Wednesday’s are for Women: Jennifer Foland

I’ve heard it said that each person is given Spiritual gifts and aptitudes and although your interests and hobbies in life will change, these gifts or inward nudgings for your place in life or purpose that God created you for will find it’s way to continually resurface . My family has been attending Greenwood Baptist Church for almost 7 years . We have been very involved with Horsemen for Christ and when Brian Bond, the pastor of Greenwood, came on board with them after a cutting horse camp at Silvarado Arena, my daughters said that they wanted to start going to Greenwood and try to get plugged into a church. Until this point, as a family we hadn’t taken the step to be dedicated to attend a church gathering every Sunday.

The idea of outreach; however, was not a new one to my family. The Lord had placed this on my heart at an early age and I remember one particular Mothers Day where we were all dressed up, the girls were in matching dresses and we even made it to the early service ( which will surprise those of you that know how punctual my Family is ). In the middle of the service Jeff’s pager went off and he had to leave to go do an emergency colic surgery . So here we were , my two beautiful girls, all dressed up and our Mother’s Day lunch just got postponed. I had a moment (or so ) that I was kind of feeling sorry for myself that on Mother’s Day we would have our plans changed , but that was typical in our life . So I said, “Girls let’s go do something special this Mother’s Day.” My Grandmother always told me and my kids that the only way to be truly blessed is to give to others . So we went to Walmart and Brookshires and bought every carnation they had and my two beautiful matching dressed girls and I went to the hospital and gave flowers to all the ladies/mothers in the hospital and then went to my Grandmothers nursing home and did the same thing . For me, this was one of the most memorable Mother’s Days i have had and it was the first time I served alongside my kids.

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The kids got more involved in the Church and I too wanted to be more involved but I struggled to balance the crazy life of being a veterinarian’s wife, raising and showing cutting horses, and raising three kids . I remember my daughter Jordann’s first outreach with Austin and the church. They passed out free glowsticks to trick or treaters on Halloween! Jordann of course came home from that outreach with a big fluffy cat she claimed to have rescued from sheer doom. We still have that cat!!! She went on several more outreaches with Austin and Ashley and loved it, and I as a mom was so proud that my daughter was serving and involved in church . This seemed like a great way for the “younger” people to learn to serve and be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Several months later I signed up to go on a church mission trip to Haiti, which I Almost backed out of TWICE. I had a long list of reasons of why it really wasn’t the best time for me to go, but in the end, after a lot of prayers I still went. In Haiti, our mission team did outreaches and served food and prayed for and gave clothes to the people of Haiti. After we got home, Austin asked me if I could help serve with Greenwood at our local soup kitchen. As we were serving Austin explained that they were thinking about expanding their outreaches where we now would, instead of just sending out one team, we would send out three teams to serve our community in practical ways. Austin asked if I would pray about being a part of this by being one of the leaders of the three teams.

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Again I thought that mostly it was the kids that did the outreaches and although I felt they were wonderful and extremely important, I just didn’t think that our crazy lifestyle would allow for every other Saturday to be available for outreaches. I prayed about it and really wanted to serve along side my Kids. So I told Austin that I would do my best, but couldn’t guarantee that I would be able to be there very much. The Lord is amazing like that because I continued to show horses, go to ball games, and live the crazy life we lead, but when I gave a commitment to The Lord of every other Saturday, all of the sudden my schedule was free on almost every outreach Saturday. When the horses would show, they would draw to compete either the day before or after but, almost never on outreach days. We were blessed beyond words to serve together and my kids and their friends love it as much as I do!! We have seen The Lord go before us and touch lives in ways that you can’t imagine through small simple acts of kindness.Here’s a story that will hopefully encourage you:

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We were finishing an outreach one Saturday and my son Jarrett who was 12, his best friend Macrae (another outreach regular) and I are driving back to taco casa to meet the other outreach teams for lunch. We pass a homeless guy named Leo and his dog shadow, and the boys tell me that they want to go back and take food to Leo. So at taco casa we buy a meal for Leo and a burrito for his dog, and head back to the corner where we saw him. I pull up, park the car, and watch out the window as these two 12 year old boys go up to Leo and give him his food. Leo takes off his hat, they all hold hands and pray together!!

It was a powerful mom moment to see these boys who just a year before wouldn’t knock on a door to give away Popsicles at another outreach, Become young warriors for the Kingdom and feed and openly pray with a stranger. The outreaches plant seeds in both the giver and receiver. We need more families with hearts to give, teaching their kids how to reach out, and I believe that Greenwood’s outreach is helping to shape a generation of young Leaders. I’m so blessed to be one of the “old ” people serving alongside these young people as they show us through simple ” not so random” acts of kindness how to be the hands and feet of Jesus .

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