“Everyone can be a part of the foster care process. You don’t have to foster to still be a part of this ministry,” she told Baptist Press. “There’re so many different ways that you can be involved, everybody of all ages. I believe it’s important for me to provide opportunities for people to serve in this area, to give them an avenue to serve and to be obedient to what God wants us to do. But also, I think it brings more awareness to where we are with foster children. And it just takes everybody.”
Fostering can attract people with improper motives or the wrong mentality to be foster parents, but Draper said it’s difficult to weed those from the crop of good parents.
“But I’m kind of the way, ‘Let’s just water the flowers we have,’” Draper said. “And let’s try to get some more good flowers so the weeds can kind of go out.”
In addition to foster parenting, Christians can provide supplies, volunteer to provide respite care for up to two weeks when foster parents need to travel, or serve as babysitters for several hours or overnight. Journey provides certification for respite providers and babysitters.
“We just have to have more people of faith stepping it up,” she said.
Journey Road runs a 35-acre rental community for foster parents and respite providers in northeast Texas where parents have a community of support.
Draper encourages churches to generate community among foster parents and providers.
“What we want to do is model what could happen if other communities did this,” she said. “Now you don’t have to live on 35 acres together, but you could still have a small community of foster families that get to know each other and start supporting each other this way.”
Journey Road also hosts activities for foster parents and providers from the region, such as an annual back-to-school bash where children receive new clothing and shoes for school and providing Christmas wish lists.
Union Baptist feels compelled to help.
“The kind of feeling we all got in prayer was that it was just kind of a compulsion,” Smith said. “It became one of the only things the Lord would let us think about in terms of ministry. This is an issue that is familiar to us as a church body, and so it was easy I think for us as we prayed to begin to feel the Lord’s impression. This is the kind of ministry we can work on, that we can really support these families and bless them, and reach out to them.”
Union Baptist plans to partner with Journey Road in various foster care outreaches.
“We’re hoping people come to know Jesus, people come to faith through this work, first and foremost,” Smith said. “But we also want to help these families who are doing kind of one of the ultimate acts of charity. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory way; I mean that in the sense of Christian charity.”
This article originally appeared here.