October Thank You Letter

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I've had this verse stuck in my head for over a month now. It isn't the most common of passages, but I can't seem to get over it. It goes something like this:

 

If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.

This passage, found in Isaiah 58:10-12, has given me so much hope over this last season. We here at Forerunner pour ourselves out for our young men and their mothers. We satisfy their desire to be loved and supported. We work tirelessly to raise up the foundations of all our kids so that one day their kids won't know what it is like to live in a father-absent home. We believe the Lord is using us to repair the broken and to mend hurting hearts. 

 

His provision causes me to give thanks. Thank you, Lord, that you guide us continually. Thank you that you make us strong in times of need. Thank you that you never fail us and give us exactly what we need to prosper when we need it. Thank you for always taking care of us and our Forerunners. 

 

My hope in writing this is that you too would be encouraged by the Lord and all that he has done regarding Forerunner. Just this past week, we had one of our 8th graders get baptized with his mentor watching. We also had a Mom's Night last week where we got to pray with some of our wonderful Forerunner mothers. It was incredible. God is moving, and I feel lucky to be a part of it. Whether you are a mentor, tutor, donor or prayer, He is using you to make an impact in the lives of our people. 

 

All of this couldn't be possible without you and your support. Keep praying for us. I believe prayer works and has the power to make the impossible possible. We are grateful for you and all your support. Thank you. 

-ZRG

Relationships Change Lives

September Thank You Letter

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We need each other. 

We were never meant to go through this life alone.

We need each other to make us laugh. We need each other to comfort through hard times. We need each other to encourage when life gets hard. This applies to everyone: rich, poor, black, white, young, old. We all need each other. 

When we don’t have anyone, we are prone to isolation. Loneliness sets in. Being alone. And what happens when we are alone? Well, we are an easy target for the enemy. His goal is to separate us from the pack. The enemy wants to destroy anything that removes aloneness. Community, friendships and family... he wants those gone. 

But I believe the very thing that the enemy wants to destroy is the very thing that the Lord has called us to provide. The enemy wants to steal kill and destroy, but the Lord wants to bring life and life to the fullest.

At Forerunner, we provide relationships. Relationships with young men growing up without fathers around, and relationships with the single mother and her family. It’s our prayer that those relationships ultimately point others to Jesus Christ so that our friends can build their own relationship with the One who saves and the One who gives life to the full list.

You help us make that happen. Thank you. Thank you for your prayers, your support, and your donations. You’re a part of our family and we thank you for that.

More of Him. Less of us. 

-ZRG

Relationships Change Lives

August Thank You Letter

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I don’t really think I need to add anything else.

Thank you for helping us serve our Forerunners. God is moving… and it’s our joy to watch him work through our ministry. Your support plays a major role in allowing us to do God’s call for us. You are appreciated. We are grateful.

-ZRG

Relationships Change Lives

K-2 Foundations Program Coordinator - Meet Caroline!

One of my good friends has a saying that I have come to love, “Life is a people game." What he means when he says that is that good people make or break an organization. We can teach almost anyone the ins and outs of mentoring, but you can’t teach someone how to love and serve kids like Jesus, and you can’t teach someone how to selflessly minister and care for the fatherless. People like that are rare. They don’t come around too often.

Lucky for us, we found one. Caroline Gibbons starting working for Forerunner part time in our K-2 Foundations Program last fall. She displayed all the qualities that we look for in a Forerunner employee. She was faithful and hard working. She loved our Forerunners for who they are not for what they do. She was encouraging and upbeat. Simply put, our Forerunner’s and their mothers felt the love of Jesus every time they interacted with Caroline. We decided her character and skills were too valuable to lose and asked her to hop on board full-time as our K-2 Foundations Program Coordinator. She will also help out with Forerunner’s operations and communications. Please help us welcome Caroline to our full-time staff. I know she will be a blessing to our staff and our Forerunner families as she helps us become the best ministry we can be!

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T Bar M

The Place to Be!

We love providing experiences for our Forerunners. Anytime we have an opportunity to open up a door for our young men to guide them into something new, we try to make that happen! Meet people who are different than you. Do something you’ve never done before. Travel outside your comfort zone. We believe the Lord can unlock so many things as we venture into the unknown. And look at those smiles! T Bar M was, once again, a huge blessing to our Forerunners and their mothers. Our boys had an absolute blast while Mom got a week to herself back in Lake Highlands. We sent some of our younger Forerunners to Sports Camp in New Braunfels, TX while our junior high Forerunners spent the week at Camp Travis near Austin, TX. No phones. No TV. No worries. Just a whole lot of fun in a safe, Christian environment. We can’t wait to go back next year! Thank you for providing a way for our Forerunners and their moms to experience the blessing of T Bar M.

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What is KAA?

KAA - You Know!

KAA is a camp specifically for inner-city kiddos that is located near Branson, Missouri. It was started by the same crew that started Kanakuk camps, but branched off to be its own separate entity a few years back. Because of you, our generous supporters, we were able to send some kiddos to KAA for a week. It is a wonderful time for our Forerunners to get out of Dallas and experience camp life! Camp has a special place in my heart. There is just something special about it. It was at a Christian camp during my high school years that the Lord began the process of stirring up my heart for more of Him. We prayed that our Forerunners would have fun and grow in their relationship with Jesus. We had four of our Forerunners re-dedicate their lives to Christ and we were able to encourage them in their spiritual journey. We had a wonderful time exploring the outdoors, meeting new friends, and hearing the Gospel from their incredible camp counselors. Thank you for making the dream of camp a reality for our Forerunners!

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June 2018 Thank You Letter

Welcome to June. Welcome to the hot. Welcome to the summer. As we look back on the school year, we have a number of things to celebrate. Here are a few:


- Every child in our after-school programs received 384 hours of intentional love, care, and support. We spent this time building relationships with our young men and investing in their academic growth, character development, and spiritual maturation. Trust the process.

- We gave our moms a night off almost every single month through our Forerunner Mom’s Class. We spent this time building community among our mothers and our Forerunner friends. We heard the Gospel. We shared testimonies. We laughed and cried and everything in between. We even had one mom express interest in being discipled. That’s a huge win. Relationships change lives.


- We matched up ten new mentors with their Forerunners. That means ten kids who are growing up without a father figure present now have a positive male role model to look up to and to guide them into manhood. Invest. Love. Transform.


- We were able to send every one of our kids to at least one summer camp. We partnered with T Bar M camps, KAA Kamps, Dallas Parks and Rec, and Heger Watersports Camp to give our kiddos something positive to do throughout the summer months. This is also a way to give mom a well-deserved week off of parenting.


Let us celebrate what happened this year. Let us praise the Lord for his faithfulness. Let us continue to work hard serving our neighbors while we keep our eyes on him. It takes a village and everything that you just read could not be possible without your support. Your financial contribution allowed the vision that the Lord gave us to become a reality.  You allow us to be “Jesus in tennis shoes”.

Hear us when we say… thank you. You are appreciated. We are grateful.

More of Him. Less of us!

-ZRG

Relationships Change Lives

May 2018 Thank You Letter

We never got into this to help kids’ make good grades.


As a former educator, I am all about education. I think education opens doors for a successful future. I believe the Lord has given each of us a unique mind and skill set and it is our responsibility to steward that to the best of our ability. But in regards to our Forerunner kids, I am much more concerned with their heart. We have this saying “I’d rather our Forerunners be garbage men who love Jesus than a doctor who doesn’t.” And that’s true. I believe, while God cares about the stewardship of our minds, he cares more about our hearts.


But how awesome is it to be able to look at a kid and see him fulfill his God-given potential in both heart and mind. How cool would it be if our kids become doctors who actually do love Jesus?


During our afterschool program, we focus a little bit on school. We keep track of their grades, keep them organized, communicate with their teachers and help them with their homework, but our overall goal is not to focus on school. Our number one priority is to focus on Jesus Christ. But a strange thing happens when you start loving these kids with the love of Christ. Something changes inside of them when you begin to focus on the positive while speaking truth into their lives.


Someone once said to encourage is to open up a child’s chest and to insert courage. I think that’s exactly what we are doing here at Forerunner. We are giving kids the courage to risk doing their best. We are giving kids the courage to fail because they know we love them for who they are not what they do. We are giving kids the courage to be, maybe for the first time in their lives, who God created them to be.


And look at what happens. Some kids realize they are actually smart. Some kids realize they can do the thing they thought they’d never be able to do. That’s what happened with our friend Ebrima. He just got inducted into National Honor Society at Lake Highlands Junior High. That is something that we never envisioned for him when he started in our program during his 4th grade year. We didn’t shoot for this goal; it just happened as we did our best every day and pumped Ebrima full of encouragement. When the people of Christ start acting like the people of Christ, kid’s lives get changed. They begin to see themselves as Christ sees them. They begin to get a vision for what they could become as they think of themselves as valuable and full of worth.


Thank you for helping us give these kids the opportunity to see themselves that way. Thank you for supporting a program that encourages kids on a daily basis by seeing them the way that Christ sees them.  Thank you.


More of Him. Less of us!

-ZRG

Forerunner Focus March 2018

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Volunteer Interest Meetings

We are looking for mentors to invest into our young men, women to befriend our Forerunner mothers, and tutors to help encourage our students academically! Pick one meeting and come learn more about what it looks like to serve with Forerunner Mentoring. Please tell your friends and neighbors to come as well! 

All meetings are from 2:00-3:30pm @ 8676 Skillman St. 75243
 
April 15th
April 22nd
May 8th


March Family Dinner

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One of our favorite ways to build relationships is through our monthly family dinners. It is just a wonderful time for all of our families to come together and be with each other. We believe spending time together is the best way to build relationships... and you know we think relationships change lives. Special thanks to Normandy Church for hosing our March Family Dinner. 


Forerunner Firefighters

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One of the goals in our Forerunner Junior High Development Program is to introduce our boys to different professions in life to give them an idea of what they can be when they become adults. One of our Forerunner Friends is a Richardson Fire Fighter and gave our junior high Forerunners full access to the fire station and fire engine. Our young men learned so much about the ins and outs of Firefighting. Special thanks to the Richardson Fire Department for all the kindness and positivity they showed our young men.


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Let's Go Mavs!

Look, we all know watching the Dallas Mavericks might not be the most fun this year due to their terrible record, but don’t tell our kids that! We had so much fun building relationships with our Forerunners at the Mavs game! The boys had a blast stuffing their face full of pizza, causing ruckus on a big ole’ bus, and cheering on the home team. I know it seems like “just a game” for most people, but this was an opportunity for our kids to experience something new in life. Most of our kids have never been to a game before! Thank you so much to all who made this night possible.

April 2018 Thank You Letter

One of the focuses of our Junior High Development Program is to teach our Forerunners skills that we believe every man should know. We’ve already taught our boys how to put up a tent, shake a hand, and ask engaging questions. Next up on the list; how to make a delicious hamburger. One of our Board Members volunteered to let us use his grill, so we packed up all of our ingredients and headed over there.

As we’re sitting there smashing the meat into patties, one of our Forerunners noticed something. He nudged our Team Leader Isaac and said “How come there are so many people in this house?”

In the short 5 minutes we had been at the house, our kids had already met mom, dad, and two of their three sons. He witnessed them talking, laughing, and just living life together like they normally do. He looked at Isaac and said “Man. I wish I had that. I wish I had brothers and I wish my dad was around. This is the perfect family. This is like my dream family.”

Isaac, not knowing what to say in the moment, stuck his finger in our Forerunner’s chest and said “You can have a family just like this one day. This can be you in 30 years.” In that moment, I hope our Forerunner realized that his story can be different. I pray he understands he can one day have a “dream family” of his own.

Thank you for helping our Forerunners realize that their story isn’t finished. Thank you for showing them that there is another way. Thank you for giving them hope.

Invest. Love. Transform.

-ZRG