Time for you to plant a seed?

 

 

 

Plant a Seed

The smallest seed of faith is better than the largest fruit of happiness.
Henry David Thoreau

 

A seed of inspiration for your day!

I found this story preparing for a women’s conference and I had to share it! If you want to read a great story about planting seeds, keep reading!

The moral of the story is that sometimes seeds we plant just don’t grow.

There is a greater lesson in the process of sowing than the seeds that are growing! Click To Tweet

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The Seed

A successful Christian business man was growing old and knew it was time to chose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his directors or his children, he decided to do something different.

He called all the young executives in his company together. “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO,” he said. “I have decided to choose one of you.”

The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. “I am going to give each one of you a seed today – a very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.”

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed.

He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed.

Every day, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.

Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by – still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil – he so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened.

Jim felt sick at his stomach. It was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right.

He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful–in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed. A few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.

Jim just tried to hide in the back.

“My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO.

“Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!”

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the financial director to bring him to the front.

Jim was terrified. He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!”

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed. Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, “Here is your next Chief Executive! His name is JIM!”

Jim couldn’t believe it. Jim couldn’t even grow his seed. How could he be the new CEO the others said?

Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was not possible for them to grow.

All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. “When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive!”

If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.

If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.

If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.

If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment

If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective.

If you plant hard work, you will reap success.

If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.

If you plant faith in Christ, you will reap a harvest.

So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.

Two thousand years ago Paul wrote to the church at Galatia the same story but with fewer words, “What you sow, so shall you reap” (Gal. 6:7).

“We are grass that will wither and die but the incorruptible seed of God’s Word will live forever – sow it daily into the life of your family! (1 Peter 1: 23 – 25).
[ Author Unknown — from akako via ‘Sermon Fodder’ (Sermon_Fodder@yahoogroups.com) ]

Creation is a giant container for God’s glory! Part 1

Isaiah 6:3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

 

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Summer 2014 was coming to a close…..I stood in awe of a moment on the beach at our family reunion, pictured above. Magnificent colors floated over the water. A giant canvas was painted, just for me. As the final beams of light from this golden  sunset spread across the sky, I felt like I received a giant goodnight kiss from God.  In my heart, the beauty confirmed scripture that declares creation is a manifestation of God’s glory.

How exactly does creation do this?

1.) Creation contains His signature :Psalm 19:1

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” 

Our universe is brimming with the glory of an intelligent creator. David, who wrote the book of Psalms, marveled as he looked into the ancient skies of earth and saw the work of God.  The sky is similar to the signature of a famous artist that authenticates His prized handiwork.  Each morning and night, we have been given a daily opportunity to observe God’s signature of authenticity on creation with each sunrise and sunset.

2.) Creation contains His goodness ! Genesis 1:31

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. 

From the dawn of the first sunrise, God filled the world with His goodness and immeasurable amounts of unending love through his creation.  He scattered stars across the sky and set the sun and moon in place. His universe would contain His finest expressions of creative majesty. Multi-colored planets swirled in the heavens while oceans teamed with living creatures. Mountains would reach toward the sky while streams glistened with sunbeams dancing. God blended the color palate of flowers and fields that would produce vegetation. Birds sored with feathered wings as creation was almost completed. God surrounded us with His beauty and glory in all of delight of creation. This process was not just good, but very good!

3.) Creation contains His power : Isaiah 40:26

Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing

Have you ever experienced the power of a wave knocking you over in the surf or a rapid pushing you forward out of control? Nature has power flowing through it that can’t always be controlled by men.   In 1994, our family experienced Hurricane Andrew as we lived in Miami during that time. Even with the best hurricane shutters and supplies, our home was almost completely destroyed. We learned, first hand, that nature is a powerful force that humans can not control. Yet, God’s power created all of  nature. He alone knows all the intricacies of the universe.

4.) Creation contains His divine nature: Romans 1:20

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

The creation of the world was meant to display God’s power and divine nature to every human. The word divine means “God like. ”  Our world  spins at the perfect distance from the sun for light and life to exist.  It’s almost egoistical to presume that creation came from a giant explosion from an unknown force.( And by the way, when was the last time a giant explosion created something of beauty? )

I found this quote in on the Creation Institute Website:

Two different conclusions can be drawn from the data which have been presented. The data indicate either that an omniscient Mind planned and designed our amazing planet,or that it originated by a fortuitous accident without plan or design. There is no middle ground! One must decide either God or chance!

What words come to your mind today when you think of the world as a giant container of God’s glory.

Does your heart agree with the words of the Bible or do you still wonder if this is all just chance?

In order to fully grasp our unique role in the world, we must grasp that creation is a giant container of God’s glory.

 

Do we declare like the scripture that the whole world is full of His glory?

A Mother’s Gift at Graduation :The gift of the Rock

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

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Graduation day is mixed with feelings of overwhelming love, pride and a tinge of uncertainty.

What now? How do I parent this adult child into the unknown? Will my child make good choices in college and will we still be close?

Why is it that I look at my fully grown son and my heart beats as fast as the moment I saw his little face for the first time?

When I was handed that little baby boy, I had no idea of the God sized purpose placed in my arms. Now as I see him dress in a cap and gown, I realize that graduation day means he is leaving boyhood officially behind and graduating into manhood.

Graduation day is mixed with feelings of overwhelming love, pride and a tinge of uncertainty.

What now? How do I parent this adult child into the unknown? Will my child make good choices in college and will we still be close? Honestly, I don’t have the answers to these questions as I am beginning this journey into the unknown myself.

What I do have is a lifetime of knowing that my God is indeed, my rock,  capable of holding strong faith in place when the world seems to be shifting. He is a mighty fortress of protection around my child into the unknown.  Before I even knew to pray, God would intervene on behalf of my son’s life.

 

I think back to the day he was born and his life was protected by the God who allowed the exact doctors office to be strategically placed right next door to the highest level trauma delivery team  that I would need for a fast emergency c-section that would save his life and mine.

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God was my deliverer 

I see the intervention of God over his life, as his father and I would divorce when he was only two years old. Before I even knew to pray for reconciliation, God was intervening, drawing the heart of my husband to a full surrender and orchestrating the resurrection of a godly re-marriage in Christ. Oh, how God has intervened to give my son a mother and father united in Christ, holding a family together that could surround him with generations of love.

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God was my salvation

I see my son growing strong and doing flips the other kids couldn’t do. He was jumping off the play house instead of playing underneath. With flips and twists, he was skateboarding when the other kids wanted to play soccer. “Hey Mom, watch me jump this curb” I would sit in the front yard with a smile and love my little dare devil. I would watch his passion for action grow and compete in wake board and skate boarding contests. When I wished his feet would just stay on the ground, I still knew he had to use his ability to ride the highest waves of life.

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God was my shield 

I see my son receive a scholarship this month,  to train as an officer in the United States Army and I see a man emerge from the protection of my home to learn to fight against the chaos of this world. My heart fills with both pride and fear at the unknown future he will face. Will this country appreciate his gift to serve?

God is my stronghold 

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My greatest gift today is knowing that I have my Rock, who will hold me when I am not sure how to do this” graduation thing.” My rock will hold strong when I am not sure how to let go of my boy. My rock will hold secure when I can’t tuck him in at night and make sure he is safe. My rock will hold my son for the rest of his life.

Today, I will be holding on to the Rock and that is the greatest gift a mother could have at graduation.

Will you remember with me, that if you have Jesus Christ as your savior, that you have the Rock too?

For any other mother that might be tempted today to feel alone or uncertain today –

I hope you know that because of  Jesus Christ, you have the gift of the Rock that will hold for you and your graduate  ! Would you like to list the name of your graduate that you are holding on to the Rock for as you read this- Leave me a comment with their name and your memory and we will hold onto the ROCK together.

 

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New Writers : 101 How to begin writing your story for Christian Publication

I believe with all my heart that one of the main reasons I am beginning to write is to help other people share their story too!

Christian Publication can be an intimidating process but I have found that there are a few industry concepts that I keep hearing that may help you begin your journey.

1. Writers Write! Find any opportunity to write and get started!

A blog is a great way to start writing and developing your content and writing style. There are many ministries that are specifically dedicated to helping you learn how to blog like : Blogging you passion. com You can listen to podcasts and learn valuable information about how and what to blog.  There are even COURSES on how to get started blogging and the technical aspects of blogging for beginners. IF like me, you are intimidated about this process, start small! Simply use a free blog site, like wordpress and get started. Do not invest any money into this process until you are very comfortable with personal blogging and have confidence that you have found your specific niche that you want to write about. BYP-logo

2.) Content is King, Platform is queen.

Your content as a writer is the key to getting published. Exactly who is your audience and what do you want to say to them? Your content will be the information in each of your chapters that adds value to another person’s life. Content can come from sermons you have written, quotes from other authors, research you have conducted or stories of other people you have collected. Start building a content file on your computer with notes, blurbs, chapter ideas and even partially written text. Building your content will become the key to having enough words and ideas for a book .

Platform is simply the number of people who read your content or who listen to you speak-

Do you have a twitter following? What about a congregation of people? Do you teach at a college? Every platform has to start somewhere, so don’t be intimidated if you don’t have anyone reading your information. Amanda Luedeke is an author and literary agent that has an excellent book on developing your platform. <PastedGraphic-2.pdf>The Extroverted Writer: An Author’s Guide to Marketing and Building a Platform is now available from AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

She gives excellent ideas for building an audience through social media and other avenues. If you haven’t already, start an Author Facebook page.( this needs to be separate form your personal page)  The author page should engage others and  let people know what you are doing and how they can be a part of the process.

3.) Attend a writers conference and learn from the experts!

Look for writing conferences in your area and attend them!

Last summer, I had the privilege of attending Carol Kent’s Speak Up Conference. At that conference I was able to meet with key players in the writing industry and begin networking . The professional industry experts were all present to give excellent, up to date advice and help both writers and speakers get started. Because Grand Rapids is the hub of Christian publishing, attendees have the opportunity to meet representatives from  Zondervan, Revell, Nav-Press and others.

Check out speakupconference.com The conference is a financial investment, but it is well worth the money in terms of your ability to network and learn.

 

These are my tips today and I will be writing more in the future-

I pray you will live repurposed !

Tracey


 

Do you support your friend’s ministry?

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Here is a little check list to find out if you support your friend’s ministry–

1.) Do you give your friend little tangible reminders of your support?

As I mentioned in my other post, my confidence was drooping before a big event and a friend drove some flowers to my doorstep. They encouraged me so much, that I put them in my car and took them to my upcoming event. It felt like I had a little reminder of how much my friend was standing beside me in prayer. Your tangible support could be a small piece of candy with a note or a text message with a picture. It doesn’t have to cost a lot, it just needs to be some way that you let them know you notice what they are doing for the Lord. Let’s face it- Ministry outside the comfort zone of your church family can be scary- Find a tiny way to say- GO FOR IT!

 

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2.) Do you help promote your friend’s ministry to others?

At the conference I had a book table and placed the flowers there to greet anyone who might want to talk! I loved hear ing all the responses from the ladies about the flowers. I proudly announced that my sweet friend gave these to me and I wanted to share them. It was an instant connection to the women meeting for me for the first time. They knew someone at home was supporting me and that says a lot. Do you ever post a wonderful comment on facebook about your friend’s ministry? Do you tweet her cool quotes? Do you talk about her to people who might have a connection? Do people around you know you stand to support your friend? Your praise and appreciation open the door for others to see your friend as a valuable ministry worth investing in. You are your friend’s living seal of approval. Wear her ministry with pride!

3.) Do you realize that your friendship has a vital role in the advancement of God’s kingdom?

At the conference, I was nervous but so much more confident with the prayer support of my dearest friends and the knowledge that they were” holding up my arms” in love. Many sent me text messages, prayed over the phone with me and sent me notes. Exodus 17:12-says When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side, one on the other–so that his hands remained steady till sunset. When Moses grew weak, he had his friends help hold up his arms to ensure the victory of a battle that faced God’s people. In a spiritual way, when you support a friend in ministry you hold up her arms and help God’s kingdom advance through her efforts. Never underestimate the importance of critical friends around you in ministry. You may just be the Aaron sent in to help “hold up a friend” to win the battle for the souls of people.

I cried when I read this card today sent by the ladies from my first women’s conference:

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Guest Blogger Mike Nimer: Are you really saved? Can you pass this faith test?

A theologian was once walking in a prominent city and was approached by a stranger who ostensibly was a Christian. He asked him, “Are you saved” to which the theologian replied, “Saved from what?”

His response seems rather condescending, but his motive was to try and ascertain whether or not this zealous witness understood the true nature of salvation, or was just parroting what he had been taught.

If someone were to ask you to define salvation, what would you say?

Most Christians would say it means to be saved from the penalty of sin (hell), which is correct (Romans 6:23). However, it also means to be saved daily from the power of sin (Phil. 2:12), and to one day be saved from the presence of sin (Romans 8:22-25).

Many in the American church claim they have been saved. Professions of faith are as common now as they were during the ministry of Christ (John 8:31). However, Jesus and the Apostles did not always accept everyone’s profession as necessarily genuine (John 2:23-24).

In fact, Jesus declared that he will one day expose those whose professions are spurious. Many will say to him on judgment day, “Lord” “Lord” and he will say to them, “depart from me I never knew you” (Matt 7:21-23).

So, this raises the question as to how one can know for sure he or she is a Christian. To say it another way, how can one have the assurance that they possess genuine saving faith?

Although we are saved by faith alone and not works (Titus 3:3-5; Ephesians 2:8-9), works do give evidence that one is saved. Martin Luther said, “We are saved by faith alone, but it’s not the faith that is alone.”

In the book of I John, the Apostle John gives several tests or works that can help determine if one possesses genuine saving faith.

Take the tests and see if you pass them

1. THE OBEDIENCE TEST

John says genuine believers will walk in a lifestyle of righteousness or obedience (I John 1:5-6; 3:7-9). The pattern of our life will be holiness and a desire to honor God. This does not mean we will be perfect (I John 2:1-2); not does it mean that true believers cannot have periods of barrenness or commit egregious sin (II Samuel 11; I Cor. 3:1-3; II Peter 2:7-8). However if one professes to be saved, but lives in an unbroken pattern of sin, without conviction, that individual may not be saved (Galatians 5:19-21).

Ask yourself: Do I see the fruit of righteousness or obedience in my life?

2. THE LOVE TEST

John says another fruit of genuine saving faith is a love for others (I John 2:9-11; 4:7;19-21). At salvation God sheds his love in our hearts (Romans 5:5) so that we now have the capacity to love as God loves. This love, however, must be cultivated on a daily basis (I Thessalonians 4:9-10). If a person says they are saved, but they hate others or remain in a lifestyle of unforgiveness or bitterness, their salvation may not be credible. Again, this does not mean we love perfectly or never struggle with anger, but a true believer will manifest the love of God.

Ask yourself: Do I see the fruit of love in my life?

3. THE DOCTRINAL TEST

John says genuine believers have a biblically sound view of Christ and of salvation. The Gnostics, which serves as the backdrop of I John, had a distorted Christology and a skewed understanding of salvation. They believed that Christ was not human and salvation was achieved through a secret knowledge.                  (I John 4:1-3; 5:6-8). If one denies the humanity of Christ, and by way of extension his Deity, that person is not a genuine believer (I John 4:1-3; II John). Furthermore, if one denies salvation is by faith alone in Christ, they are unregenerate despite their profession (I John 5:9-13)

Ask yourself: Do I have a proper view of Christ who is the God/man and of salvation?

Although God is the only one who can ultimately judge the genuineness of one’s faith, these tests help provide a guide to give one the assurance of their salvation.

BIO

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Mike Nimer is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Christian Chapel in Sewell, NJ (tcchapel.com)

He is originally from Miami, Fla. and graduated from Columbia Biblical Seminary in South Carolina

He has pastored churches in Miami and in South Carolina.

He can be heard daily on Hope FM 90.5

He is married to Lara and has three lovely daughters: Kaitlyn, Ashley and Amber.

 

Go after that dream!

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Grab life by the mane. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Accumulate experiences. Consider the lilies. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshipping what’s right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don’t try to be who you’re not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away.                                             

Chase the lion.
From Mark Batterson, author of With a Lion in a Pit on a Snowy Day and Lead Pastor of National City Church in Washington, DC.

Do you have a heart of Compassion?

Do you have a heart of compassion for children ?

Each year, women from all over the state of Florida gather for the annual Women of Compassion event at the Florida Baptist Children’s Home in Lakeland, Florida.

Women of Compassion is a society of women who are passionate about giving to change the lives of children throughout Florida and in countries throughout the developing world.  The cost of joining the giving society is $1000 for one year and includes:

  • The opportunity to truly impact precious children in desperate need
  • Free entry to an inspiring Women of Compassion event (this year, the event is “God-Sized Dreams”)
  • Inspiring mailings, including the Women of Compassion Newsletter
  • Advance notice of exciting mission trip opportunities exclusively for Women of Compassion
  • Special events

We collectively raise around 50-70 thousand dollars each year. In addition,  we raise money for international projects through Orphan’s Heart. Last year the project was Tanzania! While our family was raising funds through Freeride 836 for a home in Tanzania, Women of Compassion was raising money for another home in Tanzania on the same property. We thought there would be two homes. As it turned out, the funds were combined to build one BIG home for 30 children.

As a counsel member of Women of Compassion, I was thrilled to discover a special woman in our organization personally funded this project. This week at our event I was able to meet her for the first time as we were both given gifts for our efforts with building the home. To my surprise her name was Wendy Russell! We share the same last name and the same love for Tanzania.

I cried as I hugged her for the first time. I couldn’t believe God had given another woman the same desire as me to help save little babies in Africa and give them a home. It was such an honor to meet her and I want you to meet her too! Here is her picture!

Meeting Wendy Russell

Meeting Wendy Russell

Another amazing gift was given to my friend Shannin Pickle, founder of Small Steps, the property in Tanzania. The land she owns came with a small home that she had renovated to house the babies as they awaited the building of new homes. An artist painted her a beautiful portrait of the original home on the property. I accepted  this award for Shannin who could not attend. I was able to hand over the lovely painting to her mother and sister in law.

Portrait for Small Steps

Maybe you have a heart of compassion to help save children, like me? It is amazing for me to find that God has women in this world who are uniquely called to care for “the least of these” in the world.

It is no surprise to me that Jesus blessed children saying the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these..

If you are in the state of Florida, please consider joining me next year if you have a heart of compassion for children.

Live repurposed for children !

Re-Joycing today-Tracey

I just gave birth to a Blog !

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Hi friends!

Just letting you know I am in the process of giving birth to a blog at 45 years old…You can feel free to check it out!

Tomorrow, I will be at Women of Compassion and meeting best selling author, Holley Gerth!

I will be giving away a few copies of her book  to the first few people who subscribe to my blog. It is easy to register with your name and email. I am so excited to hear from you about some of my posts and interact with a new community of on-line friends. Leave me a message why you think you need a copy of Holley Gerth’s God sized Dream book!

Re-Joycing Always-Tracey

Are you a Woman of Compassion? Please come !

An Inspirational Luncheon Event
RSVP today!
Friday,
February 7
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Women of Compassion giving society members and guests are invited to join us for an educational and inspirational day!

 

Members:
$1,000
Guests:
$45

Click to RSVP 

Join women from across the state for an inspirational and educational luncheon event with dynamic speaker Holley Gerth.  The bestselling author will offer many laugh-out-loud moments that you and your friends will not want to miss.  Also, learn how your God-Sized dreams can help rescue girls from sex trafficking in Florida.

 

This will be a unique opportunity for members of the Women of Compassion giving society to decide how their gifts will be invested to provide shelter, hope and restoration to more children in the coming year.
Membership

Click to RSVP

By joining the Women of Compassion giving society and committing to give $1000 per year, you are able to impact the lives of children in need and given free admission to the Women of Compassion event.  For your convenience, your commitment can be paid in monthly amounts of $100.

Guest/Prospective Member

Click to RSVP

If you are interested in familiarizing yourself with this inspiring group of women and learning more about the ways you can change the lives of the children in our care, you can attend the event for only $45.

For more information, contact Kristen Hitchcock at 863.687.8811 or Kristen.Hitchcock@FBCHomes.org.  Or, visit FBCHomes.org/woc.
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