The banquet room glowed with candlelight as everyone enjoyed hot cocoa, a bacon-wrapped pork medallion dinner, and cupcake desserts. We played cheerful games and got more than a little icing on us as we decorated gingerbread houses. Joyful laughter filled the air as we fellowshipped with a roomful of teenage girls in foster care.  It was our Christmas event⏤a KEEPS Friendsmas party. The evening’s message was about looking at Jesus not just as our Savior but also as our friend. When it ended, 16-year-old Sonya came over for prayer. I could see that she was carrying a heavy burden.

When I asked her how I could pray for her, she looked at the floor and quietly answered, “I don’t really know, for my family.”

Sonya explained that she had been in foster care for six months. She felt afraid and alone.

When I asked her what she was thinking about, her eyes filled with tears as they met mine, and she replied, “Something just feels different here. Like I can open up.”

I asked, “Sonya, have you ever met Jesus?” She shook her head no. “Would you like to meet Him for yourself? Would you like to invite Jesus into your heart?” Her eyes widened, and she smiled, nodding yes. Sonya invited the Lord into her life right at that moment, and as we prayed together for Him to come in, I could tangibly feel that heavy burden lift. Sonya experienced Jesus’ heart for a relationship with her. His heart for friendship.

At KEEPS, everything we do is an effort to build a bridge of friendship to sustain the weight of truth. We build bridges of friendship through our events⏤free clothing, prizes! Chocolate! Yummy food! Gifts! Messages of hope. We instill the value that comes from Jesus into each girl as He gives the revelation of truth. As you go through your daily life, in your busy schedule of work and errands, don’t lose sight of the simplicity of the Gospel, the simplicity of relationship with Jesus. Through friendship and love, we can ask the question, “Have you ever met Jesus?” It could be the question they’ve been waiting for, the catalyst they need to meet their Savior for the first time.

Emily Huerta

Emily Huerta

KEEPS Program Director