Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1

Welcome back to Families Building Faith’s newsletter!

Our stance from the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic has been to be prayerful, cautious and careful with all that we do.  While our social media accounts and this newsletter have grown largely quiet, we have continued to work by providing help when and where it has been needed. 

As we come into the autumn and holiday months, we are hoping to bring our newsletter online to help keep folks up-to-date on FBF’s collections, happenings, inspiration and opportunities to share hope. There is a signup option at the bottom of this page to have the newsletter conveniently emailed to you upon its release. It will be in a digital format allowing you to quickly click on buttons to take you to our databases, website and other virtual connections.

Watch for new issues every month from September through March!  November’s issue will be out later this month. Spring and summer issues will be released only in May and July.

FBF’s Virtual Calendar

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…

Ecclesiastes 3:1

When we redesigned our website last autumn, we added a convenient feature: a virtual calendar that you can easily access. As we move into October 2021 and the holidays, we will begin listing both FBF’s virtual and in-person events in this new space.

Click on the button to the right and you will be transported to it!

Upcoming Opportunities to Help

Baskets for Christmas 2021 & Easter 2022

This September we are hoping to get a jump on building Easter baskets for 2022! In early October, we will add in Christmas baskets. We plan to utilize the gentle warmth of autumn to build ahead just in case Covid (and surges) create any more problems over the winter. Click on the button to be taken to our database with available dates and times.

Christmas Gift Bag

Warm the Winter Drive

Each fall for the most of the past decade, we have collected nice clothes to share with those in need. As we continue to keep a watchful eye on the surge of the Delta variant, we are hoping to collect clothes early this October and aiming to share them shortly thereafter. For those excited to learn more, please click below to see when and how to participate!

  • We are praying for all sizes for all ages and gender.
  • Clothes must be in excellent condition, recently washed, and folded neatly in kitchen size garbage bags with label of size/gender on the outside.
  • Please nothing with smoke residue as the smoke odor can trigger asthma attacks in our volunteers and visitors.
  • Drop off is only scheduled by signup during specific hours for 10 days in early October.
Pink stockings brimming with gifts

Autumn & Holidays 2021

Currently we are collecting items for Easter baskets, and will begin our Christmas Collection in October. To facilitate the many outreaches we host during the Christmas season, we strongly encourage you to check these links early if you would like to participate.

Holiday gift bags

Navigating FBF’s Signups

We utilize Sign Up Genius to house our databases that share the dates, times and ways to participate in our events and outreaches. To get to them, you must have a link.

On FBF’s main Facebook page, you will find a blue “signup” button that takes you to our databases. You can also get there from the links in the newsletter. At the top of any of our databases are tabs. Those tabs allow you to toggle between the different events, collections, and outreaches.

Up in the righthand corner, you will also find a button that will allow you to see the different categories of databases we have. This allows us to keep the databases shorter and more focused on what you might be interested in.

Unfolding God’s Word

The unfolding of Your Words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

Psalm 119:130

One of FBF’s primary hope has been to gather women together to fellowship and dig into God’s Word. In October, we will begin meeting again, meeting via Zoom, for a six-week session called Opening God’s Word. At the end of that, we will re-launch UGW in six week session focused on a particular topic in Scripture. The first topic will be looking at balance.

To facilitate fellowship and communication, we will be utilizing a dedicated digital space to share materials and lift one another up with encouragement and discussion. For more information, click on the button below.

photo of person holding book

News from the FBF Fields

I will bless you and you will be a blessing….

Genesis 12:2
building purses spring 2021

In May, we put out a quiet call for purses and purse-related items.  Between what we had left over from 2020 and what came in, we were able to make over 50 beautiful purses!!  Thanks to a handful of kind-hearted volunteers, we were able to assemble those purses outside in the Murphy’s garage.  We had a mix of seasoned volunteers as well as new.  Many thanks to those that came including the two wonderful college students who steadfastly returned to almost all of our building sessions!!

Special praises to God for moving the hands and feet of those that helped build, set up and nurture the hearts of those that came to pick out a purse.

purse-a-palooza 2021

During the first weekend in June, we carefully hosted our first in-person Prayers Plus event since the shut-down in March 2020.  We have maintained a close contact with those who had attended our monthly Prayers Plus event that we started a few years back at the local VFW hall. Many of them were thrilled to be able to see us and to pick a lovely purse that had been hand-made for them.  

To keep things extra safe, we utilized the Murphy’s garage and set up a welcoming boutique.  Our steadfast volunteers for Prayers Plus were present and we wore masks to ensure everyone’s safety.  It was beautiful reminder of how much love warms the heart and cheers the soul!!

June’s basket building

In June, during the hottest stretch of summer-like weather, we gathered small batches of volunteers together to build Easter baskets.  We set up tents and tables for teams of one-to-two people.  

For those who have built extensively with us, we utilized (and taught) our assembly-line classroom approach.  In about 4-6 sessions, a total of 11 builders built over 250 baskets in about 8-9 hours of volunteering.  WOW!!  It was incredible to see.  Many thanks to our seasoned builders who came.  We sure did miss everyone!!  It was of great encouragement to see the joy and love pour out of souls into their baskets!

Helping Hands

We have been so blessed by a large number of kind young people, moms, families, individuals, and retirees who have stepped up and accomplished tasks at their homes from last fall straight through to today! People from all over and all ages have helped create tags, put together kits, purchase and assemble cleaning supplies for household, drop off needed items, cut, wipe clean, sort, deliver, and the list goes on and on. We hope you enjoy some of the photos that we thought to take in the moment as it all seems like a blur right now!

Thank you all so much for your continued support as we have sought to navigate through these unusual times! With safety being paramount, it has been a challenge to figure out what to do, how to do it and then put those plans into play without being a part of the spread. Please bear with us as we redesign and rebuild our activities and outreaches to accommodate the changing reality of these times and this pandemic, as our country and world are not out of the woods yet.

Prayer Requests

Blessed are those whose strength is in You, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

Psalm 84:5

We frequently receive prayer requests to hold close for those whose journeys in life have come across trials, tribulations, heartaches, and loss. Please consider keeping them in your prayers too.

  • A woman who lost multiple loved ones this year, including her husband and sister.
  • A woman who is healing from surgery this summer. Please pray that where the surgery went wrong, they can repair.
  • A woman who has been battling cancer for a long time. Please pray that it return to remission, her strength persevere and that peace reign in her home and life.
  • Multiple people receiving treatment for cancer; please pray for their recovery, hope and strength.
  • For a woman with stage 4 colon cancer. May God ease the road ahead of her and remove the fear that holds her back from difficult decisions. Special prayers for her children that they are able to be of support to hear and ease her burdens as she nears the end. Special praises for her niece who has been a loving and steadfast support to her.
  • For the 670,000 families who have lost a loved one in the last 18 months due to Covid. For the countless others who have lost loved ones too in these troubled times. May God tenderly give us the ability to appreciate and tend to each other’s grief as collectively many of us have suffered the pain of losing someone we love and care about. May our commonality in grief unite us in support and patience.

  • A wonderful gal is in need of earnest prayers as she had a very difficult 2020 and 2021 with major health issues and the loss of a loved one due to Covid. Special prayers that her wounds heal, that infection stay far away from her, and that joy for life return to her daily experience.
  • Special prayers for a mom and unborn child. May they have a healthy pregnancy and quick delivery/recovery.
  • Special prayers for the souls that are struggling with loneliness, loss of purpose/routine, significant life changes, and the sense of connection.
  • For those in substance abuse treatment. May they find the way out of their addiction through steadfast perseverance and Christ’s ability to overcome all things. May their loved ones, partners, family and friends provide the support and hope that is needed for their journey to be successful.
  • For the teens and young adults whose paths and plans have been interrupted by the pandemic. May they trust God with this untimely experience, and may He grace them with an extra abundance of patience and trust that He has their future in His hands and those details will come in due time.
  • For those struggling, may hope find you and God’s grace surround you.

Praises to be Lifted Up

Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

Psalm 84:10

Over the last year, there have been many reasons to celebrate God and His grace. Here are a few praises that come to mind:

  • Late last autumn, we learned that a local organization that usually helps families with Christmas could not do so. With prayers and in faith, we launched an adoption program for the local families we knew would be impacted. In abundance of caution, we organized a specific drop off date, held the beautifully wrapped gifts for 10 days and then scheduled pickups/deliveries to the parents. The families were incredibly grateful and so were we!! Praise be to God for moving so many hearts to help and praises for the souls who responded with tremendous support and joy!!!
  • Throughout the last 15 months, we have held smaller collections of household care items (cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, soap, etc), clothing, household items, and smaller encouragement packages.  Praise be to God for all the hearts that responded to those calls and faithfully dropped items by in the limited time windows that we made available!
  • As we moved through the early stages of the pandemic, when delivering emergency aid, we found that the children of the families we regularly saw missed us as much as the adults.  After some brainstorming and prayer, we created a new program called Kids Connection.  Each month through the last 10 or so, we have dropped off a special bag of goodies to most children whose families visited us through our Prayers Plus event.  That bag arrived a few days before we hosted a game time via Zoom.  With the families able to attend, we played Pictionary and Bingo (a big favorite) with each winner receiving a small prize.  The kids loved it, and we are hoping to continue it this fall.
  • Praise be to God for helping and inspiring us scramble and figure out different ways to provide encouragement to souls throughout this pandemic.  We transferred a lot to online support, launched a game night for our Prayers Plus ladies, and offered encouragement through Zoom meetings.  
  • Special praises for the support that came as we built Christmas stockings for a school in the Beecher school district.  Volunteers stepped up to build many of them and then drop them off for a decontamination period in early December.  We were grateful for that help and for the willingness of others to follow our protocol as we were contacted by email by a few families that had come down with Covid during that time frame; confirming to us the need to focus on safety protocols that protect all.  Special thanks to God for His nudges, leading and the abundance of information available to monitor the risks associated with Covid and serving during this pandemic.
  • Praises for items that have come in that have been able to support people including new items that allow families to celebrate birthdays.  
  • Praises for God opening the door and allowing Mark and I, and the volunteers who have steadfastly been helping through the pandemic, to take off July and August.  We stopped all programs outside of emergency aid and are now in the process of sorting out what to continue with, what to rebuild and what to say goodbye to.  

  • In December, for our January Kids Connection program, LOTS of volunteers kindly and beautifully made fleece blankets.  We had an amazing turnout!!  The blankets were awesome, and we received lots of texts from very HAPPY kids and parents. Praises be to God for moving souls to help warm homes, beds and bodies!!
  • Praises be to those who have helped us deliver to the different areas that we support.  We were able to create five delivery zones that encompass the South Lyon school district.  The families and seniors have loved finding little surprises on their doorstep!
  • This spring, we were able to find homes for all of the baskets that did not make it out in the 2020 season. Special thanks and praise for the hearts God moved to help us build what was needed to fill the gap.  Long time volunteers contacted us privately to offer their help, including being willing to reduce their activities to maintain safety.  Special praises be to God for the hearts of those working in the Flint area schools who designed ways to get those baskets out to their student body.  Extra praise for those organizations in the Detroit area who gave their all to reach families and children this last Easter! 
  • Praises for multiple women who were able to leave abusive situations and find refuge during the pandemic. 
  • While our hearts have ached by the change that this pandemic has brought in our lives, the reduced activity allowed for us to provide support to a tender and traumatized soul that had suffered deeply from years of abuse.  For my husband and I, and those close enough to us to know what was going on, this opportunity highlighted a continuing and growing theme that we have seen regularly during our Prayers Plus events: the need for trauma information and emotional support as people deal with intense and difficult truths in their lives.  Please join us in praising God for the depth of His support–it goes well beyond the physical needs of a soul to the emotional and spiritual chambers of the heart and mind as that is where the real healing starts.  Let us rejoice that, and continue to pray for, this soul who has begun a journey towards freedom from the bondage of abuse.  May God bring alongside this tender heart more souls to teach, guide and grow new and healthier patterns.  Let us pray that this soul can truly escape the family patterns that have long shackled and harmed many.  May God continue to help us to teach and bring this information to more souls so that lives can be more fully lived in trust, love and hope.
  • Praises be for the number of Prayers Plus participants who kindly and supportively pray for us and each other as we go through life and its joys and sorrows.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

A New Outreach.

Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths.”

Micah 8:2
close up photo of gray typewriter

And a highway will be there….

Understanding the depths of serving.