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Room 29:11 Cares For Foster Families in Morrilton

Sirinia Robinett said she has never seen a path so clear. Coming from a Baptist background, she knew right away that the Methodist church was how family oriented church was so to be.

"I used to be sad about the church, not really sure where I belonged, but God put me in the church, the Methodist church, and now it is clear," Robinett said. "I consider myself Methodist now — this where we need to be.

"If there was a need, they were pretty much aware of it, and the church was immediately on it," she said. "The congregation loves helping out those needs."

Robinett is a member of Morrilton First United Methodist Church and is the founder of the Room 29:11 ministry, which provides supplies for foster care guardians.

"It turned into something we couldn't have imagined, and we took the concept and ran with it," Robinett said. "One of my coworkers found herself in a difficult situation with her daughter and was going through some rough times with drug addiction, and her granddaughter ended up in foster care.

Sirina Robinett, middle, receiving a Walmart committee grant for Room 29:11. Robinett was presented the check by Dalton Grimes (left), her son-in-law, and her grandson (right), Hunter Grimes. || Photo provided by Sirina Robinett.

"The steps to go through guardianship are almost impossible to do by yourself, and she didn't have a lot of extra resources," Robinett said. "Within a few days, they are up for adoption, and you may or may not see your grandchildren again.

"She would have been up for adoption if she had stayed in foster care. The family is united differently now because she has been with grandma."

Using an old storage house on the church property and with help from the community, the "promise house" was ready and the first participants were several families who were foster parents or hoping to adopt.

Pearce said the house was somewhat modeled after the Joesph's House of Russellville, which she said has been helpful in getting the Room 29:11 ministry going.

"We serve DHS as well as the families as a children's closet and to give children a more home-like environment," Robinett said. "When children are taken out of their homes, they usually have to sit in the DHS office, while they are making phone calls and finding a placement — it is a horrible, traumatic experience.

"We are not okay with kids sleeping on the floor or the couch. This house will provide clothing and other amenities such as bedrooms for children to go to sleep in the most home-like environment we can provide them."

She said the house also acts as a host to visitations.

"Before, when parents had visitation, one of the places it would happen is in the adult Sunday School class, but this house will offer another place for supervised visits and offer a little more space," Pearce said. "The goal is to reunite the children with their families in a natural, home-like environment."

"I just love it when we all come together."

excerpt from an article by Sam Pierce, featured contributor, Arkansas UM magazine

This story represents how United Methodist local churches through their Annual Conferences are living as Vital Congregations. A vital congregation is the body of Christ making and engaging disciples for the transformation of the world. Vital congregations are shaped by and witnessed through four focus areas: calling and shaping principled Christian leaders; creating and sustaining new places for new people; ministries with poor people and communities; and abundant health for all.

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