We Are In This Together

Expanding my Bubble…. I’ve lived in Wilmington for 4 years, and until recently, I had never been to certain areas of town. I’ve simply had no reason to be there.  For convenience and efficiency, I’ve operated within my own “bubble” — darting out here or there as needed for some specific reason.  For me (and probably many of my friends and neighbors) my bubble doesn’t include the Creekwood Community near 30th & Emory or the Hillcrest community near Dawson and 14th… areas of Wilmington that, statistically speaking, are struggling.  

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Through #KOG2ILM and Rev. James Jamison’s Boots on the Ground initiative (more on that below), our Vineyard Sunday School class has pushed out of our respective geographic and social bubbles to meet, feed, and develop relationships with people in Creekwood, Hillcrest and other faith communities that don’t necessarily look like the folks sitting in the pews with us on Sunday morning. 

And while we’d like to think our actions with Boots on the Ground are beneficial for the people we’re serving, I think it’s important to note we’re not on a one-way “giving” train. Everyone in our class would agree that we’ve gained something, too.  Our lives are richer, our perspectives have expanded, and our families & faith have been strengthened. 

While we’ve only participated with BOTG for a couple of months now, I think the message we hope to convey is simple…It’s  “We see you. We care enough to come where you are. We are in it together.” And most importantly, “There is hope in God. 

My bubble now includes Creekwood. My hope during the remainder of #becauselovedoes, is that every person at FBC will bravely and eagerly search out opportunities to expand their own bubble in whatever way God leads. 

More about Boots on the Ground 

A few months ago, FBC members participated in a prayer walk around our church to focus on specific areas of brokenness in our city.  Our Sunday School class, the “Vineyard,” felt called to action, specifically to help with children facing hunger.  Scott Burrell took the initiative, and Pastor Jim Everette put him in touch with Rev. James Jamison.  Reverend Jamison is a chaplain with the Wilmington Police Department, pastor of Hope Baptist Church and primary founder and organizer of “Boots on the Ground,” an interdenominational group who goes into areas of the city that need it most to provide a meal and caring presence, typically once a month. 

The Vineyard class has teamed up with Jamison’s group for 4 events now, including an Interdenominational Back-2-School bash where we, along with numerous others, served up over 3000 hot dogs at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center one very hot Saturday in August.   

By: Peyton Earey


#becauselovedoes   #KOG2ILM


LEARN MORE AT : www.becauselovedoes.org


I felt the call on my life to work with people I will identify as the “underdogs”, when I was in college. These are individuals who struggle with physical and/or mental challenges on a consistent basis. I double majored in Psychology and Recreation Therapy in response to that call. I worked in psychiatric hospitals providing therapy and support to those who faced mental and psychological struggles after graduation. After twelve years, I began to feel the call to use my knowledge and gifts in a different direction, the field of education. I returned to school and earned my teaching certificate in Special Education. I had worked primarily with adults in my career as a therapist but felt I could have a greater impact if I intervened earlier. I could do this by working with children and their families. God prepared me for my current mission. I taught for five years in a traditional public school and worked with children who had a variety of learning needs along with some environmental factors that negatively affected their school experience. Then, I was given the opportunity to transition to teaching exceptional children at a new alternative school with a day treatment component that serves students who have mental health diagnoses. It became clear to me at that time that God’s plan for my career had come full circle. God had prepared me not only to work with students with special needs but also those with mental health challenges. This is my tenth year teaching in this capacity.

trust-1288018_1280Students that attend our school have a difficult time navigating life. They carry the baggage of sickness, hunger, homelessness, poverty, foster care, incarceration of a parent, physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse or neglect, and inappropriate role models in the home environment. Most of them enter the doors of our school with little hope. It is no wonder these students have been unable to fully access and embrace the academic instruction provided to them throughout their school experience. Few of our students get excited about getting school vacations because it is difficult for them to face life outside the care and consistency of the typical school schedule.

I have the blessing of being in the bi-vocational role as both educator and missionary. The bible tells us in Matthew 5: 13-14 to be salt and light to those around us. I offer light by helping students feel safe, loved, and cared for while they are at school. I instill hope in them as they experience growth and success with academics as well as overcome personal challenges. The goal of my colleagues and I is to help our students recognize they have value and worth and deserve respect. lightbulb-rainbow_podcast
We challenge them to think beyond their current situation of which they have little to no control. Our school adopted a “Growth Mindset” culture this year. It emphasizes the importance of students giving their best effort, demonstrating perseverance, recognizing failure as the first step to success and simply saying, “I can’t do that, yet.” We instill the importance of striving toward a goal and accepting assistance when needed from others without giving up.

We have a gifted staff with a heart for each student. I see evidence of this every day. In addition to the traditional academic disciplines, we provide therapeutic gardening, Yoga instruction, social skills lessons, as well as individual and group therapy in order to meet the needs of our student population. We have no more than eight students per class so each student receives the individualized attention they need and deserve. We utilize a school wide behavior plan that requires students to reflect on his/her behavior with an instructor throughout the school day. This teaches the importance of personal goal setting, acceptance of rules and limits, consistency, and accountability in striving for success. We provide field trips to broaden our students’ experiences of life beyond their neighborhood. This school year we have partnered with two churches and a fraternity at UNCW. To encourage students and staff they provide mentoring and tutoring as well as other needed resources. Every day is a challenge for our staff and students. I believe the Lord has placed me in this mission field for this season of my life. I will continue to plant the seeds of light and hope and tend the garden one day and one life at a time.

Blog By: Lisa Everette


         #KOG2ILM   #becauselovedoes


  VISIT: http://www.becauselovedoes.org


It would be a natural thing to believe that six weeks into any project would cause you to lose a little interest and enthusiasm. For some folks perhaps that’s what you are feeling as we complete the sixth week in our Education emphasis of KOG2ILM. For others however, this sixth week has been God’s perfect timing as you have found your place to serve through meeting the needs of a teacher with a simple request, perhaps you answered the call to give a teacher support through being their prayer partner this week. There are others who heard God’s voice so loudly this week and are stepping out in faith to commit to build a relationship with a young child through the TORO program. Just this week these two requests were made from our Alderman partners:

“We would like a basketball and football for our recess time. Also I am doing a concession stand as a part of my token economy and would greatly appreciate some help providing the treats. It can be any kinds of chips, crackers, or snack items that are individually packaged as well as drinks (just no sodas). I am so grateful that we have you guys available to us!”

“We have 2 school secretaries that missed the prayer partner sign ups if anyone can help they’d love to be prayed for!!!”

Within fifteen minutes each of these requests were filled with generous folks willing and ready to answer God’s call. So how about you? Have you wanted to plug-in but not sure if you’ve missed the boat? Don’t ever doubt God’s timing – there’s always room for you and there’s always a need that needs to be met.

To God be all the glory- great things He has done!

250+ people have given school supplies and snacks

18+ people helped provide an inspirational lunch for the Alderman staff

16 people have committed to be paired with a teacher as their prayer partner for the year

28+ people provided backpacks filled with all the necessaties to being school prepared

46 people have committed to be a TORO partner-building realtionships with a child while helping them learn to read and succeed

#KOG2ILM  #becauselovedoes


VISIT: http://www.becauselovedoes.org


As I start my 39th year of ministry at First Baptist it might seem that nothing new could be done. How big God is should never be doubted. What God has in store for all of us should never be questioned.  These past few years have been amazing with the new work that God has allowed me and First Baptist to join Him in. Five years ago there were no Burmese Karen Refugee ministry and only a very limited college ministry. God has opened the door wide in these two areas of mission work and it has filled me and many First Baptist members with so much joy and purpose. gps-beach

The last two nights were very exciting for GPS, the college ministry of First Baptist.  Earlier this semester at UNCW, over 247 college students filled out “I am interested in missions” cards at the UNCW Involvement Fair.  GPS stands for Go Passionately Serve and First Baptist’s GPS had a booth at the Involvement Fair.  Already this year, 54 UNCW students have helped serve meals at our Tuesday night Feeding the Homeless Ministry, 34 students have help our Burmese Karen Refugee children and teenagers with their homework on Wednesday night during CrossTraining, 62 came to our GPS Masonboro Island kickoff cookout Adventure, and 26 have come to our Sunday night Bible Study/Worship nights.  It has been very exciting to see these college students serve God by following Jesus example of welcoming the refugees, feeding the homeless and worshiping God.

phil-4This past week a great group of 35 GPS students not only fed the homeless on Tuesday night, but went around to their tables, sat with them, listened to their stories, asked for their prayer requests and needs.  After all the tables and chairs have been packed away, we had a tremendous prayer circle and it was very moving to hear both the GPS students pray but also several of the homeless men join our prayer circle and pray with all their hearts.  The very next day at Wednesday’s CrossTraining, a group of 34 Burmese Karen Refugees children and teenagers were joined one-on-one with 21 GPS students to help them with their homework.  We have several Karen refugees who have just come to Wilmington this summer and are beginning from  “square one” learning English and doing their homework.  Watching these pairs of children who for many were living in Thailand in very poor living and educational circumstances only six months to two years ago, and GPS students from UNCW, studying, reading, and laughing together is terrific.phil-2ra

An added blessing this year that God has provided is a new GPS college students who was a 1st grade refugee from Vietnam when she came to America 12 years ago to settle with her family of mother, father and seven brothers and sisters in the Greensboro area.  “Ra” is a student at UNCW and signed up for GPS at the fall UNCW involvement fair.  She came to help one of the Burmese families who has two teenage girls move into a new apartment, setting up their beds, arranging their bedroom furniture and clothes.  Ra also went shopping with one of the 15-year-old Karen girls to pick our a new dress to wear to a recent Burmese wedding that was held at the Activities Center.  It will be an amazing example for all of our Burmese Karen kids to see  Ra who came to USA just like them when she was a child and now is a student at UNCW.

God is truly doing IMMEASURABLY MORE in the lives of both the Burmese Karen children, teenagers, mothers, fathers and the lives of our GPS students from UNCW.

Blog By: Don Vigus


#immeasurablymoreFBC     #becauselovedoes


VISIT: http://www.becauselovedoes.org


David Kopperud was acting principal at a West Sacramento, Calif., elementary school when one of his first-graders stopped showing up. The child was so chronically absent that Kopperud went to see the child’s mother. What he learned has stayed with him since. She told him that she hadn’t been sending her son to school because he had no shoes…

The Poverty Gap

Schools grapple with a growing population of poor children


Harvard Graduate School of Education







When I was in high school I was called into ministry. God called me to be a teacher. Later on he called me to be an administrator. I am an assistant principal and of course one of my responsibilities is handling student behavior and discipline. When I think about the time of day that students are most likely to get in trouble at my school, it’s 7:15-7:30 a.m. That sounds pretty early in the morning considering the tardy bell doesn’t ring until 8:00. 7:15-8:00 a.m. is the time when our students are exiting the buses and waiting in line to eat breakfast. All students are welcome to ride the school bus and eat breakfast but at my school but those who do are typically the ones who are on free or reduced lunch and their parents don’t have the disposable income to drive their students to school or they don’t have a car. Imagine getting up early in the morning, riding the bus with other22295255442_9a41c02d4a_b students that haven’t eaten either and then waiting in line for breakfast with other hungry students. Last school year the line was so long that it stretched out the cafeteria and down the hall near the office. Often times students had a hard time waiting patiently to reach the front of the breakfast line. Students were in the office for being disrespectful to staff or cutting in line and the day was just getting started.
I probably handle discipline a bit differently than other principals because I have the privilege of knowing the grace that Jesus Christ extends to each one of us. I choose to use student conduct problems as opportunities to talk with students about who they want to be and how school can help them get there.

Last year the community provided many resources for our students. A nearby church adopted us for “Backpack Buddies”, a program that provides non-perishable food to families on the weekend when students aren’t able to eat breakfast and lunch at school. The residents of the neighborhood across the street adopted several students at Christmas. They were ‘Hidden Angels’ who bought bicycles, toys, pajamas and books for students, wrapped them and delivered them to our school counselor to be distributed to families that requested assistance. A retired teacher that lives in the neighborhood behind the school dropped off goodies for the office staff just about every holiday. She happens to be a member of FBC which makes me extra proud to call her my friend. These are just three examples of how the community loved our school. With 650+ students, we hope that our community partners walk alongside us again this year.
This past week I began my fourth year as an assistant principal, my twenty-first year as an educator in New Hanover County. Once again we opened the doors to greet students as they got off school buses, walked into the cafeteria and waited for breakfast. The breakfast line was shorter this week than last year. I hope that is an indication that families had the money to buy groceries and ate breakfast at home. The line always grows longer as the year progresses. I intentionally added more staff to ‘breakfast duty” this year. My hope is that with more supervision there will be more opportunities for our staff to talk with students, to build relationships and to recognize when students are having a rough start to the day. We can’t control what students are going through when they aren’t with us at school but we can provide a warm breakfast, a friendly greeting and a safe environment so that our students are ready to learn.

Blog By: Janna Lennon






In Wilmington As It Is In Heaven

Have you ever read the end of the Bible?  Much of the book of Revelation takes place in what you and I would call heaven. Much of what we think of when we think of heaven comes from this book.  But have you ever noticed the imagery that John (the author of Revelation) uses to describe the place.  He didn’t talk about a nice beach or a mountain scene.  He didn’t even use the image that the Bible begins with, a garden.  The picture of heaven that John paints for us is a city.

Heaven it seems isn’t primarily some place of luxurious peace and quiet.  It’s a place filled with people, all kinds of people, every kind that worship Jesus as Lord.  The garden that started off with two people who had everything they needed has been replaced with a vast multitude.  And yet despite that multitude there is still peace and abundance.

Every Sunday I’m given the chance to pray for God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven or as a friend of mine says: “we pray make up there come down here.”  But what if we gave hands and feet to that prayer.  What if we let God work in us to make that happen?  What would be the result? I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I think it would look like what’s been happening right here in our city. 43editlr-copy

  • Don’t you think the kingdom is coming when every kindergartner at Alderman will be pared with a friend and mentor who will love on them and help them learn to read?
  • Don’t you think the kingdom is coming when an entire Sunday school class leaves the safety and comfort of their homes behind on a Saturday morning and goes and hangs out with people that are different in a place that is outside their comfort zone?
  • Don’t you think the kingdom is coming when a home gets built for a family that doesn’t have one by people who are doing it for no reason other than they want to God’s love to be more than just words, but look like windows, doors, and a roof overhead?

We’ve met so many of our goals to make a difference in education but don’t let that stop YOU from getting involved if God is calling.  We still need school supplies, especially wipes, expo markers, and pencil sharpeners.  And there are many students in other grades that could use help to get to grade level reading or above. So let’s keep giving, responding as God leads.

This Sunday, KOG2ILM takes the form of a dedication of the Habitat for Humanity home we helped build with other local churches.  The dedication is at 2 PM at the corner of 11th and Chestnut.  Hope you can join us because I’d hate for you to miss any opportunity to see ‘up there come down here’!

Blog By: Matt Cook


#KOG2ILM  #becauselovedoes


 VISIT http://www.becauselovedoes.org