Friends of Glenhaven,
A dear comrade with a deep connection to this ministry asked me yesterday, “What is the heart of Glenhaven?”
What an important question! I wish everyone would ask me this, and I imagine you may have wondered this at one time or another… perhaps now. Reading this letter, you may be a long-time supporter of Glenhaven, having prayed and sacrificed with us through many joys and tribulations. Or you may be a recent friend of the ministry, not yet intimate with Glenhaven’s story and mission to children and families. To both readers and everyone in between, I want you to know the heart of this ministry you support with your prayers, gifts, and time.
The Heart of Glenhaven
The heart of Glenhaven, overflowing into everything we do, is our Christian faith. We know from the narrative in Scripture that when God looks out upon humanity, He sees us in all our brokenness, foolishness, and rebellion. Yet His response is not to judge us, condemn us, or wait for us to “get it together”.
Instead, God meets us where we are and loves us! He became like us in Jesus Christ so that we could relate to Him, and He lived real life alongside us. He prepared the way for abundant and eternal life, and then invited us to follow Him. Our acceptance and eternal salvation is based entirely on the work of Jesus Christ, which we receive through simple faith. As often as we fail, we may experience consequences, but we never escape His unconditional love.
As a ministry founded in this faith, when we see families in crisis or children in disobedience, we don’t judge them or wait for them to “get it together”. Rather, we model Jesus by meeting them where they are and genuinely loving them. We walk real life alongside them and invite them to join us on the same path we are walking: the faith-journey that leads to abundant and eternal life.
Faith in Action
We desire for families to thrive. In a society steeped in worldliness, Glenhaven does not have all the answers. Yet we believe that every answer can be found in Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It was Jesus who commissioned the Church,
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19 (ESV)
Glenhaven’s mission is just a subset of this Great Commission. Each of us has experienced how life can either draw us closer to or distract us away from Jesus. This is why Glenhaven comes alongside the Church and offers structure and expertise for discipleship among children and families, even in tough places. Here’s what that looks like:
- Homes Of Peace & Encouragement (HOPE) supports children and strengthens families in times of crisis. Through workshops, family coaching, and host home placements, Glenhaven equips the Church with the expertise, structure, and oversight to effectively restore children and families who are at-risk of state intervention.
- Communities And RElationships (CARE) creates the environments and experiences where children and families may thrive, regardless of their background. Through after school programs, summer camp, and other relational experiences, Glenhaven coordinates communities that care.
Since we launched these programs last year, we have seen God work in many ways. Specifically, 236 families have been impacted by these programs:
- 15 youth engaged in after school programming.
- 172 campers reached with the gospel at CAYC.
- 48 families encouraged through family coaching.
- 1 child placed in a host home, preventing a foster care placement.
It is evident that the need is great. With tested programs that have proven success, we seek to increase our reach and impact more children and families. As we call and equip the community, we will have the capacity to grow significantly!
The Path Ahead
Who can know the path ahead? Our God is sovereign, and we follow His lead. I love what John Cunningham has instilled in me, that we “walk by faith and move at the speed of grace.” But this I know: our God is at work in and through us to reach and restore children and families. He has placed a passion in my heart and a fire in my belly. We are moving forward!
The ranch property where Glenhaven operated for over 20 years remains for sale. God may provide the buyer, freeing up capital for investment into our programs. Perhaps there is another purpose. Please pray with us as we explore opportunities to repurpose this property for ministry.
In July, we hired a CARE Director who is building on the success of this past year. Already, we have to cap enrollment for Sparks Out of School at 25 students, though we expect the program to grow to 40 by the end of the school year. Also this summer, we wrapped up our eighth year of participation with Central Arkansas Youth Camp, and it truly was the biggest and best year yet! Many doors continue to open in the community as we prove to be reliable and trustworthy.
As God provides, we will hire a HOPE Director who will plumb the depths of potential for this incredible program. There is an enormous gap in services for at-risk families! Group homes cannot scratch the surface. While it’s true that we need more foster and adoptive parents, we especially need fewer kids going into foster care. Families need a clear path for restoration when they are most vulnerable. The Church needs the structure and expertise to walk this path with them. We can stand in this gap.
What is your heart? How has that played out this year? Where is it leading you now? I invite you to connect with us, and I thank you for your continued support. Truly, I am honored to share this adventurous faith-journey with you!