10 Jun
2014

Great People

Today is the beginning of the second week of our thirty fourth FaithWorks class!  Our Summer 2014 class fills the classroom with nineteen incredible men and women – a large number for a summer class.

This FaithWorks family is spending the morning with Dave Dalzell as he walks them through the first peek at the Gospel of Matthew.  They will meet the family that God chose to be the greats in Jesus’ family –  most of us know the story of Mary and Joseph, but we don’t often spend time  exploring the other greats : great-great aunts and uncles and great-great-great grandparents listed in the opening verses of that book.

This afternoon, the class meets Gloria Bradshaw for the first time and they begin the journey through Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  Speaking of greats, Gloria is stepping in this afternoon to teach after having double knee replacement surgery three weeks ago. 

FaithWorks is doubly blessed by the caliber of volunteers who work with our students – not only by their impressive education credentials, but also by their dependability and determination to be here.

Derek Brown is back at the laptop creating this incredible June newsletter – we have ALL missed Derek and his creative and beautiful newsletters. Derek led an ACU group in Germany over the recent spring semester. 

There are many others, like Lynda Sharp who is outfitting our students in our Clothing Shoppe this afternoon and tomorrow.

Like always, you have an invitation to meet these heroes – students and volunteers alike.  Stop by for lunch.  Any weekday.  Twelve noon.  1229 North Mockingbird Lane, Suite E. 

10 Jun
2014

Today is the beginning of our 34th class

Today is the beginning of the second week of our thirty fourth FaithWorks class! Our Summer 2014 class fills the classroom with nineteen incredible men and women – a large number for a summer class.

This FaithWorks family is spending the morning with Dave Dalzell as he walks them through the first peek at the Gospel of Matthew. They will meet the family that God chose to be the greats in Jesus’ family – most of us know the story of Mary and Joseph, but we don’t often spend time exploring the other greats : great-great aunts and uncles and great-great-great grandparents listed in the opening verses of that book.

This afternoon, the class meets Gloria Bradshaw for the first time and they begin the journey through Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Speaking of greats, Gloria is stepping in this afternoon to teach after having double knee replacement surgery three weeks ago.

FaithWorks is doubly blessed by the caliber of volunteers who work with our students – not only by their impressive education credentials, but also by their dependability and determination to be here.

Derek Brown is back at the laptop creating this incredible June newsletter – we have ALL missed Derek and his creative and beautiful newsletters. Derek led an ACU group in Germany over the recent spring semester.

There are many others, like Lynda Sharp who is outfitting our students in our Clothing Shoppe this afternoon and tomorrow.

Like always, you have an invitation to meet these heroes – students and volunteers alike. Stop by for lunch. Any weekday. Twelve noon. 1229 North Mockingbird Lane, Suite E.

20 Mar
2014

A letter to the FaithWorks graduates from 2013

Dear graduate of class 30, 31 and 32 – I need your help!  I need a bit of your time and I need a LOT of your wisdom.

We continually strive to be better at what we do at FaithWorks. It is an ongoing process and an ongoing conversation.

To this point, that focus has been on the 13 week semester – the intense 37 hour per week, five day per week semester – and that part of FaithWorks continues improve with each and every class,  but we have overlooked  – or not gotten to – another very important part of FaithWorks – the remainder of that first year.

The first thirteen weeks are a season of important growth and transition but so are weeks fourteen through fifty two.  That is where we need your help.  YOU are the expert in knowing what those weeks are like.  YOU have the most recent experience of what it is like to go from the all-day-every-day FaithWorks to a lesser relationship and support.

And so, we need a little of your time to gather this important information from you.  We need your wisdom to help FaithWorks continue to grow bigger and better for future graduates – from the classes in 2014 and beyond.

Please let me know the best way to get in touch – email, Facebook, text, or by phone.  Someone will be in touch.  We have a talented group of Social Work students helping us gather this information. One of these students will set a time to meet with you to talk through these questions.

Thank you.  Thank you for sharing that bit of you that will help FaithWorks continue to serve and to serve better.

15 Dec
2013

These are a few of my favorite things . . .

Last week, a live performance was shown on national TV of The Sound of Music, the first time a live production was aired in 50 years.  The Julie Andrews Sound of Music movie was my favorite movie for about ten years.  The live play may be my new favorite.  The play is personal and imperfect and more life-like than the polished movie, and I love that.

SPOILER ALERT: If you do not like The Sound of Music you may not appreciate the following:

So, with Sound of Music as my backdrop, here are a few of MY favorite things.

FaithWorks students, present, past and future top my list.  These hard working men and women are my heroes.

FaithWorks graduation – not only the celebration of the completion of 13 weeks of diligence, but also the chance to recognize the incredible growth that has just happened. Our next graduation is this Tuesday, December 17th.

FaithWorks volunteers including the 13 mentors and 13 internship providers this semester, but for the weekly volunteers who run the place –those in the office, in the Clothing Shoppe, and those who help in the classroom and in the kitchen.  One of my favorite scenes from The Sound of Music is when the Reverend Mother tells Maria that she will be leaving the Abbey. It is a painful conversation.  This is just after Maria says she is looking to learn the will of God for her life and then to do it.  The song that follows instructs Maria to “Climb every mountain, search high and low . . .’till you find your dream” “A dream that will need all the love you can give, every day of your life, for as long as you live.”  There is no doubt about it, FaithWorks is that dream for many who selflessly give hours and days every week.

New Beginnings at FaithWorks – FaithWorks is very much a place of second chances – of new beginnings.  For all of us.  And so when we begin an new class it is such an exciting time.  Our spring class, our 33rd begins on Monday January 13, 2014.  Even if The Sound of Music does not make your “Few of My Favorite Things” list, FaithWorks of Abilene undoubtedly is there.  If you know of someone who might benefit from a thirteen week investment in finding and keeping THE job , please let them know of our new semester beginning in January.

1 Jul
2012

Summertime

Summer is officially here! Summer Solstice happened this past week. The longer daylight hours and the warmer weather along with a bit of rainfall announce the arrival of Summer 2012 and a season of growth and newness and creation. Gardens are thriving this year. Fruit trees are bearing. Farmers Markets are in business again. And FaithWorks is enjoying a season of celebration as we converse with former FaithWorks students on Mondays around the lunch table. It has been an amazing experience to see the sampling of students from the first 28 classes come together to help us identify the keepers and changers of ‘their’ FaithWorks program. It has been so exciting to reunite and to catch up with former students, some of whom we have not seen in many years.

If you have not been a part of these summer Monday lunches, I extend a special invitation to you to join us. We will continue this every Monday through July. In addition, we have one morning gathering on July 10 and one in the evening scheduled for July 12th. Get in touch with us – phone, text, email or Facebook us. Watch your mail for your postcard and check your email for your invitation. Let us know which of the remaining seven gatherings you will attend.

For the 75 or so who have participated so far, thank you! For you we are so very thankful!

10 Jun
2012

Calling All Students!

We are dedicating this summer to reaching out to every former FaithWorks student with an invitation to help make the FaithWorks program the best it can be. Lunch time conversations began last week with 13 former students around the Monday lunch table. The second group met this past Tuesday and we are quickly filling up the weekly gatherings scheduled for June. The first two weeks have been incredible! We love seeing former students and catching up with their lives.

If you have not signed up for a Monday lunch, please check your calendar for June 18th and 25th. Give us a call at 437-2272 or email Darell Martin at Darellm@faithworksofabilene.org.

Your conversation and the information that you have to share help us make a really great program even better. Your commitment and the time you so graciously share during that lunch hour will help future FaithWorks students gain the confidence and skills for gainful employment. And for that – for you – we are so very grateful.

Looking forward to seeing you this summer!

5 May
2012

Ten Years Old Next January

I think it is funny the way we answer the question “How old are you?” depending on the stage of life we are in and the things we are looking forward to.

If you ask a child how old they are, they often answer with the age they will be on their next birthday. How old am I? I will be ten on June 14th!! Ask a teen or young adult and you get a similar answer. I will be EIGHTEEN next Thursday. I turn TWENTY ONE on June 9th!!! Each of those landmark birthdays bring new privileges. Each is a long awaited and celebrated milestone.

FaithWorks turns ten next January! And we are so excited we want to start celebrating that milestone a full season ahead of our birthday.

We have some special things happening this summer. One of the biggest is getting in touch with every former student. All 350. We are beginning those conversations now. If you think we may not have current contact information on you, we would love to have that. We would love to be able to catch up with you and with your life. You can email your mailing address, email address, cell phone number to me at joyced@faithworksofabilene.org. We want to take time now that we are almost ten years old to stop and consider how we are doing and to set future direction. You have important information, and we cherish your input.

We are also scheduling meaningful conversations with those who have supported us financially for some or all of these first nine years. You, also, have valued information and we would like to have meaningful conversations with you this summer. You are the lifeblood of FaithWorks.

Mentors and internship providers, the gift you have given to a FaithWorks student of yourself and your time are invaluable and we hope to hear from you the parts of that relationship that worked well as well as portions that could be improved.

So . . . how old are we? We will be ten years old in January and we cannot wait. We are thankful, so thankful, that you have been a part of these first ten years. And we are so excited about the years to come.

24 Apr
2012

Graduating

April is graduation month for FaithWorks and the spring class, Class 28. And we invite you all to come to graduation. May is also graduation month for some of our best and most cherished volunteers as they complete their current college course of study. We’d like to say thank you and highlight a few of these wonderful friends who have been such great mentors and assistants this past year.

I wish you could share a lunch hour with Sara Schoultz and Carson Henley, who are Bio chemistry majors on their way to medical school. These two have prepared lunch for our FaithWorks students and friends on a regular basis for the last couple of years. Sara’s specialty is the entrée while Carson’s is dessert (you should taste his pies). They also share their lives with our students during the lunch hour. It was especially exciting this past Tuesday when Sara announced Carson had proposed during spring break and they’re now engaged. FaithWorks has been so blessed with volunteers like Sara and Carson who will go on to carry the FaithWorks story and Christ’s message as they complete their medical and dental school training in Houston and then on to their life careers and exciting future together.

We wish God’s blessings on all of our volunteers who will be graduating soon.

Volunteers like Jonathan Stein, the intern from Highland Church finishing his Master of Divinity degree then marrying his fiancé, Brit’ny Spain, and joining her in Oklahoma as she completes her doctorate in School Psychology as they dedicate their lives together in God’s faithful service . Like John Day, IV, who is in his final semester for his Sociology degree at Abilene Christian University. Like Debora Fahasoavana, a Presidential scholar from Madagascar who interned with us in the office in the fall and is now employed in New Jersey. And Adam Matthews who has been a FaithWorks mentor several times, in between mission trips and church internships, who married AISD elementary teacher Anna Isenhower last week and plan a life of ministry together. These fantastic volunteers have truly blessed FaithWorks over this past year.

FaithWorks has a great tradition of friends who share their lives with us while attending University in Abilene and they go on to great works of service to God through loving their neighbors.

Examples of previous volunteers include Jennifer and Randy Porter who volunteered as FaithWorks mentors and are now serving as missionaries in Peru. Lori Anne Shaw who volunteered as our Computer instructor for 2 years and then served as our interim curriculum teacher before going on to become Assistant Director for Program Development at ACU’s Duncum Center for Conflict Resolution at ACU . And Laura Herridge, who was our Resource Development Coordinator and then went on to finish her Master’s degree in Social Work after her year and now lives with her family in the Connecting Caring Communities outreach home in north Abilene.

These and many others we have been blessed to know during our first 10 years at FaithWorks now serve as ambassadors sharing FaithWorks mission throughout the world. The FaithWorks story lives not only through our own FaithWorks graduates but through the lives of our exceptional volunteers who move on to other callings in Gods Kingdom. Please come celebrate with us on Tuesday, April 24t h, 7 pm at Grace Fellowship, 910 Cypress, as the current class graduates. And while you are there, take a moment to say “thank you” to our wonderful and talented university student volunteers who are also graduating on to new careers and service in His Kingdom.

20 Mar
2012

We Get By with a Lotta Help from our Friends!

FaithWorks has been extremely blessed by the volunteers who give so generously of their lives to the men and women who are a part of the FaithWorks mission. I’d like to introduce you to one friend of FaithWorks who you may not know. Shelley teaches leadership and communication classes at the university level. She also trains realtors across the state in leadership skills. Since Shelley heard the FaithWorks story, she now drives to Abilene from Austin each semester to spend a day in a communication workshop with the current class.

Last Christmas, Shelley and a dozen friends of hers (who have never been to Abilene or met a FaithWorks student in person) played Santa to a graduate and the 11 children in her family.

Shelley drives to Abilene to join a corps of the best volunteers in the world. Jim and Glenda, who came in and transformed our clothing closet to a clothing SHOPPE. Gloria, another teacher, who wrote federal grants and worked with under-resourced college students as her lifelong career, now helps FaithWorks with those same critical skills. DeLynda, a certified foreign language teacher who assists families from other countries adapt to living in their new culture, provides those essential skills to the men and women who are committed to making a change in their own personal employment culture. Shelley joins Derek, the university jazz musician who lends his gift of art to our newsletters. And Mike and Jeanne who are making our webpage sparkle. She joins Cole Bennett, PhD, our official resume polisher and Ovelia whose day job is hiring noncertified employees for our local school district and who gives a morning or two each semester tutoring our students in specific interview skills. And Dave, the real estate broker who teaches volunteers at the state and national level and has spent a morning a week for the last 28 classes walking our students through the book of Matthew. Shelley joins the fourteen families this month who provided lunch for our students and guests.

We need more volunteers!

Our second imminent need is for a media/social media person – we need to keep FaithWorks events, (graduation, next class dates, internships) in the local written and spoken media. We also could use help with social media communications and web page updates. If this description speaks to you, we would love for you to speak to us! On a related note, please notice the enhancements to the calendar on the back page. This is also now in our webpage.

We continue to try to tell the FaithWorks story in new and improved ways.

Let us know what you think.

12 Feb
2012

Makin’ Change

Most weekday mornings my alarm plays its xylophone ringtone at 4:45. I crawl out of the most comfortable bed in the world and grab a cup of freshly brewed coffee on my way to a 5:30 morning workout.

Many mornings there is a really whiny voice in my head once I am there saying, “this is too hard”, “it is too early”, “I don’t wanna do this” . . . . . All of this in an attempt to make a change in my waist and my weight.

And then I get in my car and drive to a place where men and women are fighting for real change in their life. Several around the FaithWorks classroom table aren’t sure where they will sleep tonight. Another is awakened each night by a ightmare that I can only imagine. No, that I cannot even imagine. Some are struggling to keep families together. Others yearn to regain parental rights of a son or a daughter. Still others struggle to identify who they are after the ending of long term relationships. And to get their feet back squarely on the ground.

One former student joins us at the devotional table before his weekly appointment to check how the latest chemo meds are working.

We begin each morning reading a Psalm and this week’s Psalms are pleas to God for protection; protection from liars and from those who use their words as weapons. Around our morning devotional table I hear what it is like to experience those struggles firsthand.

One of the earliest gifts that I remember receiving from FaithWorks was the reordering of my priorities in life. FaithWorks has helped me recognize the things in life that are truly important. And I am reminded, that these men and women, these new additions to the FaithWorks family, often are much better at identifying the important things in life than I. And that in spite of the nightmares and separations, they show up each morning and work all day toward the attainment of the things in life that are really important.

As we begin the tenth year of FaithWorks, I am once again reminded of what matters. Family. Healthy lives. Jobs that restore dignity while providing financial independence. The love and grace of Jesus Christ.

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