Mark Morales, Children’s Ministry Director at Full Gospel Christian Center in Suffolk (Long Island), New York, is leading the newest 1.27. Mark and his wife, Linda are adoptive parents and recently received approval from Full Gospel for the launch. Today, we’re excited to talk with Mark about the initiative.
What inspired you to launch a foster care initiative in New York?
I have always had a heart for kids and have been involved in children’s ministry in some capacity for almost 20 years. My heart’s desire has always been to help children to reach their potential in God. In 2006 while living in Texas, [my wife, Linda, and I] went through the process to become foster parents and then, through divine intervention, we were chosen to adopt a 2-year-old boy who was in Texas Child Protective Services. He became our third and youngest child and has changed our lives. During that time I felt that, while it is incredible to adopt a child from another country, we can’t forget the children in our own backyard that need families. Eight years later I went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic to build a house and minister to kids. I left there feeling that I did a wonderful thing, but again I wondered why I needed to go to another country to minster to children when so many kids in my city needed help. It was then that I started researching how we could help New York kids in distress. Through that research we founded Project 1.27 and I knew that we were called by God to start a ministry to reach the children of the Big Apple in foster care.
What will the launch entail?
Our launch is going to be November 2, Orphan Sunday. We plan to roll this out to our church family. Our pastor has sent letters to area pastors to let them know what we are doing. We hope to have a guest speaker that day, and we have partnered with a foster agency, an adoption agency, a mentoring ministry, and The Long Island Heart Gallery with the expectation that they will all be with us that day for our launch with tables set up in our lobby to answer any questions and to show their support of our ministry.
What ideas, if any, will you adopt from your predecessors, like CO’s Project 127?
We have adopted many ideas from Project 1.27. The very foundation of what I would like to see happen in my state at its core is the same as Project 1.27: “A Family for Every Child”. Our Mission Statement is similar: “To Inspire, Recruit and Support Churches and Families to Foster and Adopt Children in their own backyard.” Also like Project 1.27, we hope to have collaborative efforts with area churches.
What new ideas do you hope to implement with New York 1.27?
We will come alongside people who are already doing great things for kids, such as case workers and CASAs, and show our support through prayer and gifts of appreciation during Christmas time. They need to know that what they do for kids is incredible. We have also networked with some group homes in our area and will have the children from these homes come to our church events, such as Harvest party, Christmas party, and Easter celebrations.
How can we be praying for your team, specifically?
I know that this sounds cliché, but I feel we need prayer for wisdom, wisdom to know the steps we need to take and who we need to align with. We need prayer to have churches catch the vision. We also need prayer for funding.
Thanks, Mark! Please join DC127 in praying for this new sister initiative!