One Million Arrows Christian Parenting Blog

Posted in: Arrow Families

Stanley Clan Moves Downtown
Guest Author: Rebecca Stanely
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stanley 1For the Stanley Clan from the suburbs of Atlanta, walking in obedience to Christ has taken on a new challenge this year of moving to the front lines of their ministry—inner-city Atlanta. This decision began as a result of working a summer ministry camp for inner-city kids, and now they feel a special call to live in close community with the kids and their families.

Rebecca says, "Our journey into inner-city ministry began with the conviction that if we claim to be Christians, we MUST love our neighbors as ourselves. And the children in our very own city are living in poverty amidst violence, gangs, teen pregnancy, and failing schools.

"We've worked at this summer camp with these kids for almost four years now, and this year my husband left his teaching job to start a mentoring program as a follow-up to camp. We are planning to move into the inner city to run our mentoring program, because we firmly believe that the best way to help lift people out of poverty and bondage is to go down to their level of desperation and walk alongside them. By living in community and building trust on a daily basis, we will be pursuing the God-given vision of reconciliation and restoration for inner-city Atlanta."

JayciAdam and Rebecca have one daughter, 17-month-old Jayci, and after this summer's camp, they plan to adopt another child through the state. "Honestly, we are not always very intentional in the activities we currently do with Jayci. We do pray with her, read Bible stories to her, involve her at church, and speak truth into her life, even if she doesn't understand it yet. However, we know that the best thing we can do for her is to live out our faith on a daily basis. That means walking with Jesus in obedience, demonstrating our love for those around us, seeking justice, and caring for the poor."

For the Stanley's, making a difference for "the mission" has meant making the deliberate choice of saying yes to the opportunities and call God has placed before them. "What seems best on paper for our family according to the standards of the world might not actually be God's best for us," Rebecca says. "So it's important for us to learn to discern."

When it comes to raising Jayci, Rebecca is trying to balance both extravagant love and firm boundaries. "I've learned to extend myself the grace to make mistakes, because I will make mistakes. I will say and do the wrong things. I will sin and I will NOT be the perfect parent (which is strangely freeing even just to put in words). But it is in those weaknesses and shortcomings that my child will turn to the Lord.

stanley 2"If we were perfect parents, our children wouldn't recognize their need for the only perfect Father. What grace is that! In my weakness, He is strong. It is okay for us to be flawed, because MY beloved Father will step in and fill the empty spaces that we leave behind for our children—and that is every parent's greatest desire anyways, right? Adam and I can only pray that in our weaknesses, our children will find the Father's perfections and the Savior's redeeming grace!"

Since becoming a Christian in high school, Rebecca's favorite verse has been Isaiah 58:11. She shares, "I love the promise and love wrapped up in this verse. But only recently have Adam and I discovered the commandment that goes with the promise in verse 10:

If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

"Knowing how deeply the Lord cares for each and every one of His children has developed in us a similar love for every single person we encounter. As a family, we are determined to live out Isaiah 58:10 in our every day lives."

Visit the Stanley Clan blog to learn more about their family and mission!

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