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suzin

The Why

I’m often asked, “Why? Why Justin’s Place?” It may be a simple question, but the answer unfolds a little further with each mother and family we meet. This holiday season, as you receive dozens of opportunities to donate your resources and time, I want to share with you our very big “why Justin’s Place?”

The Why
This fall a 19-year-old girl reached out to us with a call for help. Lost and broken, she was a single, teen mother to three girls — ages 3,2, and 1 years old. When I met her, she was done — with life and everything it was throwing at her. Her story is a childhood full of hardship. She was sexually assaulted and forced to live on her own at age 14 and she made many choices that led to less than desirable outcomes. But there is hope.

This is where Justin’s Place kicks in: to empower and equip moms just like this one, to help them grow mentally, spiritually and physically so that they can live a life free of crisis and walk out of generational poverty. We are praying they ultimately impact the lives of their children and in doing so, change a generation.

None of this is easy, but Jesus did not walk away from the hard to love, the broken or the ugly. He modeled for us exactly how to love, how to enter into relationship and how to offer the kind of living water that can utterly change lives from hopeless to hopeful. At Justin’s Place that is exactly the model we follow — shoulder to shoulder, life-on-life relationships so that we can share the love of Christ and offer the hope of the abundant life He offers us all. Our mentor teams walk life with single moms, helping each of them create a safe and healthy home for their children.

That mother of three now knows that Justin’s Place is with her and she’s beginning to feel like there is something possible beyond what she’s known so far in her young life. She has felt love that is tangible, reliable and honest. Her problems are not gone, but they don’t seem as impossible with someone by her side. She is exactly why we do what we do every day and why we choose to fight for moms and families.

Please join us in sharing the generous love of Jesus as we help mothers grow mentally, physically and spiritualy and live free of crisis and generational poverty.

Join us!

Mentoring in a World of Measurements

Have you ever tried baking without measurements? I do it, not frequently, but every time I try baking I typically do it without paying much attention to the measurements. I emphasize “try” because without the correct measurements the cookies, cake, or brownies I am attempting to bake fail, epically.

Measurements are vital, but let’s face it, there are some things that cannot be measured. Maybe they cannot be measured immediately at least. This could not have become more evident when launching the Justin’s Place mentoring program in February called Multiply.

God made it evident that this program was necessary after taking 10 junior high and high school aged kids to Kids Across America back in August of 2016. During this camp, it was clear that God shook their lives and opened up their eyes to the need of having a deep meaningful relationship with Him, the God of the Universe. However, many of these kids would return home with little to no regular guidance on how they can live their lives in relationship with God. One child, clearly realizing this, looked her leader in the eyes and told her that she needed a mentor. She desired someone to be placed in her life that would walk alongside her pointing her to Jesus weekly. In that very moment a promise was made. It was promised to each child at the camp that they would be placed with a mentor.

This promise has now been fulfilled! On February 28th, 2017, we launched our mentoring program. It has now been three weeks since the launch which brings to mind the questions “how is it going?” and “Is it working?” This is precisely the moment of realizing that some things are very difficult to measure.

Allow me to let you in on the prelaunch of Multiply.

In order to form Multiply, in the months leading up to its launch, two “pre-mentors” that already served with Justin’s Place were paired with mentees. A college aged young lady with a high school girl, and a fresh out of college young man with two brothers in junior high. These two mentors have faced many challenges and attempted many solutions. Though they are so far from arriving at the perfect way to mentor, they have stayed consistent, obedient, and willing to point these kids to Jesus weekly. Once again, the question of “Is it working?” pops into mind. The answer? Yes, it is absolutely working! It may not have the measurements of ¾ baking soda, ½ cup of milk, 2 eggs, and so forth but it does have the measurement of life change.

These kids are getting flooded with foul information daily and they honestly have no guidance on how to process it all. Therefore, they often give in. They give into the world and what it tells them will bring happiness and pleasure. This includes but is certainly not limited to things like money, drugs, and sex. Oh, yes, even at such a young age these things are on the forefront of their minds. The world tells them that it will bring good but it actually brings destruction. It brings brokenness to lives, homes, and often, it brings literal death.

John 10:10 says that the thief has come to steal, kill, and destroy but I (Jesus) have come to give life and life abundantly.  This is what happens in a mentoring relationship. The child is steered toward a life of abundance and away from a life of destruction. We can’t set a two-hour timer and pop out the full, measured to perfection cake, but we can be faithful and watch lives change for generations to come.