You may have no idea who we are sooo... Fish Out of Water Ministries has a few parts, Big vision and immediate needs... (Please scroll down to immediate needs if back story is not required :) )
Big vision first...
Rebecca said something a while back that she's repeated several times with real conviction, so much so that its taken hold... But what to do???
With every bit of who she is, she has said out loud, "If we had 30 rooms we would take every 12-15 year old boy in care that we could. Let me explain...
We started fostering some years ago and like most, we wanted the younger ones, the ones that fit our family dynamic. Little did we know the plan God had for us and where we would be headed. You see, no one wants the teenage boy currently in care so they quite literally rot emotionally and spiritually in group homes with no family, almost guaranteeing they one day end up in jail and creating another generation of kids in care!!! The way I say it is this... A 14 year old boy who has spent time in the system will most certainly have a "rap sheet", a file of every mishap along their way. If you think healthy teens are tough and have bad days, imagine the ones ripped from homes or abandoned :( They've punched walls, gotten into fights, struggle with emotions and identity... When a possible family reads these behaviors on their sheet they all say the same thing... Sorry, we can't take them, these things don't fit our home :(
Did Jesus not say we are to seek out the lost and the broken??? Let me give you some numbers... Some 70% of ALL crimes committed, from petty theft and assault to rape and murder, are committed by someone who has spent time in care. One state did a study a decade ago to find that 80% of all their inmates had spent time in the foster care system! I could scream this next part... It would be different if we could say this is hard to fix, how do we know where the next troubled kids will come from but... WTH!!! WE DO KNOW! The numbers don't lie, these kids will come from the system, we will have had these kids right in front of us at 4,8 12 years old and we will have failed them and missed our chance! That's unless something changes!!!
Fostering is not for everyone, and we get that, that;s not what this is about. But we all have our place, this is the call of the Church, to be the light, the support and place where our lost and broken can find love and hope... Where those called to this mission can find rest, help, fellowship and missing pieces. AND THIS IS OUR CRY!
I'm not one to ask for help, it is something I always struggled with, as a maverick I just figured it out on my own. This is WAY bigger than us though and while Rebecca did not know I was even writing this, I've reached a point. A point of frustration, anxiousness, and seriousness... A few weeks ago I had told her if she said again that we needed 30 bedrooms we were going to make this happen!!! Well here we are, how does this happen??? Time and time again as we speak to groups, with others in the field, our church and so on... God continues to say, this is your WALK.
We live it, it causes stress, days can be hard but our eyes are wide open... These boys need our help. WE NEED YOURS! We quite honestly have no idea how this all plays out but God does and the call of the Church is to walk this out. These kids do not deserve institutionalized care but a home where the can both heal and grow. This age is so critical, and let me explain... Biologically, all of our clocks tick, and for teens it is no different. At about 16 our youth start to transition to their next steps in life. At 16 we want hanging out in our rooms, privacy, and our friends. And lets be real, that's legit as one prepares for adulthood. I myself would still go on family vacations to places like the 1,000 Islands, but only if I could bring friends or go find some when we got there. This is reality!!! So working backwards, the last real chance we have with our youth for some real face time and communication is this 12-15 range. Rebecca and I love this group!!!
Maybe much from my dad, we've come to understand the needs to work with this age... Teaching life skills, helping them see some of their struggles for what they are, and helping them gain confidence in both themselves and their ability to make good choices. This with lots of love and acceptance can bring real Godly change for these boys. This is our call, a chance to help these young men grow up healthier and with a real chance to break the cycle.
That is the big vision but for now :)
On to our needs in the short term...
We run a model I have somewhat created on my own called "Work/Play Hard" as a way to keep teens motivated, coming around and in life's balance. I am not sure if we ever would have guessed it would bring us here in the past 6 months, as we have some 2-7 kids 20 and under walk up our driveway now looking for work. Out of pocket we've funded projects while they have turned wrenches, fixed brakes, swapped alternators, done some body work, tore off a few roofs and even have started to help retrofit a 1953 33' Vagabond camper to look look like a 50's diner inside. While working we talk fast cars, big trucks, girl friends and well... LIFE! Little do they know that along the way they are learning trades, work ethics and skills needed to be an adult one day :)
Recently I negotiated a swap of 4 brand new tires for a jeep and a half some 3 hours from home. To make this happen we had to buy a fixer upper trailer, do some custom work to get her ready, drive 180 miles up into a foot and a half of snow to load it up... Why, you might ask??? Well I took 5 boys ages 14-16 in our bus (yes we drive a bus lol) on a road trip where we had bonding, some serious talk, laughs some hard work and memories, oh' the memories... We were there in the dark loading up and I would turn to see boys, now like 9 of them with the kids that lived where we purchased the jeep, having snowball fights and of course me yelling at them to get parts in the bus and the jeep strapped down lol. What an awesome trip, and the day after... another day of busy boys using wrenches, grinders, vacuums as they tore things down to clean them up for a rebuild. You see, when engaged in the ways that work for them we get them beyond comfort zones and into places where they grow!!! We had kids youtubing (is that a word lol) how to rebuild a starter and guess what... Starter rebuilt!!! :)
As we continue projects we have needs... We feed these kids, often house them and burn through supplies. In our next phase of things here currently we are in need of a sturdy welder, helmets and gloves for them to wear while we do some work on both the trailer and the jeep. In supplies alone we need some angle steel, plate steel and well... Stuff! Sanding supplies cut off wheels etc...
We know we will be moving into getting our 501c3 for the ministry as things progress so tons of help is needed in that regard but for now, we are helping kids and how do we do it? Work/Play Hard is a great model as it gets their attention and is rewarding in ways our teens relate. Please join us as we grow this and share with communities how to do the same!!!
You can find me here... https://www.facebook.com/kevin.lake.180
Fish Out of Water here... https://www.facebook.com/FishOutofWaterMinistries/
Check out our site here... Fish Out of Water and Blog