Stories

Stories from The Village

Thank you for visiting us!  Each week we'll add a story here to share with you why we do what we do & what donors in our community have accomplished for our neighbors in need.  

Early this year were blessed with a donation that allowed 311 to purchase the land that will be our future home!  We are on a mission to raise $500,000 by August 1st, 2019.

We need your help!  

We are reaching out to our faithful donors and the community to offer you the opportunity to be a vital part of this mission and to partner with us in this endeavor.  First, we covet your prayers for the success of this project.  Next, we ask that you pray for our financial needs to be met.  We need to raise $500,000 over the next 5 months to make this dream a reality and complete the facility in time to host our annual Christmas program.  This year’s Midland County Angels project is projected to serve more than 2,000 students in Midland during the 2019 holiday season.

Can we count on you to help us make this dream a reality?  Any amount that you feel led to contribute will be so gratefully accepted.  We do realize that in challenging financial times like these, not everyone will be able to make a donation.  If you are unable to donate financially, we are in need of prayer to help us pull this challenging project together.  Be assured that your prayers, volunteering services and good wishes are as valuable to us as your financial support.

Your gift will help us reach this challenging goal & continue to serve children in need here in west Texas!

For more information about our capital campaign, please contact our Capital Campaign Manager, Sommer Bledsoe at office@311ministries.org or our Founding Director, Stephanie Wilbanks at Stephanie@311ministries.org.

 

Donations can be made by using the paypal DONATE button below (desktop view only) or by mail to:

311 Ministries
PO Box 8402
Midland, TX 79708

 

 

 

Sunday, March 17, 2019
By 3:11 Ministries
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Submitted by 2018 recipients from the perfect PROMise project

 

"Dear Ladies of 311 Ministries,

We hope this letter finds you all well!  We have all missed you, your sweet smiles and kind words.  We are all doing ok, scattered all over the place.  Most of us are all grown up now, some of us left to college.  Some of us are working full-time.  Some of us are moms and even two of us have joined the army.  Even though we have all decided to do different things, we all stay in touch in one way or another.  Most of us knew each other from school, but were never friends.  We all became friends, lifelong friends, because of you.  We all came together in a big building with a group of ladies that had no reason to care for us but did.  We helped each other pick dresses, shoes and earrings, and when we went to prom, we all took pictures together knowing that we had shared that experience.  Every year the girls from the previous year present a gift of appreciation.  Every year it gets harder for us to decide what to do.  We don’t have much money and some of us don’t live here anymore, but everyone wants to be able to help with the gift.  This year we thought and thought.  What were we going to do?  When we were sitting together on our last day of school, our teacher told us that you would like anything even if it didn’t cost money, as long as it was meaningful.  So, we started to think about things that were meaningful to us.  When we brain stormed, we realized that it wasn’t things that were meaningful, but people and moments.  Memories that people gave to us that didn’t cost anything meant more to us than anything.  There are two things our teacher always says- “one person can change the world, even if it is just changing the world for one person” and “you can always do more.”  So that is what we decided to do as our gift.  All of us from last year and beyond decided to change the world for just one person, inspired by a few women who changed a little piece of our world.  This would take a lot of time and a lot of effort, everyone would have to do their part.  We would have to keep in contact, make arrangements and somebody would have to track what everybody was doing.  The goal was that together we would do 311 hour of community service wherever we lived in the name of 311 Ministries.  We hoped that by doing these hours and giving to others that we might have a chance to change the world for even just one person.  That is how we used the first quote for inspiration.  A group message went out and replies came back from almost everyone, even girls in Germany and El Salvador responded.  Everyone would be doing their part wherever they lived and reporting it to one of us to keep track of the hours at the end of this, and that is when we would give you this letter.  With so many of us working on this project we were able to finish the hours by September.  A few of us met together and decided to make you the collage and while we were sitting in our old class room, we thought back to the second quote- we could do more!  Another message was sent and everybody mobilized, but this time the goal was 3,000 hours + 11 more.  We thought that some people would say no or be too busy with their own lives, but everyone said yes!  Again, we started working on our own to get these hours done.  We told our teacher that we would not be able to hand over the gift until the hours were done even if that meant giving it to you a year or more later.  Yesterday we received a letter from El Salvador, one of the girls had finished the last 20 hours serving at an orphanage for young girls.  We completed our task.  As we sit here now writing you this letter together it is still surreal to us.  None of us ever thought we could accomplish such a thing but together we were able to do it just like together you are able to inspire people.  A dress is just a dress to so many people, but to us a dress was a way for us to meet, become friends and change a little bit of someone else’s world.

We will all continue to be in service to others as we have discovered that we like volunteering:

A*** will keep serving at the orphanage.

C**** will keep working as a missionary.

C**** will keep volunteering at elementary schools in Abilene.

A***** will keep going to the homeless shelter.

J****** will keep making meals to deliver to the homeless

And we will always remember that God so loved the world that he helped a bunch of ordinary women do extraordinary things."

 
Sunday, March 17, 2019
By 3:11 Ministries
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From March 11th, 2019

It takes a village to raise a child.
Two years ago, retired science teacher, Linda, sponsored 2 families in need for Christmas. Having taught for 14 years, she was very familiar with the struggles so many students face. She meticulously shopped for each child on her list, choosing items that she just knew they would love, gathering up items she knew they needed, and praying over them as she went. Little did she know the magnitude of blessings that would continue to flow as a result of her sincere generosity that Christmas.
One of the children she sponsored was a sweet hearted 7-year-old little boy, Jake. Cancer had tragically taken his guardian away from him earlier that year. His grandmother had recently taken him in, but the added cost of school uniforms, school supplies and other expenses had taken a financial toll on their family. Jake’s Christmas looked a little bleak. After reaching out to the school counselor, grandma found a resource to provide Christmas for her sweet boy. 3:11 Ministries paired their family with a sponsor. Except, their story wasn’t over yet. Linda’s gift of Christmas left quite an imprint on that little boy’s heart, one he didn’t soon forget.
Jake settled into his new routine; life had drastically improved for him & his family. He excelled in school and had gotten rather cozy in his new home. Jake had a plan. He wanted to earn some extra money, so his grandma offered him a chore list. He did his chores faithfully and without complaint, but that wasn’t enough for Jake- he needed more to bring his dream to fruition. At just 9 years old, Jake convinced his grandpa to teach him the trade of brick laying. Jake helped him throughout the summer while continuing with his chores at home. Soon it was Christmas time and Jake’s plan was finally all coming together.
On a cold winter morning, Jake insisted that his grandma take him to Miss Cayce’s Christmas store, but not to purchase a Christmas tree or the fine home décor that Miss Cayce’s has to offer. Jake was there for a different reason. Miss Cayce’s was hosting a sponsorship event for 311 Ministries where donors could choose a family to bless for Christmas. Sweet little Jake was on a mission!
Jake and his grandmother arrived and quickly found the sponsorship table. He told volunteers working the booth that he wanted to sponsor a little girl that was 9 years old. They sorted through hundreds of families and found one that was just right. She was 9 & she liked to color and draw, just like him! Before leaving, Jake revealed his story. He had once been a child on this list, but he was really lucky, and his circumstances had changed. He worked hard all year to earn money and wanted to bless another friend, the same way that someone had blessed him. As tears poured from the volunteers’ eyes, he quickly pulled a notecard out of his coat pocket to fan their eyes to help them stop spilling as they hugged him.
Jake left Miss Cayce’s and started shopping for the little girl. Little did he know, that little girl’s story is so very similar to his. He chose gifts for her: toys, clothing, art supplies- really considering each item he’d chosen for purchase to ensure it would be exactly what she wanted. He and his grandma arrived on collection day to deliver the little girl’s gifts. He’d even baked cookies for his new volunteer friends that were working, but he had another surprise, too. In the few weeks since he’d visited Miss Cayce’s, he’d continued to save his allowance. He knew that $20 would provide a Christmas stocking filled with necessities for yet another child in need. He’d saved exactly $20.
After Christmas, we received a sweet message from the family that Jake sponsored:
“I wanted to thank whom ever was involved in blessing my family this Christmas. Words can not explain how grateful we are. Thank you so much.”
The gifts Linda provided was the beautiful beginning of even more giving. She gave a gift far bigger than just Christmas presents- she planted the seeds of inspiration and compassion within a little boy’s heart. Linda was a part of the village that this family needed, and in turn they were the village for others.
So many children aren’t afforded the luxury of basic necessities, or the family members and neighbors that make up that “village.” That’s not the case for families in need here in west Texas. Because of you, our generous donors, 311 has been serving the needs of the underprivileged children enrolled in our community schools since 2013. Your gifts have taken us on a beautiful journey of serving thousands of children across west Texas, growing faster than we ever imagined. Today marks the beginning of a new journey for all of us- Today, March 11th, is the day that this blessed piece of ground has become our own. Today is the day that we so gratefully announce that this will be the future home of 311 Ministries, The Village.
We need your help to build it. Your gift of $75 can help make this dream a reality.
Will you join us? Will you be the village?