Isn’t it a wonderful thing to look back on the year and see how faithful God has been?
Here at Focus, we’re looking back – and giving thanks for the past 12 months. It’s been a busy year for the staff, and for me. And through it all, God has been faithful to lead and provide. He’s given our team creativity to develop new resources that will help marriages and families, and He continues to open exciting new doors to share the Good News both in the U.S. and around the world.
And He’s even allowed public schools to embrace a couple of very important Focus initiatives!
Of course, none of this would have been possible without your prayers and partnership – you are a vital part of the Focus team.
Along those lines, I want to share with you ten things God in His great grace has done through our joint efforts in 2016. (I’ve gleaned these from our year-end news release posted online if you want to read it in its entirety.)
10. Focus provided on-the-ground help at Guantanamo Bay.
Focus’ Dr. Harry Pearson, a licensed clinical counselor, traveled to Cuba to provide education and support to the U.S. Navy’s chaplain corps and military personnel stationed in the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Pearson, who has extensive experience in military family life counseling, shared on topics like self-care, parenting, divorce, and remarriage with the ministers.
9. Focus helped parents address a great variety of issues – even what to do about Pokémon!
We provided moms and dads with free resources to help them understand the nation’s obsession, including blogs, videos, a downloadable guide, and an article series exploring the spiritual side of the game. All together, more than 120,000 people benefitted from a Pokémon-related Focus resource.
Additionally, Focus’ new vice president over parenting, licensed clinical social worker Danny Huerta, directly engaged parents on timely topics like racism, marijuana, and back-to-school concerns through Periscope and other social media.
8. Focus helped encourage responsible citizenship through education.
Focus’ public policy team helped empower more than 65,000 visitors who came to its Commit 2 Vote special election website for answers to questions like, “Am I registered?” and “What candidate best represents my values?”
The policy team also created free resources to help Christians understand and think through a variety of cultural issues, including homosexuality, marijuana, and religious freedom on college campuses.
7. Focus’ global efforts helped bring more than 1,500 people to Christ.
Focus on the Family’s 12 international offices are collectively responsible for touching more than 4.4 million lives and strengthening nearly 700 marriages. Our international teams have also helped lead 1,515 people to a decision to follow Jesus this year.
That’s in addition to the 210,000 decisions for Christ over the last 12 months from our U.S.-based efforts!
6. Focus’ pro-life efforts helped women affected by Louisiana’s flooding disaster.
When Louisiana was hit hard with flooding this year, pregnancy-care clinic Caring to Love Ministries in Baton Rouge was devastated with $400,000 in damage. Focus on the Family’s Option Ultrasound Program (OUP) replaced all of the clinic’s booklets and DVDs and donated a mobile ultrasound unit for Caring to Love to use until their building was rebuilt. That’s just one way OUP helped save an estimated 27,000 babies from abortion in 2016!
5. Focus helped 255 families start the process of adoption from foster care in 2016.
Focus hosted four Wait No More conferences this year that brought together state and local child welfare officials, child placement agencies, churches, and ministries to educate families about adoption from foster care. A partnership at the Nevada event even allowed attendees to get their fingerprints taken at no extra cost! To date, over 3,300 families have initiated the process of adoption thanks to Wait No More.
4. God helped Focus empower more than 356,000 public school students to share their faith.
Participation in Focus’ third annual “Bring Your Bible to School Day,” a student-led, nationwide free-speech event, more than doubled over the previous year.
3. Raising Highly Capable Kids has helped more than 10,000 families in 60 vulnerable communities.
The evidence-based bilingual program is specifically developed to build stronger families. Because the program is values-based and not religious, public schools can host the classes, local churches can partner with schools in their neighborhoods, and area businesses can lend their support.
2. Focus helped save an average of 355 marriages every day during 2016.
We were able to do this through the Focus on the Family Retreat Center’s marriage intensives (now known as Hope Restored: A Marriage Intensive Experience) and through events like our Day of Honoring Marriage.
1. Focus reached 6.3 million radio listeners a week with Bible-based help.
And you can currently enjoy the year’s top 11 broadcasts online for free! The Focus broadcast is a resource that’s touching real lives with timely help and God’s hope. Here’s Sarah’s story:
What a year it has been! Families have been helped, and God has been glorified.
And I think one of the most beautiful gifts God has given us is that we’re excited and already expecting great things next year, especially because …
2017 will mark Focus’ 40th anniversary!
We have big plans to commemorate 40 years of providing Bible-based help, programming, and counseling to families in need, most notably the Focus on the Family 40th Anniversary Cruise to the Bahamas in November!
I don’t want to end this overview without inviting you to partner with us in the holy mission of spreading the Gospel and helping families thrive.
What we do is possible because of friends like you and the generous donations you give to Focus on the Family. So as 2016 draws to an end, I ask you to please consider Focus for your year-end giving.
Your gift will go twice as far thanks to generous ministry friends who will match what you give, dollar for dollar, up to $3.5 million! You can give quickly, easily, and securely online.
Thank you again for your support and prayers. And please remember: we want to walk alongside you during life’s journey, and we’re here for you. Please connect with us through our website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube… and know that you can also call or email us for personalized help.
And if you have a personal story of God using this ministry to help you or a loved one, won’t you share it in the comments section, below? It would be a true encouragement to our staff.
Thank you for helping make 2016 a great year for Focus on the Family – God’s blessings to you in 2017!