Loads we share

A local family will receive an "Extreme Makeover" home this week. Today work on the home and filming began in Poolesville, MD, not far from here.

Thursday, from 7:30 - 10:30 pm, Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church, in Maryland, will host a benefit gospel concert for Felicia Jackson and her family of 15, this week's recipients of an "Extreme Makeover" home.

GPC's Praise Team will open the evening that will feature area gospel groups. An ABC film crew will capture the event. Organizers hope to raise $50,000 to help defray expenses associated with an "Extreme Makeover" home.

The Jackson family' episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" will air in September as the two-part season premiere.

Sunday morning, Ty Pennington and his television crew surprised the Jackson family with the news.

Once ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" made the announcement on Sunday, news spread among local leaders and to the community. Now plans are underway to quickly organize a community concert and publicize the event.

Community support is important to the makeover effort. Fund raising activities are part of the program now so that families can pay additional home expenses they face, such as taxes.

Members of our church have been instrumental in helping Felicia Jackson and her family through the Dwelling Place for years. This week's concert activities are an extension of other efforts.

I'm touched by the family's story.

Felicia Jackson is struggling to raise her four children and to keep her 10 nieces and nephews from entering the foster care system. Her sister died of cancer four years ago and asked Felicia to keep them together. Both Felicia and her sister were raised in foster care. They did not want this for their children.

I can identify with them in that since I also lived in a children's home, group homes and a foster home. Although there is gratitude for the kindness of others, there is strong revulsion to ever have your own kids or others go through that. Never. Never again. I longed for some member of the family to be strong enough and care enough to help us, but God used others to fill the needs and gaps in our family. God in his kindness healed many broken places through the years.

So, I understand something of Felicia's determination and commitment to provide something different than foster care for her children and nieces and nephews. I'm proud of Felicia for fighting for her family. The easy thing to do would be to let others take over, but she is striving to do whatever she can to keep the family together. The community has backed her up on this and now ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and the community is making a huge contribution to this family.

Christians are asked to bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the love of Christ. We can share burdens by opening our homes to foster children. Some are called to that and serve a great need. My life has benefited from this kindness. We can share burdens by helping others keep children out of the foster care system. Our church and community are actively engaged in these efforts for the Jackson family and others.

The loads we carry may be heavy. But others may be staggering beneath crippling loads. Together, we can share each other's burdens, as God leads, and demonstrate the practical and life-enhancing love of Christ.

Today, I hope you will look beyond the load you carry and help share someone else's crippling load as God leads you. Together we can do it.


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A local family will receive an Extreme Makeover home

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