’s eyes to see the multitude around us. Praising your name with one loud voice. Father, we are separated by lines we have created but you do not see us as such. As we celebrate this weekend the birth of this amazing nation that you have blessed with uncountable blessings – we could spend a lifetime talking about the blessings of this one nation. But there are many nations – many peoples, tribes, and tongues – all singing your praises. May we not think that we are superior to anyone else.

Please, give us Heaven’s eyes to see the needs of our brothers & sisters around us – and the needs of the lost around us who need to be brought into your fold. Who need to know the warmth and grace – the kindness and acceptance that comes from your love and your grace.

Father, give us heaven’s eyes to see that you are King. To see your throne in your kingdom. So we do not bow down to political parties or ideals. We do not draw those national lines that say we are this people and you are another. But as one. As we claim the name of Christian may we see your throne – your dominion – and your kingdom. You created all of it – and you sustain it by your grace and the power of the might of your word alone.

Give us heaven’s eyes to see your throne… and Your son. Your son who died who allows us to see it.

Give us heaven’s eyes to see His purpose and His grace and His gospel working out in the lives of billions of people around the world.

Give us Heaven’s eyes to not see the flesh and blood before us but the souls that Christ died to save.

Lord, give us Heaven’s eyes to sing and shout with one loud voice: Glory and grace and honor and power to you and to your son Jesus.

Father give us heaven’s eyes to see that you are our God. You are not the God of America or Canada or England or France, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia – you are the God of all. You are the king of kings and the lord of lords – this world is yours and the fullness thereof.

Lord, Give us heaven’s eyes to see your dominion. To see that you are our God.

And Lord, give us heaven’s eyes to see that this prayer is not an American’s prayer – this a prayer for everyone who claims your name.

Lord, give us heaven’s eyes. In Jesus’ name we pray – Amen.

 

What A Day! from Cayela Moody

What a day! I have been on the phone, fielding e-mails, interviewing. Finally, at three, I sat on the couch with all my babies and watched a movie. Because I didn’t want to think about foster care for a moment.

I have spent the week talking with news outlets about reunification as the primary goal and finding ways to support biological families. How much we need caring and compassionate families to love on these children. I said everyone has a role, that we can’t turn a blind eye anymore. I agreed that it is a broken system, but that is even more a reason to rise up and protect these amazing, vulnerable children.

And every time a new story came out, it was the same: Baby gets adopted after 700 days in foster care.

The reality is, this isn’t a fairy tale. I am beyond grateful Isla is here and so loved and very safe. But, adoption is messy. There will always be questions I can’t answer. There were some paths in this journey that still keep me up at night. I think of Isla’s first mama all the time and will tell Isla when she asks someday that her mama loved her so much.

And in our very broken world and in this messy, broken system, still beauty resides. I see it every moment of the day. Every time I look at all these children in my home.

And every day, Evan walks up with Isla or our other foster baby in his arms and he says something like, “Look at this. Have you ever seen anything so precious? Did you ever imagine we would be so blessed with these amazing babies.” He exudes fatherly pride. Everyday this has happened for two years. It never gets old.

We aren’t the story. The happy ending isn’t the story. You have been the story. Every prayer, every card, every casserole, every coffee delivery. When you asked me if I was okay and I collapsed in your arms. When you came to court. When you called. When you babysat and arranged nights out for us. When you included our children from the foster system in the Christmas exchange, just like all the other cousins. When you proudly framed them in your family photos. When you loved us beyond anything we ever felt we deserved. That is the story here.

Thank you. To our family, Fostering Hope, and our churches Fruit Cove Baptist Church and Refuge Church, FBCH + One More Child, and all our friends.

I am sharing the story from CBS today, which really highlighted our community. We are grateful to Good Morning America and the other news outlets that shared our story today as well.

There is a foster child who needs you. Maybe it is a gift, maybe it is a mentor, maybe it is a meal, or maybe it is a home. But, you have a role somewhere. We all do.

-Cayela Moody

 

Link to video below ?

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/2-year-old-in-foster-care-for-700-days-gets-virtual-adoption-hearing-and-parade-to-celebrate/

 

Welcome to Fostering Hope! by Allison Geraci

Welcome to our page! We are so happy you found us. Whether you are here just to learn more about our church and our ministry, whether you’re a foster/adoptive parent or know someone who is, or whether you are just searching for something God has put on your heart…YOU are in the right place!

Our foster and adoptive ministry, “Fostering Hope” originally began several years ago, although it didn’t look anything like it does today. As with many ministries and outreach mission groups, it all started with identifying a need.

I will never forget the morning God opened my eyes to this world and all of its heart-breaking brokenness. At the time, I had just taken on the role of Sunday School Teacher for the one-year-old crew at Fruit Cove Baptist Church (FCBC). I was searching desperately to find my place, to plug-in, and to really serve this amazing church community that I had been a part of for so long. I knew God was speaking to me. I knew this calling was for children, so this is where I started. I had two school-aged kiddos of my own and I was super eager to jump back into the baby world and get those elusive snuggles in that were starting to be less frequent with my own children. Little did I know, God wasn’t stopping there. He had bigger plans, and this would be the platform for it.

A couple of months went by… I was getting into my groove… feeling pretty good about my decision to serve…when a woman unexpectedly walked into my classroom with a young boy. I had never seen her or this child before. We navigated through the normal drop off banter but when we finished, she said, “he is our respite placement for the weekend so it will only be for today.” And as quickly as she had appeared, she had walked out and left us with this precious little boy. Respite? Did I miss something? What did that mean? I thought I had maybe missed something in my Sunday School education quarterly meeting. Our Preschool Ministries Director, Mrs. Ginna would NOT be proud. It sparked a lot of questions that continued to plague me the rest of the day. Then, it carried into the week. I wasn’t sure how to deal with this overwhelming sense of uncertainty. I couldn’t get it off my mind! Then, the following Sunday, as we were starting our day, the same woman walked back through the door with her respite placement from the weekend prior. Baby J! She said something came up and that he was with them again! Um, CRAZY! I knew this had to be a sign. When she left, I tracked her down and forced her to have coffee with me. I asked her so many questions I was sure she thought I had lost my mind and I’d never hear from her again. That was the first time I met one of my (now) best friends, Karen Roy, our Fostering Hope Ministry Leader. And this is only MY story…. One of many…

The need was there. My eyes were opened. I guess you could say I took the red pill? After that, our  HUGE, expansive church community started to change shape into a much smaller, very intimate community: Who was fostering? Who wanted to foster? Who had adopted? Who was going through training courses to be a foster/adoptive parent? We ALL had so many questions and yearned so deeply for fellowship with like minded people. It wasn’t long until we had an amazing group of families that rallied behind each other. We supported each other as we navigated through the storm that ensues when you step into the broken world of foster care. Next thing we knew? Our community was growing…exponentially….We started planning monthly dinner dates at Panera to get out and talk about our families, our cases, our fears, our doubts, and to most importantly, pray for each other and the children. The need was so evident! These children NEEDED loving Christian homes, but these families NEEDED support themselves to carry through this emotional, soul-testing journey. Our mission then became focused on the “How?” How do we support these families and in-turn, better serve these foster/adoptive children and their biological families?

How were we going to offer support to foster and adoptive parents? To their bio families? Not only in our church, but in our community? We knew we wanted to start small with accomplishable goals and we knew we could immediately provide prayer. When we reached out to our church, the support was honestly overwhelming. The prayer ministry welcomed our prayer requests with open arms. They even requested weekly updates…. not only from our church members, but from community families! And our church didn’t stop there. Our Family and Missions Pastor, Johnathan Wilson, quickly and eagerly jumped on board! He knew we didn’t have to travel far to reach those in need. Our mission field was right in our backyard. And it was huge…

After the church’s full backing, things literally took off and RAPIDLY grew momentum in a shockingly short period of time. What started as a monthly get-together between foster parent friends quickly snow-balled into a full-blown ministry, serving our own church families as well as those in our surrounding areas. It is nothing short of a miraculous display of God’s handiwork, as he laid the groundwork for this ministry to take flight.

We created an advisory board consisting of past and present foster and adoptive parents as well as a Guardian Ad Litem to help guide the ministry, lay a foundation, and maintain focus on our mission. What better way to start a ministry than through those that have walked the path?! This then led to spreading the word! We formalized our monthly meetings and were provided space on campus at FCBC. We also created a Facebook page to provide a platform to share meetings, provide encouragement and prayer,  and to engage the community. Within a few short months, our group was now a ministry! Fostering Hope was born and was now a fully operational ministry with a focus on outreach and support not only within our church home, but within the surrounding community of Northeast Florida. We created a “closet” to store essential items, clothing, bedding, diapers, formula, you name it….all to support foster children in care. We started to become well known in the community as we worked diligently to partner with local agencies, neighboring churches and foster/adoptive minded businesses. It wasn’t long before we realized we needed a model or framework to operate under. As soon as the need arose, God provided!! Crazy how he does that right? We quickly partnered with CompaCare and adapted their proven framework to wrap around foster families with support to retain foster families. This support is necessary to ensure these families stay actively licensed and continue fostering so that these children can come to know the Lord in a safe, nurturing and CONSISTENT Christian home.

Through this model, Fostering Hope has been able to provide reliable wrap-around care for ALL of our actively licensed foster families at FCBC. This includes a volunteer advocate for each family who manages a team of volunteers. This team provides services such as meal deliveries, goody baskets, babysitting, clothing and supplies. This is possible only through VOLUNTEERS who answer the calling that has been presented to them…AMAZING! We couldn’t do it without them…

So, most importantly, we want to share our “WHY!” At Fostering Hope, our goal is to introduce this Christian-based program into our surrounding community by partnering with neighboring churches and agencies. We believe every family who fosters should have a team of support and prayer backing them. This is God’s true requirement of us, is it not? He calls on us ALL as Christians to care for the orphan. Not only does he ask us to care for the orphan and widow, but he exclaims that it is PURE AND FAULTLESS religion to practice this! We should routinely practice this to keep from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27) WOW. Focus on the good. Focus on the needs. This seed has taken hold and the overwhelming support has turned into this magnificent demonstration of how God can truly guide willing hearts and PROVIDE when you are simply willing to say, YES! Yes, to foster care! Yes, to supporting foster and adoptive families! Yes, to volunteering efforts to “the least of these.” “GOD IS LOVE! Anyone who lives a life of LOVE is joined to Him. There is NO fear in love. Instead PERFECT love drives away fear. Because fear has to do with being punished and those who are punished do NOT have perfect love…WE LOVE BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US!” (1 John 4:19). And we will not rest until EVERYONE, even the orphan, even the “least of these,” knows it…

Community Service Letter Request

Community Service Hours Request

Please use this form to request a Community Service letter. Allow 5 business days to receive your letter. If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Hess in the church office or gwen@fruitcove.com

Financial Peace University

Beginning Wednesday, January 6 we will be offering

Dave Ramsey’s

Financial Peace University

Wednesdays through March 9 @ 6:15 pm in ROC 305

Registration is requested

Click here to register for the class: http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/locations/class/1011479

This life-changing class taught by Dave Ramsey and the FPU teaching team on video and coordinated by Tom Braden at Fruit Cove Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL will help you achieve your financial goals by showing you how to eliminate debt, save for the future, and give like never before. You will be challenged and motivated to make a plan for your money and change your family tree forever.

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