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

Volunteer Interest meetings all dates 2.jpg

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

3665fe58-4b8d-457f-a9a3-77045683fe63.jpeg

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

7eaa9310-c365-4560-a8ad-26ec0833d0b3.jpg

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.


fca773e9-8723-4aeb-aea4-d77c08aa60a5.jpg

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

March 2018 Thank You Letter

I wish you all could have seen it.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen our Forerunners as excited as they were for this Mavericks game. Our kiddos couldn’t stop talking about it. They got a chartered bus, pizza, t-shirts, backpacks, and an opportunity to meet some of the Maverick’s dance team. It was three hours of solid laughter and joy.

But it wasn’t the game that got them all up in a tizzy. It was being with each other. It was hanging out with their mentor. It was the feeling that they were special and valued. Honestly, I’m not even sure one kid sat back and enjoyed watching the basketball game. But I know every kid enjoyed feeling important.



Going to a Mavericks game doesn’t change a life. It’s what happens at that Mavericks game that makes an impact. The conversation, the affirmation, the encouragement, the laughter… those are the things that change a kid. Those are the things that make him feel like he has what it takes to succeed in this game called life.



Thank you. Thank you for supporting our ministry and for helping each one of our Forerunners get a chance to experience the feeling of being loved. Thank you for making these relationships possible.

Relationships Change Lives,

-ZRG



Forerunner Focus February 2018

getonhislevel.JPG

We Love Because He First Loved Us

We're all about loving God and loving our neighbor here at Forerunner Mentoring. We build relationships to help our families experience scripture and the love of Jesus Christ. We do that through mentoring, quality after-school programming, and serving our mothers.  

Serve With Us.jpg

Gal-entine's Day Party!

What do you get when you mix Valentine’s Day with a bunch of our lovely Forerunner moms? You guessed it: you get a Gal-entine’s Day Party! We absolutely loved being able to spend some time with our Forerunner Friends and our Forerunner Moms. Nails were painted, stories were shared, and a good time was had by all. We even sent our moms home with a gift bag with some goodies and a copy of Francis Chan’s book “Crazy Love.” Special thanks to Lake Highlands’ Women’s League for the always-delicious food!

Feb Newsletter 1.JPG

We Got a Few New Friends!

Feb Newsletter 2.png

 

Dallas After-School

One of our values is “Always Be Growing.” We believe that there is always room to improve, and that’s why we sought out Dallas After-School. Dallas After-School exists to unify after-school care programs in Dallas County. They make sure we are providing quality after-school programs to help us increase academic scores, social-emotional skills, attendance in school, as well as reducing negative behaviors. We are so excited to have the opportunity for DAS to coach and train our Forerunner staff in new ways to better our programs! We value the covering of Dallas After-School big time!

 

Antioch Dallas

It feels good to have friends. Friends who care about you. Friends who have your back. Friends who believe in you. Relationships change lives, right? Antioch Dallas and Forerunner have been casual friends for a while now, but we decided to take our relationship to the next level. With their new building here in Lake Highlands, their church is a great place for Lake Highland families to come and gather. We’re excited to have a church right in our own backyard that supports the work we are doing here in LH!

Feb Newsletter 3.jpg
Feb Newsletter 4.jpeg

A Triumph-ant Family Dinner

I wish you could have seen the size of these ribs. They were as thick as my 3 year old’s arms, I swear. We are beyond thankful for Triumph Bank, their giant BBQ trailer, and their volunteers who provided our February Forerunner Family Dinner. Seriously, these people showed up at 1pm, cooked for 5 hours, and provided delicious food free of cost to our families. They took care of the hard part while we got to have fun and build relationships. Special shout-out to Triumph Bank and our LH friends of Forerunner who made the connection! 

February 2018 Thank You Letter

Gal-entines Day Party

What do you get when you mix Valentine’s Day with a bunch of our lovely Forerunner moms? You guessed it, you get a Gal-entine’s Day Party! We absolutely loved being able to spend some time with our Forerunner Friends and our Forerunner Moms. Nails were painted, stories were shared, and a good time was had by all. We even sent our moms home with a gift bag with some goodies and a copy of Francis Chan’s book “Crazy Love”. Special thanks to Lake Highland’s Women’s League for the always-delicious food!


We Got a Few New Friends: Antioch Dallas

It feels good to have friends. Friends who care about you. Friends who have your back. Friends who believe in you. Relationships change lives, right? Antioch Dallas and Forerunner have been casual friends for a while now, but we decided to take our relationship to the next level. With their new building here in Lake Highlands, their church is a great place for Lake Highland families to come and gather. We’re excited to have a church right in our own backyard that supports the work we are doing here in LH!


Dallas After-School

One of our values is “Always Be Growing”. We believe that there is always room to improve, and that’s why we sought our Dallas After-School. Dallas After-School exists to unify afterschool care programs in Dallas County. They make sure we are providing quality after-school programs to help us increase academic scores, social-emotional skills, attendance in school, as well as reducing negative behaviors. We are so excited to have the opportunity for to DAS coach and train our Forerunner staff in new ways to better our programs! We value their covering big time!


A Triumph-ant Family Dinner

I wish you could have seen the size of these ribs. They were as thick as my 3 year old’s arms, I swear. We are beyond thankful for Triumph Bank, their giant BBQ trailer, and their volunteers who provided our February Forerunner Family Dinner. Seriously, these people showed up at 1pm, cooked for 5 hours, and provided delicious food, free of cost to us, for a bunch of our Forerunner families. They took care of the hard part while we got to have fun and build relationships. Special shout-out to Triumph Bank and our LH friends of Forerunner who made the connection!  


Relationships Change Lives

-ZRG

Even If...

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." -- John 14:18

I cannot think of too many things that are worse than a child growing up all alone. No one there to love them. No one there to guide them or discipline them. No one there to encourage them or show them that they are special. The orphan is in direct contrast to the father heart of God.

Have you ever felt that way? Alone? On an island of fear without anyone there to encourage or guide you? I have. It’s not fun. Sometimes in this game of life, a curveball gets tossed my way. Some unexpected situation pops up that I do not know how to handle. I get scared. I doubt myself. Uncertainty creeps in. This even happens in my spiritual life from time to time. Lord, are you even there? Have you left me all alone to handle this situation where I have no idea what to do?

But he has not left us as orphans. No. He is with us. He died, he rose again, his Spirit is with us, and he is coming back. We are not alone. We have Jesus. And what better person to have on your side? No matter what we are going through—no matter what life throws at us—we have Jesus and His spirit to guide us. He will lift us up out of the mess that we are in. We can trust Him. We can lean on Him. We can go to Him whenever we feel like it. He has made each and every one of us with intentionality. We have a purpose. He has given us a vision and a call, and that’s good news. Our job here at Forerunner is to make sure that our families know who God truly is, what he has done for us, and what he will continue to do for his people. That is why I praise him today.

 

You lifted me up, up out of the dirt. You have washed me with kindness and with the love in Your words. You renew the fire, of love and desire that I carried at first.

You gave me a sound Lord, only I can release. A voice in the earth, that you call me to be. So I will not let fear, pain, or regret steal the song I was born to sing.

Even if my heart should break. Even if I am still afraid. I will rise up and I’ll praise you all the more. Even when I feel defeat, I will live from victory. I will rise up and praise you all the more.

You’re making me stronger. You’re making me bold. You’re igniting my spirit with the flame of Your words until joy like a river is running deep within me and breaks out wild and free.

No matter what mountains I face. Nothing is going to silence my praise to you God.

I will praise you with all I have.

 

 

Merry Christmas

Some people say that it is the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas time. A time for family. A time for celebration. A time to be filled with joy. For us here at Forerunner, it is a time for all of those things. 

We are so thankful for our Forerunner Family. It is because of you that we are able to build relationships with those who have been impacted by fatherlessness. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your donations. Thank you for your connections. Thank you for believing in us. It really means more than we can express. I am personally encouraged by your support. 

We celebrate. The Lord has done so many good things through the people of Forerunner Mentoring. I was talking to a mentor named Jordan the other day and he was telling me about a conversation he had with his 9 year old Forerunner on the way to one of our events. He told me that his Forerunner now refers to himself as the "Old Cannon" and the "New Cannon". The Old Cannon was the Cannon before Forerunner. This was the Cannon that used to make fun of people, fight, and yell at his teacher. The New Cannon has learned a new way. A better way. This Cannon now tries to be kind to people, be respectful to authority, and control his emotions. Now, is Cannon perfect? By no means! But he is trying. And he is transforming. And we're pretty sure the Lord is using Jordan and the staff at our after-school program to rewrite Cannon's story. Now that we can celebrate. We celebrate our God as we say "the old is gone, the new has come!" 

We are filled with joy as we reflect upon Jesus Christ and all that he has done for us. To think that the Lord of everything sent his son to die for me, a sinner, still baffles me. It sounds too good to be true. I guess that's why it is called "The Good News". It is too good to be true. Jesus loves me despite all of my junk. And he loves you too. He also loves our moms and every kid in our program. He loves us. He really does. No matter what. He will never stop loving us. He will never leave us. He will never forsake us. He loves us. He likes us. When he thinks about us, he smiles. He is not disappointed in us. He doesn't judge. He loves us just as we are. He never changes. And it will always be like that. That truth fills me with joy today. 

Thank you. Thank you for joining us as we do the Lord's work here in East Dallas. We invite you to celebrate with us as we stop and reflect on all that God has done through this ministry. We pray that you are filled with joy as you stop and reflect on all that God has done for you because of his great love for you. 

Merry Christmas to you and yours. May the grace and peace of the Lord be with you today.

More of Him. Less of us!

 
 
Garzilla Signature.png

Forerunner Focus November 2017

mom pic.jpg

The Impact of a Mom

Think back to your childhood. Was there anyone more influential on you than your mother? For a young man growing up without a father figure in the house, mom is everything. She is the authority. She is the comforter. She is the one who you went to in time of need.

So let me run this past you, if a mother is the single most important person in the life of a young man who doesn't live with his father, shouldn't we be empowering her to be the best person she can be for her family? Shouldn't we be doing whatever we can to ensure that the most important person in the life of our Forerunners is pushing him towards good?

We think the answer to both of those questions is an emphatic "yes". A huge part of what Forerunner Mentoring does is what we call Forerunner Family; a ministry created solely to help our moms flourish. A few weeks ago, we had our first Forerunner Family Enrichment Class. We laughed a ton as our moms and advocates got to know each other just a little bit better. The goal of this class is for our moms to build relationships with us and other moms while surrounding them with community and support. We are so grateful for the opportunity to equip our mothers with some extra tools to help her lead her family. So you go Mom. Do your thing. And remember, we're here for you if you need us. 

Let's Hoop It Up!

Huge shoutout to the Lake Highlands basketball team led by Coach Duffield. These high school students have been pouring positivity and encouragement into our Forerunners and giving them someone just a few steps ahead of them to look up to. I mean, look up at the picture above. Check out Daniel in the gray shirt. You might as well give him a spoon because he is eating it up! 

We look forward to getting to know our LH hoopsters better as the school year goes on and cheering them on from the stands. Click here to view their schedule and go catch a game or two!  Let's go 'Cats!

IMG_0237.jpg
 
IMG_0171.JPG

 

Tailgate Time

Did you hear the LHHS football team mad the playoffs again this year? Did you hear Forerunner had a tailgate to support the Varsity 'Cats a few weeks back? Coincidence? I think not my friend.

Forerunner Mentoring had our 4th annual Forerunner Tailgate earlier this month. We had a couple master grillers on the grill cooking up hot dogs as a bunch of Forerunner and Wildcat supporters jumped to the moon on the bounce houses. Faces were painted. I ate too many hot dogs. A good time was had by all. Until next year!

 

Wanna Getaway?

Southwest Airlines might be onto something here. We all need some time to ourselves for a little bit of rest and relaxation. This world can be a tough place sometimes. I don't know about you, but I'm always rushing from one thing to the next with little time to come up for air. Sometimes it seems like the word "rest" is a four-letter word. I mean, it is, but you know what I mean...

Anyways, the same thing can be said for our Forerunner moms. We have been doing this thing for a while called Forerunner Getaway Days. You might be asking yourself, what is a Getaway Day? Well, let me tell you. A Getaway Day is when our Forerunner moms can take a day to relax and do something for themselves. Our moms are so busy keeping food on the table and raising their boys that they rarely get to hang out with their friends and do something for themselves. 

IMG_0039.JPG
 
IMG_0323.JPG

 

Fishers of Fish

We here at Forerunner consider ourselves fishers of men, but sometimes it's just plain fun to be fishers of fish too! We partnered with Stewards of the Wild (SOTW) to strike fear in the gills of every fish from here to Waco. We are super thankful to SOTW for providing lunch, a stocked pond for us to fish on, and trophies for all who participated. One goal of Forerunner is to expose our young men to things they wouldn't encounter on a normal basis. I feel we accomplished that during this trip. Thank you SOTW!