REAL STORIES◽ ENCOURAGEMENT
This is Life
by Debra Gomez

I first met this couple several decades ago at church and fell in love with their entire family as we both grew our families together.  In fact, their youngest daughter and our son are only one day apart.  And who knew that years later, that same daughter would marry a guy, and then that guy’s sister would marry our son!  God did.  And that’s the beauty of this story Debra is sharing with you.  In God’s wisdom and kindness he brought our families together, and he’s still bringing families together through Peter and Debra Gomez, in a whole new experience of life…

A long-time friend of our family, Cynthia Borsellino, told me about a place called Hope Rising, when I participated in the very first 1012 Dance Upon Injustice Movement.  Hope Rising is located in Brenham, Texas and we just recently became foster parents at this child placing agency, now that our own kids are all grown and gone.  We live in one of the foster homes out in the country on 15 acres, with four teenage girls, four dogs, 10 horse, two goats, and 15 chickens!  This is our new life…

Before moving here, we met with the director, the horse-trainer, and a board member at Hope Rising.  We fell in love with the place and with the fact that they offered equine therapy with the girls.  Not only that, but they help and support their house parents and the girls with trauma-informed counseling with licensed mental health professionals, an online computer school that the girls attend, a boutique with clothing and personal care items, respite caregivers! 

What a great Christian organization, we realized that Hope Rising is!  We found out that pre-placement screenings take place so that a traumatized girl can function in a normal foster home.

Of course, we didn’t consider this new move lightly.  Plenty of fear and trepidation was involved in making such a big change after being “empty nesters” and being stuck in our ways for so long.  We wondered how in the world we would be able to stay in touch with our own children and grandchildren if we moved away from them.  The commitment to these girls at Hope Rising is huge, and it would be hard to go back to raising teenagers – teenagers that don’t know you at all!  However, Peter and I have been married for 37 years and want to spend the next 5-10 years making an eternal difference for the kingdom of God – where young people can come to know Christ and their true worth by giving them a chance to start again…on the right path.

What does our day look like at Hope Rising?  It’s very busy and complex. We work with caseworkers, staff members, an online virtual school and have out-of-town visits for the girls.  Sometimes there are court appointments, meetings with CASA mentors, doctors’ appointments, cooking, cleaning, feeding animals and giving the girls life skills.  We are on the go providing fun for the girls as well, taking them to movies and to bowl, to the park, and providing all that they need (and want.)

One of our biggest challenges as a couple is communicating by staying connected to the Holy Spirit and each other.  We have so many different players in these girls’ lives.  It is quite intimidating to talk to caseworkers, law enforcement people and attorneys.  However, we’ve realized that they are just people like us, and that they like what they seen in our home and what we are trying to do.  Scheduling all of these meetings is daunting, as well as all of the other activities.

One of the most enjoyable things about our new place is the setting.  It’s so pretty.  We started attending Cowboy Church in Brenham, where great people attend, and we have connected with a small group called a “Round Pen!”  The concept of a round pen is that it is a corral with no corners, because it limits the ways and options for a horse to avoid being trained.  It also focuses on the development of trust between horse and trainer.  We feel like this is also how God is making us grow – forcing us to learn and serve where otherwise we may not – if we were on our own without outside pressure.

Some of the cool things we’ve had the privilege of experiencing are helping the girls learn to drive, visiting colleges to enlarge their horizons, helping them in court appearances, getting them to life skills’ classes, teaching them cooking lessons and sharing our own lives on a personal and daily basis.  This is life to us.

For all of us, God’s timing is now, his wisdom is present, and his provision is always there when we step up for his kingdom.  Despite how difficult it is, getting out of our comfort zones can be accomplished, and there are hidden treasures we cannot see when we do.  For us, this particular ministry time is the culmination of everything we’ve done in our lives.  We are utilizing untapped abilities.  It does take humility, maturity and God’s wisdom to see everyone and everything by the Spirit.

Remember us when you pray!  We want these girls to truly come to know and trust their One and Only true source – Jesus! 

Financial donations to us personally are always welcome.  We are running a home where we buy groceries, fix things, pay bills, and buy things for our new family.  Visit our website to see our need list.  We run a boutique of nice teenage (up to date!) fashionable clothing from workout wear, to coats, dresses, jeans, shoes and more…

Peter and Debra Gomez first met in the 8th grade and started dating in the 12th in Sugar Land, Texas.  They both responded to the Gospel when they were students at the University of Texas at Austin.  They married in 1982 and raised 5 children in the house they built on three acres in Hutto, Texas.  They were led to attend a church that eventually became New Hope Community Church in Round Rock, Texas, where their children grew up in Children's Church and Youth Group.  Their kids are all grown up now and three are married.  Peter and Debra are enjoying their four grandchildren.  Currently, Peter and Debra said "Yes" to God's leading to become foster parents with Hope Rising in Brenham, Texas, where they are ministering to three and soon to be four teenage girls.  They have been blessed by all that God is doing and becoming members in the community of Brenham.
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