Introducing Christina Dronen and Finally Family Homes. Christina and her husband Eric live in LA with their family. There, they have undertaken the challenge of helping foster care youth who are aging out of the system. Why? Because as Christian people they have a heart for the orphan and the fatherless, a heart like God’s heart for these same forgotten ones.
There is currently no process in place for helping foster care youth who turn eighteen and suddenly find themselves without a home and a support system. They have no home to return to, no continuing and ongoing kindness and assistance from parents, and no guidance for their next steps as adults. Often they end up homeless and the prey of human traffickers.
“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless” (Psalm 10:14 NIV).
There's no process for helping foster care youth who turn eighteen and find themselves without a home or support system. They have no home to return to, no continuing and ongoing kindness and assistance from parents, and no guidance. Click To Tweet
Welcome, Christina and Finally Family Homes – a 501c3 Nonprofit helping kids who age out of foster care transition to independence. Thank you for sharing with us why you do what you do.
By Christina Dronen:
You may have heard the often-quoted Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” It’s actually the scripture that inspired our most recent fundraiser to house aging-out foster youth. We called the campaign “A Hope and A Future” because foster youth aging out are often most desperately in need of having hope and believing there is a chance at a positive future for them. Of course, we can’t know God’s specific plans for each person, but we do know that as followers He calls us to “Provide justice for the needy and the fatherless; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute” (Psalm 82:3).
Unfortunately, Jeremiah 29:11 and other Bible verses have been mistaken to mean that God’s plans are to prosper all believers materially and in the flesh. There is perhaps no better antagonist to this interpretation than Paul. When Paul came into relationship with Jesus, he joined in the sufferings of Christ – having a thorn in his flesh that would not be removed (2 Corinthians 12:6), being beaten and stoned (Acts 14:19), imprisoned, and ultimately dying a martyr (Acts 21:13). His response to suffering speaks to how the benefit of Christ in his life showed itself, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Paul went forward in his calling knowing nothing with certainty except that hardships awaited him, as he said in Acts 20:22-23, “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.” If we looked only at Paul’s life, we might think the life of a Christian means one of constant suffering.
So what can we count on then? How does our future change when we put our trust in Christ, to walk in his ways?
We can count on an eternal future that is indeed pleasant. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
As for this life, we are told not to worry. As Paul said in Colossians 3:2, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” This echos what Jesus said in Mathew 6:25, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Jesus says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
So, is our mission misguided to help the foster youth by providing a home, community, and help with education? It could be, if that’s all we were offering. Every earthly relationship, every life, and every career eventually ends. We would indeed be leading them astray to put their hopes in these earthly things alone. And so, an essential element of our ministry is to connect these youth to an eternal hope and future through Jesus.
Yes, Jesus healed the suffering, fed the hungry, and elevated the lowly and cast aside in this world, but this was a means to a greater end. Jesus’ ministry, and all ministry that pleases God, must advance God’s kingdom. Sometimes that means demonstrating God’s goodness by setting wrongs right, sometimes that means joining in the sufferings of Christ like Paul, and sometimes that means a more pleasant and comfortable life like David (sometimes) had.
Paul says it best in 1 Corinthians 7:17, “Only, as the Lord has distributed to each man, as God has called each, so let him walk.” Whatever your job, your wealth, your position, you can serve and honor God. There is no earthly barrier – no poverty, no sickness, no lack of social status that can hold you back from being a part of advancing of God’s kingdom. For Joseph, Paul, and Daniel, prison was the means that they came to testify about God directly before kings.
In fact, when Jeremiah wrote his letter in Jeremiah 29, it was to exiled Jews in Babylon. Where was their hope and future? Looking at verse 10: “This is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.’” Even so, Jeremiah 29:11 wasn’t promising anyone instant prosperity.
Our hope and prosperous future are in Christ alone. And in Christ we can be assured of His eternal love and presence, even if we are hated and abandoned by everyone else. In Christ, we can be confident that we can be used by God, even if we are deemed useless by the world. Our hope is this, that though we may face many trials, tribulations, suffering, prison, failure, and rejection in this life, God can use these very circumstances for eternal significance, and through every difficulty He never leaves us nor stops loving us more deeply than we can imagine.
Melinda writes: Finally Family Homes seeks to accomplish good in the lives of these youth aging out of foster care, to provide them with a Christian home, lots of love, training in adult skills, and a home base to anchor their future. Currently, they are raising funds, to which I have gladly and wholeheartedly contributed. Being a part of this project pleases the Lord. The campaign is more than halfway there! Every little bit helps, and God sees our hearts of kindness toward the orphan and the fatherless. You can give HERE.