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A/G foster families minister to children

Many Assemblies of God families have discovered that becoming foster parents is an excellent way to touch children’s hearts for eternity.

Michael and Renee Reed of St. Louis, Mo., became foster parents after a close relative challenged them to try it. An infant was placed in their home; and, after 9 months, the child was adopted by a loving family. Having to say good-bye broke Renee’s heart, and she decided that foster parenting was not for her.

"To this day it is still very painful to think of when she left," says Renee. "When you have babies in your home, you know you are all they have. You love them like your own."

Three days later, the agency called and asked if the family would like to foster another child. Renee had a change of heart and immediately went to the agency to pick up the child. Since then, the Reeds have fostered 33 children in seven years, including the 6-year-old boy and 3-year-old girl they foster today.

"All children need and deserve to be in a Christian home where they can be made to feel they matter," says Renee. "That is why we foster children. I pray that through our words and actions we are planting seeds that will stay with them."

To do that, the Reeds treat each child as one of their own and shower each with love and respect — something many of the children have never experienced. Before meals, the family gives thanks. At bedtime, prayers are said before Bible songs play on the cassette player. Michael and Renee also depend on the help of their two teen-age sons.

"The boys will be good dads," says Renee. "They change diapers, crank swings, fix formulas and burp babies. As a family we realize that this is a ministry and something we do because we have a heart for other people."

For moral support the Reeds turn to their church family at Southside Assembly of God (Jeff Smith, pastor) in St. Louis.

"Everyone at our church has been so supportive," says Renee. "The church family is our foster kids’ extended family."

In Grand Rapids, Mich., another Assemblies of God family has found the value of being a foster family for teen-agers. Theo and Kim Ndawillie have been foster parents for 11 years.

"The Lord gave us this to do," says Kim. "It has been a real eye-opener to the things we have like the benefits of healthy relationships, God’s anointing and provisions for our family."

Foster parenting requires much time and effort on behalf of the foster family, says Kim, and sometimes there are emotional upsets. But where others might see hardship, the Ndawillies see opportunity to minister to those who need it most — troubled teens.

"We have learned to be happy with very small victories and leave it all in God’s hands," says Kim. "We do a lot of praying and planting seeds and trust that the Holy Spirit will bring that fruit about later in their life."

The Ndawillies also depend on their church family at First Assembly of God in Grand Rapids, Mich., for support.

"We have an incredible youth group," says Kim. "Not just the pastors, but also the kids in the youth group. They always rally around our foster kids and support them. Nothing else compares to seeing the Lord work in their lives. Many of our children have made commitments to the Lord, and that is very satisfying."

Though each child eventually leaves, the Reeds and the Ndawillies survive the heartache of good-bye knowing God is in control.

"All that matters," says Renee, "is that for such a time as this God has brought these children into our lives."

— Kirk Noonan


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