Blessed Through ECHO
The last 5 years of my life honestly, feel like a dream. In so many ways, it feels as though I have been sitting back and watching someone else’s life. From the moment I typed, “foster care north East TN” into my Google search, everything changed. I often think of the little boy who offered his lunch to Jesus. All he had was a small, seemingly insignificant lunch. Jesus took that lunch and fed 5,000. Jesus has taken our family’s willingness to foster, a small offering on our part, and continues to work a miracle right in front of our very eyes.
Isaiah 117 House came out of that foster care experience. Our first foster placement, Isaiah, took us on an 1,107-day foster care journey that would expose a broken system and thousands of children in great need. God took us, and our little offering, into the trenches and opened our eyes. Hundreds of children in our region are being removed from their families each and every year. These children feel alone, forgotten, unwanted, and in many cases they believe they are to blame. God asked us if we would be willing to tell them they are not alone. He wanted us to show them they have never been forgotten, that they are loved and that this is not their fault. And so once again, we offered up a small, scared “yes” and God took over.
These children feel alone, forgotten, unwanted, and in many cases they believe they are to blame. God asked us if we would be willing to tell them they are not alone.
God has provided for this ministry, Isaiah 117 House, at each and every turn. God’s people have shown up ready to answer the call. It has been amazing to see the “church” stand up and say these children deserve better!
I could share story after story and example after example but here is just one. Not long after we opened our doors in Carter County, one of the contractors who worked on the project called and said, “I forgot to tell you but you really need to get that fence pressure washed and sealed ASAP.” That same day, I received an email from GFC asking is we would like to participate in the ECHO day of service.
Families from GFC showed up and pressure washed and sealed the entire fence. This fence that surrounds a playground where children who are going through a really hard day can go outside and swing, and play, and be a kid. This fence, which on the most traumatic day of a child’s life, provides privacy and protection.
Not only did they seal a fence, several of those same families still follow and support our ministry and are now helping us move our ministry into Washington County. You see, it’s not about a fence. It’s about taking time to serve others. It’s about giving of yourself for the sake of those in need. It’s about offering up your small; seemingly insignificant lunch and seeing what God can do with it!
Ronda Paulson, Founder and Director, Isaiah 117 House