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If you feel 2021’s been the same kind of year 2020 was, you’re not alone. I’m right there with you. It’s almost like 2020 liked what it was doing so much it took a victory lap. But since we’ve just entered the fourth quarter of the year, let me encourage you to finish 2021 well and strong, professionally, personally and spiritually.

The Apostle Paul said something similar as he was entering the fourth quarter of his ministry. Listen to how he said it in 2 Timothy 4:7: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

So keeping the football metaphor of the fourth quarter, I urge you to get to your end-of-year goal line – finish your annual race well – all while keeping the faith

Also, please pray for Buckner as we enter the fourth quarter of the year. It is the time when Buckner typically receives more than 35% of our financial contributions that go to help support children, family and senior adults.  

At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, I want to encourage you to refer your friends and professional contacts to come work with us at Buckner. 

If you’ve been watching the news this year, it’s no surprise that we are experiencing a national shortage of workers. Buckner is not immune to this trend, either. So if you have contacts who you feel are the right fit for our Buckner culture and can contribute to this ministry, send them to buckner.org/careers. If you like us, then chances are they will, too. 

Also, let me share with you where we are at Buckner in responding to COVID-19. 

Our numbers of positive cases and persons under investigation have continued to shrink the last few weeks. A good sign that our internal safety measures are having good effect. With that said, we are also encouraging all our staff to be vaccinated. 

Please, if you have not yet received your COVID-19 vaccination, please do so for your family, your community and yourself. 

Because more and more people are choosing vaccination and practicing other safety measures, we’ve chosen to make a few events open to volunteers and supporters this fall. 

This month, we’re holding golf tournaments in Beaumont and Dallas and in November, we’re moving forward with plans to hold our annual Celebrate Hope dinner and auction in Longview. 

We also just held a special event for supporters: Our first-ever President’s Weekend. I was inspired by many of our generous donors and their stories of why they choose to support children and families.  

I was also inspired by several stories of success during the weekend, including Jasmin Herrera’s. Jasmin was the first person in her family to go to college, attending Texas Tech University. But she found herself pregnant and had to drop out school.

But she learned about the Buckner Family Pathways program and moved into Pathways with her daughter. Because of the support she received at Pathways, she finished her degree, and now works for Buckner in West Texas as a volunteer recruiter. 

That’s the kind of difference you can make, ensuring families like Jasmin’s have what they need to thrive.
 
And speaking of celebrations, next month we’re celebrating 50 years of Buckner service in the Rio Grande Valley. 

What started as a collaboration with First Baptist Church in Brownsville to operate a foster group home there in 1971 has grown into an array of services that have resulted in deep-impacting change for children and families, including foster care and adoption, the Buckner Family Hope Center at Peñitas, the Buckner Family and Youth Success program, and Buckner National Missions and Humanitarian Aid. 

I’m so proud of our work in the Rio Grande Valley and inspired by your support of these ministries over the past 50 years.  

To give you an idea of how we change lives in the Valley, I want to end my report by sharing a video featuring Maria Pena’s story. 

Maria is a widow in Peñitas, Texas, who bakes pastries and other foods for her catering service. She learned to start her business through the Buckner Family Hope Center’s “Business Incubator,” an entrepreneurial program that empowers client families by teaching them how to start and manage their own businesses. 

And, through a collaboration between Buckner Missions and Cottonwood Creek Church in Allen, Texas, and other supporters, she’s receiving a new three-bedroom home on her lot in Peñitas. 

So please enjoy this video. I guarantee it will inspire you and – if you’re like me – will give you a real craving for empanadas!

Watch President Albert Reyes' update about Buckner International ministries.

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