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Thornwell Emphasis Month | Minutes for Mission | Sophia’s Story

The mission of Thornwell is to prevent child abuse and neglect, build and reunite families, and support healthy communities in the name of Jesus Christ. Founded in 1875 in Clinton, SC, by a Presbyterian minister to care for orphans from the Civil War, Thornwell still cares for children who’ve experienced trauma while providing innovative ministries to strengthen families throughout Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Thornwell’s theme this Emphasis Month is “Pathways to Prayer.”

Sophia’s Story

We want to share with you the story of Sophia. At one year old, doctors diagnosed Sophia with “failure to thrive,” stemming from inadequate nutrition and disturbed social interactions. Her early life wasn’t easy, and she was placed in the care of Thornwell’s foster parents, Jackie and Tom.

God used this chapter in Sophia’s story for redemption, powerful life change, and reunification. While Sophia was in Jackie and Tom’s care, they patiently worked with her doctors and their Thornwell foster care family specialist on a plan that would support her growth and development. Soon, Sophia began to show signs of improvement.

A cornerstone of Thornwell’s mission is the desire to reunite families whenever possible. As foster parents, Jackie and Tom found support through their family specialist. They encouraged Sophia’s birth family to attend doctor appointments and empowered them to learn about Sophia’s health. Soon, Sophia’s aunt Gloria expressed interest in caring for her niece as a kinship placement.

Before Sophia was officially placed with her aunt, Jackie and Tom helped Gloria become better equipped to handle specialized feedings and help Sophia grow into the thriving toddler she is today. Jackie and Tom continue to be a special part of Sophia and Gloria’s life and are grateful to experience the love that Sophia feels so entirely from her “GG.”

Sophia’s support system was continually reminded that God has a plan and wanted them to trust Him faithfully. God knows everything on the pathway we are traveling now and what will come. The Lord asks us to follow his path and trust that he knows best.

In Matthew 14:27- 31, Peter was the only one who responded in true faith when commanded by Jesus to walk on water.

You might be familiar with what happened next. He exited the boat and started walking on the water, but he became scared and began to sink. He then received what might be considered a rebuke from Jesus:

‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ (Matthew 14:31).

Jesus didn’t say those words to the other disciples. He spoke directly to Peter.

Remember this – Jesus’ words to Peter were a rebuke AND a powerful reminder that God is always in control. Peter was the one who had enough faith to step out of the boat and begin walking on the water – the pathway Jesus had set! He just needed to KEEP THE FAITH and keep going!

Let us trust in God and have faith like Peter to step out of the boat and WALK, but also continue to believe that we will not sink because, with God, all things are possible.

*(Sophia’s name has been changed to protect her identity, but her story is real!)

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