By Chandler Means
Due to COVID-19… Maybe it’s just me, but I am weary of this phrase and all that it means. Those words appeared on my phone again this morning in an email announcing just one more thing canceled or postponed: middle school basketball tryouts for our 14-year old godson who came to live with us permanently – due to COVID-19.
During these “uncertain times” (another phrase I am weary of), because of God’s providential care and grace for this ministry and our financial and prayer partners like you, AGAPE Love was never canceled. Thank you for your support! We could not have made through these months without our faithful ministry partners. You have sustained and strengthened us.
AGAPE’s appointments, sessions, court appearances, home visits, shelter services and so much more continued through this pandemic. Our services never ceased. Whether virtually or in-person while masked and socially distanced—and sometimes even during individual staff quarantines—AGAPE still found a way to love and serve our community through our foster care/adoption, domestic violence care and professional counseling programs.
As I write this letter to ask and encourage you to continue supporting this work, my heart is full thinking about the joy our staff will experience, virtually, tomorrow. It is a victory in the midst of tragedy—a little boy will be adopted into a loving, Christ-centered home after 1,303 days in foster care.
His story is a microcosm of AGAPE’s mission to strengthen children and families with the healing love of Christ. Removed from his home at two years old by the Department of Children’s Services for dependency and neglect, he came into an AGAPE foster home with the hope we have for all the children who enter our care – reunification with his biological family. Counseling and support for the birth mother gave hope for more than a year and half before she made the tough-love decision to surrender her son to the State of Tennessee where he would eventually be adopted. Tomorrow, he will join the more than 1,080 children who have been adopted through AGAPE into loving, Christian families – including seven others this year and three more waiting for their final court date. COVID can’t defeat hope and love!
This young boy’s story of victory is just one of many that AGAPE has experienced through God’s mercy and grace this past year – stories of children reunifying with their families, marriages mended through our counseling services, victims of domestic violence becoming survivors and so many more. In the midst of a pandemic, riots and polarizing elections, love was working at AGAPE and in our community.
Due to COVID-19… the demand for AGAPE services grew across every program:
- 33% increase in counseling sessions over the same time period in 2019
- 40% increase in children AGAPE is serving through foster care and adoption
- 69% increase in the hotline calls from victims of domestic violence and 27% increase in the number of victims assisted with orders of protection and safety planning
I wish it weren’t so. COVID-19 didn’t cancel or postpone abuse, shame, hurt or brokenness, but in the midst of this darkness, followers of Christ have even greater opportunities to let their light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify the Father…
Your gift to AGAPE today is a gift of light to the more than 4,000 vulnerable souls AGAPE will serve this year in Middle Tennessee.
We need your partnership to ensure that we are able to continue serving children, families and individuals with the healing love of Christ. Will you consider making a gift before the end of 2020? You may give online by clicking here. We appreciate your support and ask you to continue praying for AGAPE and those we serve.
Every day at AGAPE, we rejoice in the things that are lasting; renewed hope, resolved conflicts, spiritual and emotional healing, joyful adoptions, restored and reunified families, forgiveness and grace greater than our sins! However, at the end of those days when the burden is heavy—and it’s been heavy due to COVID-19—and we have to leave it in the hands of God the Father, we remember that you support the work we do, we are thankful and blessed, and it encourages us to press on.
P.S. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing Behind the Scenes at AGAPE over the last several weeks. You can follow along on our website or on social media as AGAPE Nashville.
To make a gift to AGAPE, click here.