During my adolescence, I often felt disconnected, even within the confines of my own home. The only place where I witnessed a glimmer of hope was at church, where I received encouragement to evolve and embrace the individual God intended me to become. As I listened to the Minister's words, I pondered, "Can such transformation truly manifest outside these walls?"
Believe me, discussing this has been incredibly difficult for me. The catalyst for launching this ministry stems from my own childhood experiences. Despite living with my biological mother and stepfather, I never felt a sense of belonging within my family, much like many foster children today. My relationship with my parents was strained; in fact, it was non-existent. Instead of encouragement, I was labeled a dreamer with unrealistic aspirations. Sadly, I internalized some of the negative behaviors I witnessed, resulting in becoming a statistic with multiple children from different fathers and two failed marriages. At 23, I even attempted suicide. However, overcoming these adversities left me deeply empathetic towards those silently suffering, particularly foster children. I comprehend, to a degree, their longing for love and belonging in an environment that doesn't provide it.
Expressing my struggles is challenging, especially considering my love for my mother, who will always hold a special place in my heart. I'm certain many foster children share similar sentiments towards their parents, despite circumstances preventing them from being together. It's a pain I wouldn't wish on anyone. While this ministry can't replace family bonds, I've experienced the Lord's provision through surrogate "foster moms and family." I've been blessed with numerous supportive individuals who've filled the void left by my biological family.
This journey has instilled in me a profound desire, one I believe the Lord has planted, to bridge the gap for these children and offer them the hope they so desperately need. I want them to understand that they're not alone and that our ministry aims to nurture them, ultimately empowering them to positively impact their communities and, in turn, others' lives. Through Let's Gather, I aspire to inspire and encourage youth to embrace their authentic selves, sharing the hope and encouragement I've found along my own journey.