The Finish Line

In January of 2014, Eli Westfall (one of our staff) ran his first marathon. As the miles wore on he hit ‘the wall’ and felt like he wanted to give up and quit. Like most of us, as we near the finish line of any daunting task we feel as though we have given every thing we have and feel like our reserves are gone. As Eli rounded the last turn of the race, bringing the finish line into sight he was invigorated with a renewed sense of energy and purpose and found he actually did have the strength and reserves to finish the last few miles to finish the race.

 At Grace Landing, we have rounded the final turn and we have the finish line in sight and we have our group home almost complete. There are a few loose ends as far as work goes to wrap up. We have one last inspection to be completed. We have turned in all necessary paperwork for our application with the Department of Children and Families.

 The end is in sight.

 As we take a moment to realize how close to be finished, we realize two things: we couldn’t do it without all of our community partners; and we still have some big needs left! We have almost all the work completed, but we still need many items to furnish the home and provide a safe, stable and loving environment for the young foster boys who will live there. Please take a moment to check out this list of some of the big ticket items we still need or check out our gift registry at either Target or Bed, Bath & Beyond for some the smaller, yet still critical items we need (to find the registry search first name Grace, last name Landing at either store).

 We are so thankful for everyone who has helped us get our group home up and running. God has used many servants to accomplish his work at Grace Landing over the last couple of months. We couldn’t have completed this work without the help of God’s servant like you. Thank you so much!!

 Enjoy these photos of the completed work in each home!

And then there was carpet…

Kissimmee Carpets and Tile has partnered with Arnco Construction to provide carpet in the two bedrooms of the Group Home for Grace Landing. We are very thankful for community partners like these two companies who have provided the supplies and labor at no cost to Grace Landing. God is bringing together a wonderful Group Home for the young men we will minister to and the couple who will live with the young men. God is doing immeasurably more than we could have ever imagined! Here is a photo of the Kissimmee Carpets and Tile guys installing the carpet for us. A huge thank you to both Kissimmee Carpets and Tile and Arnco Construction for helping us realize the vision God has given us for helping foster youth!

kissimmee carpet install

The Love of a Savior

Photo credit unknown.
Photo credit unknown.

One of the tenets of Christianity setting apart from other world religions, is the love of a savior. Christianity alone has at its center a God who loves his creation enough to call them children and to die in their place in order to satisfy his wrath upon sin.

 Jesus himself draws the stark contrast of this revolutionary approach to life when he comments that few people would die for a good man. What isn’t said there, but what is certainly hinted at is that we are not good men. We are sinners. We live in a fallen world and we are bent towards sin. Knowing this, and loving us anyway, our God sacrifices himself to pay the penalty for our sins.

 This act is so revolutionary, so extraordinary, so out of the box we as a humanity can scarcely grasp the full weight of what he did or why he did it. Paul writes in Romans, that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. While we were still in opposition to him. He loved us enough to move towards us. To take the first step to have a relationship with us. Which is a second tenet separating Christianity from other world religions, God desires to know us personally. He doesn’t sit on a throne far above in the heavens looking down at us, waiting for us to screw up so he can capriciously punish us. Rather, he engages in our lives with us, walking alongside us each day. In fact, his desire is to dwell within us. To live in and through us. Paul also write in one of his letters to the church at Corinth, that as Christ followers we are temples to the Holy Spirit (God’s spirit he sent to dwell within us). In this particular passage, Paul was correcting the Corinthians on their sexual immorality, however the idea that our bodies are temples of the spirit of the almighty God should have broad applications in our lives. Our lives should be lived in such a way that God is glorified by our actions.

 As we prepare for today and this weekend, ask ourselves this question: Is God glorified in the way I am living, in my habits and daily routine, in my work, in my attitude and in the way I treat others? If not, now seems like the right time to reorganize our priorities.

Group Home Showers!

They say April showers bring May flowers… we are hoping for Grace Landing that April showers bring towels, pillows, kitchen supplies, steak knives… and anything else you can imagine you needed the first time you moved out on your own. One of the biggest expenses with moving out on your own is outfitting your home with the numerous items you need just to function daily. I remember when my wife and I first got married, and I came to the realization that you must purchase toilet paper. As a child and even a teenager, my parents always ensure we had toilet paper. As a newlywed, this was now my responsibility. This is the reality we are facing with our Group Home. We need to supply every possible item to make the Group Home be able to function day to day.

We have registered with Bed, Bath & Beyond and Target. You can go to either website and search a registry using Grace Landing as the name (first name Grace, last name Landing). You can order items from the registry and have them sent straight to us. All you need to do is order it from the registry and you will be an integral part of helping us open the Group Home. If you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to contact Juda either by phone (407-470-6041) or email or Eli at (706-202-0304) or email.

We are thankful for your involvement in opening our Group Home!

A New, Modern Look

The last few days there have been a plethora of people at Grace Landing doing a myriad of task, making incredible changes to our Group Home. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday we had seven different teams out to prep and paint the Group Home. We are immeasurably thankful to our community partners and friends who have made this possible. Yesterday, Statewide Cabinets installed the BRAND NEW cabinets and countertops they provided for us at no cost. We continue to be blown away by the generosity of our friends and partners.

As a reminder, here is the complete list of generous business contributing financially (either through a financial donation, providing supplies and/or providing labor for the work).

  • Kent Custom Homes – remodeling our master bedroom and bathroom
  • Terry’s Electric – updating our light fixtures and ceiling fans in the home as well as exterior lighting
  • Arnco Construction – repairing a bedroom door and frame, repairing closet doors and installing shelving and carpet in the bedrooms
  • Kissimmee Carpet and Tile – partnering with Arnco to provide carpet for the bedrooms
  • Jeff Wolfe Construction – removing a wall in between kitchen and breakfast room, repairing the pantry, repairing door frame from kitchen to garage and replacing doors (one from kitchen to garage and one from garage to outside)
  • Statewide Cabinets – installing kitchen cabinets and counter tops.
  • Crossfit Firebase – providing a work team for our March 28th work day
  • Bank of America – provided a financial contribution to cover the cost of the paint for the Group Home.

We are so happy with the work we have gotten done in the last few weeks. We still have a lot left to do (That means its not too late for you to get involved!), but we are making significant progress forward. Everything we have worked on so far looks incredible. Here are a few photos of the updated kitchen. Thanks to everyone who has partnered with us, we literally couldn’t do it without you!!

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Group Home Renovations

We are neck-deep in renovating one of our homes to convert it to a Group Home for foster youth ages 15-17. We plan to open this home this summer. As we began to discuss opening a group home, we took a look at the home we want to use in this capacity and realized we needed to do some work to it to bring it up to speed. We have partnered with several local companies who have been community partners with Grace Landing to accomplish all the work we need to have done (you can read more about those partners here).

This week we had several companies in and out doing work for us. You can see a bigger picture of the work we have had done so far by checking out our Facebook page (or clicking here). Today we want to thank Terry’s Electric for supplying and installing new lighting throughout the home.

Here’s a couple of the old fixtures they replaced:

Here’s the sleek, new, modern looking fixtures we now have throughout the home:

A HUGE THANK YOU to Terry’s Electric for making this possible!

Engage Magazine features Juda in their Spring 2015 issue!

Photo courtesy of Engage magazine available at: http://ow.ly/L50jP

Photo courtesy of Engage magazine

Some of you may know that Juda is a graduate of Lakeland Christian School. Lakeland Christian School publishes a magazine every quarter where they feature alums who are making a difference in their community. It was only a matter of time before Juda was featured. Juda has been chasing her dream of offering alternative living solutions for young men in and aging out of foster care. Five years ago this month, Juda opened Grace Landing’s first home for young men in foster care. Through the years, Grace Landing’s mission has remained the same – provide a loving, stable and safe Christian home for young men in foster care. We start each day at Grace Landing by focusing on our calling to minister to the orphans and widows of central Florida. Everything we do at Grace Landing is an expression of the call God has given us as his children to care for around us in need.

This is a huge honor for Juda and for Grace Landing. Please take few minutes and check out the article here.

This summer, Grace Landing is continuing our mission of providing housing for young men by opening a group home for young men. This will allow us to serve men a little younger than we are able to in our independent living transition home. This is a big step for us at Grace Landing, but we are confident God is going to put all the pieces in place so we are equipped to answer the call he has given to us. Grace Landing is continuing to partner with local churches to assist them in creating foster care ministries within their congregations. Grace Landing is committed to the foster youth in central Florida and we ask you to partner with us to provide a better future for these often-forgotten youth.

Demolition Derby!

Photo courtesy of Lindsey Schlarf.

Photo courtesy of Lindsey Schlarf.

On Saturday March 28th, a team from Crossfit Firebase in Orlando came out to lend a helping hand in the demo for the upcoming renovation of our group home. Firebase is owned and operated by Danny and Raquel. Firebase believes in giving back to the community and helping those in need by being involved in missional-minded activities like this. On Friday March 27th, the fifth and final workout of the 2015 Crossfit Open (a worldwide crossfit competition, open to anyone who does crossfit) was posted. For the last four years, on the Saturday following the final Crossfit Open workout, Firebase has hosted a party to celebrate their members who participated in the Crossfit Open. This year, they celebrated the Firebase community by helping one of their own (Eli Westfall is a member). This makes total sense for Firebase as Danny and Raquel love only one thing more than crossfit… Jesus. Firebase and its community involvement activities, like participating in Grace Landing’s work day for the group home renovation, are born out their desire to share the Gospel of Christ and make him known to the world. Grace Landing gives a huge thank you to the Firebase family for partnering with us to serve foster youth.

Twelve people from Firebase came out to help us demo the kitchen, the carpet in two bedrooms, vanities in two bathrooms, clean up trash from the backyard and remove a section of fence. This work day was critical to prepare the group home for the local companies who have committed to donating time and resources to renovate our group home. We completed almost all the tasks we hoped to accomplish on this day to prepare the home for the renovations.

We have another work weekend scheduled for April 16th, 17th and 18th to prep and paint the whole home, inside and out. We are taking commitments from teams now for a four hour block of time on any of those three days. If you would like to bring a team, or come by yourself, please let Eli know by emailing him at eliw@gracelanding.com and he will put you on the schedule.

Additionally, we still need many items for the group home to be ready to open. Here is a list of the items we still need for the group home. If you are able to commit to any of these items, please let Eli know by emailing him at eliw@gracelanding.com. We greatly appreciate your partnership with Grace Landing! Without partners like you, we wouldn’t be able to serve the foster youth in central Florida!

A Community of Partnership

I have to write a follow up post to the one posted earlier today about the work day and the many things we have currently going on at Grace Landing. I have to write this follow up, because I am blown away by the willingness of local businesses to engage in making a difference in the lives of foster kids in central Florida. If you check out the Group Home Projects & Needs Lists, you will find several local businesses that are donating time, resources, and finances to make our Group Home a reality. I don’t want you to have to search through a list to locate who those community partners are, so I am going to spell it out for you:

  • Kent Custom Homes – remodeling our master bedroom and bathroom
  • Terry’s Electric – updating our light fixtures and ceiling fans in the home as well as exterior lighting
  • Arnco Construction – repairing a bedroom door and frame, repairing closet doors and installing shelving and carpet in the bedrooms
  • Kissimmee Carpet and Tile – partnering with Arnco to provide carpet for the bedrooms
  • Jeff Wolfe Construction – removing a wall in between kitchen and breakfast room, repairing the pantry, repairing door frame from kitchen to garage and replacing doors (one from kitchen to garage and one from garage to outside)
  • Statewide Cabinets – installing kitchen cabinets and counter tops.
  • Crossfit Firebase – providing a work team for our March 28th work day

These local businesses are standing in the gap with Grace Landing to make a positive impact in the lives of young men in foster care in central Florida.

Thank you!

“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap…” Ezekiel 22:30

intercessors-stand-in-the-gap

March 28th Work Day!

Workday

We have lots of things going on here at Grace Landing! Juda, Matt and Eli are buzzing around like busy little bees. We are in the midst of gearing up for our Fourth Annual Paddle Challenge at the St. Cloud Lakefront, we are working to open a group home for teen-aged young men in foster care this summer, we are continuing to partner and work with local churches to answer God’s call on his people to do something about the foster care dilemma in central Florida, as well as our day in and say routine with the young men we currently have living on site at Grace Landing. This Saturday, March 28th, we have a the first of several work days planned to do some work on site at our soon-to-be opened group home. We will doing demolition work in preparation for our local partners who have committed to donating a wide range of products and services (check out this list of donated products & services and the related partners who are donating).

At Grace Landing, we are able to offer the ministry to young men in foster care that we do because of our partners. If you haven’t yet gotten involved in helping with any of the projects for our Group Home, it isn’t too late. As you can see on the previous list, we still have lots of work to do and lots of items we need donated.