No, our baby Hope is not lost… and we are praying that the challenges being faced right now will lead us not to despair and lose hope in God’s promises but will indeed produce the perseverance, character and ultimate hope in God’s sovereign love and plan for this family and ministry…
Here’s our update on family life and ministry. We are thankful for your love and partnership in this adventure as we continue to journey on… further up… further in…
In this newsletter… a quick recap if you read nothing else.
Seven Iverson kids ranging from 11th grade down to Kindergarten started school. Check out first day of school pics for each of our precious offspring and learn a bit more about their exciting lives. It’s sort of surreal sometimes as they load up each morning in DJ’s seven seater car and drive away… our babies are growing up.
Kimberly launches her new coaching business… Yes, this mom of nine has continued to have impact on so many women in her one-on-one holistic life coaching that we went ahead and made it official. With inflation and growing family expenses, we also needed another income stream to help ends meet. Kimberly’s passion to come alongside women to help them move towards their goals is a career path that also allows for a work life balance amidst the busyness of keeping our very active household functioning.. Learn more at www.renewalcoaching.org. Sign up for a session or support her scholarship fund that allows her to offer this service at a reduced cost for those in our community.
Summer Program Recap! Our summer program grew from 50 kids last year to 140 this past summer… serving youth on both the Westside and Eastside of Atlanta with 8 weeks of fun and gospel centered programming. Learn more about what God did this summer. We are so grateful for his provision and the powerful work of His Spirit in the lives of this next generation.
Ministry Challenges… If there were not any, we would be questioning our threat level to the kingdom of darkness… Yes, these challenges are very real and we covet your prayers. We need to know we are not alone in these battles being faced each day… from one of our locations getting shut down, delayed grants, vehicle problems and just overall spiritual attack against our team… the war is real… the battles to keep our head, trust God’s plan, and not give up are daily… the faith and longing for Jesus to show his healing and restorative power is all we are holding onto. Join us in this fight.
Enjoy! We pray this report will encourage and challenge you on your journey as well.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Seven kids in school?
We love Providence Christian Academy and are so grateful for scholarships, Georgia Goal funds, and the gifts of so many that have been a source of provision so that our kids can all be at one school and we can streamline our lives and invest in one learning community. Even at a Christian school we have a found a great mission field and God has opened up many opportunities for friendships and discipleship. God has been so good, and yet again we have another school year ahead of us promising lots of learning and growth as Christ conforms us all more to His image.
DJ is in 11th grade and loves people. His friends are his life. He started a power washing business this summer. He runs cross country/track, plays bball, plays drums and composes on piano. He finally started growing and is taller than his mom now. He is DRIVING! and we love having another driver to share the load.
Trinity is in 10th grade and keeps her life quite full. She’s taking AP classes already and works hard at school. She runs cross country and does musicals and sings in the school worship band. She’s also a piano player and song writer and has her first single coming out November 3rd. She just got her drivers permit… Lord have mercy.
Katy-Grace is in 8th grade. She is so full of life and loves her friends. She is smart and works hard at school. She plays volleyball, does musicals, and loves to read when she’s not hanging with friends. She has a heart of compassion and justice and is a good thinker. She loves to sing and is learning bass guitar.
Benjamin is in 6th grade. He loves his friends and is a social butterfly. He’s super focused on football, basketball, and working out. He’s a smart kid and does well in school, especially when he applies himself. He plays piano and makes beats and has become quite good at technology. He started a business this summer selling bottled water on our street corner.
Malachi is in 4th grade. He’s made leaps and bounds in overcoming a learning disability and we are so proud of his progress. He has a tender heart and loves people well. He lives and breathes baseball and is playing second base and catcher on a travel team all year around. He loves animals and tends to our two goats. (Yes, we have goats)
Judah is in 2nd grade. He climbs everything and has endless energy. So full of life and joy. He loves figuring stuff out and is a natural problem solver. He too is fighting some learning challenges but works so hard to overcome and we see his faith growing as he learns to trust the LORD with the challenges. He’s a great big brother and son.
Gwennalyn is in kindergarten and is excited as can be to be in school. She loves her class and teacher and is absorbing everything she is learning. She made it a goal to become friends with everyone in her class, which speaks to her personality of loving people and building realtionships. She is such a joy and has a tender heart, especially for her baby sister.
Joel is going to a preschool in the morning three days a week. He has such a sharp mind and memorizes catechism and bible verses very quickly. He loves learning and LOVES talking. He has something to say about everything. He’s a great big brother to his little sister and loves playing make believe with her and keeping her busy with her toys. Such a joy to this family.
Hope Shalom has been such a joy and blessing to this family. Everyone loves her and her smile is contagious. Even the worst day loses its sting when she smiles and her eyes light up with not a worry in the world. Her simple trust in her parents to love her, provide for her and protect her is a good reminder of how we need to go to our Father in Heaven each day. She just started cutting her teeth and so her sleep schedule has been off, much to the dismay of her mother, but we know it will correct… we’ve been here before.
Our daughter Trinity (artist name TRNTY) released her new single on Nov. 3rd on all music platforms. It’s called “Here I Lay”. It’s a thoughtful song pointing us to find our true identity in “the one and only King.” There’s a full band version and an acoustic/cello version that we think is beautiful. Make sure to check it out, like and share. We are so proud of her. She’s performing live at her school tonight around 7 pm, Nov. 3rd. Danny will stream live on his facebook page if you want to watch it.
Kimberly’s New Coaching Business
Kimberly is excited to be stepping into a morphing of calling and career. Drawing from years of counseling and coaching organically, as well as the training she has received as a church planter, Kimberly has launched her life coaching business. She is thrilled to be working alongside individuals to create the space for the Lord to bring clarity and direction to life callings, ministry endeavors, business launches and relationship dynamics. She is currently taking a handful of clients as her time permits amidst the fullness of her first calling as wife and mother. Please check out the link, sign up for her monthly email, or book a session. All full price sessions help enable her to offer discounted rates for those from Restore Life who are unable to afford the full price.
A Summer to Remember
We have been doing inner city ministry now for nearly 20 years (Newark NJ, and ATL), and summer camp has been a powerful way to help youth connect with God and His creation while having a safe place to have fun and be well fed. We started with our first 8 kids from ATL in 2015 and have seen the summer program grow each year. This past summer we had 100 youth signed up from West and East Atlanta, but ended up serving 140 youth for 8 weeks straight! Our biggest summer yet.
Our Work Hard - Play Hard apprentice program provided our older teens with paying jobs, and our partnerships with Camp Highland, Camp Grace, and God’s Farm, allowed us to take kids out of the city for dynamic, fun, and gospel rich times. As always, we did our Studio Grind camp that equips youth with audio engineering and production skills. Over 30 kids committed their lives to the LORD for the first time, and so many more had great renewal in their faith as they dug into God’s word and were discipled by our great team of local mentors as well as the counselors at the various camps.
Special shout out to Choate Construction who gave us a matching grant to make this possible. We are blown away by the level of generosity from so many of you who gave to match this grant and help us raise the $100k needed for this full scale summer camp to succeed. As we gear up for next summer, please pray for us and keep this on your radar as we expect it to grow again. The word is out and our Operation Safe Summer is the camp to be at!
Grace Shalom House Church
We have loved being a part of Grace Shalom and hosting House Church many Sundays in our home. It’s an organic low overhead way to “do” Church and we love it. It’s been encouraging seeing new elders being raised up and sent out and the flow of kids and adults connected to the various ministries is a blessing. We love this expression of the body of Christ and praise God for this covenant community sharing life on mission together. Danny preaches each Sunday. Feel free to tune in on zoom or facebook.
An encouraging story
In the midst of the challenges, God always shows up! Here’s a recent story of a life being changed.
We went to a worship and prayer gathering in Piedmont Park called Freedom March. While a person on stage was sharing their testimony with the crowd. a homeless man standing next to Kimberly was saying out loud how he didn’t believe anything being shared and that it was all a bunch of BS. Kimberly asked him why he thought that and he shared that God never answered his prayers and that he was homeless and hopeless. Benjamin came and got Danny who began sharing with the man. He was a kind person and quite intelligent, and as the conversation went deeper and deeper Danny invited the man to pray. Him and Benjamin prayed with him and before we left the park we exchanged numbers and he said he wanted to come to house church. The next day he showed up and after the sermon and baptisms, gave his life to the Lord and asked to be baptized as well in the upcoming weeks. The difference in his countenance is quite noticeable since Sunday, and since then He has been provided a place to stay and some temporary work as he looks for a stable job. God always shows out as we as his people show up and are available to be vessels of His mercy and grace to this longing world.
Below is a recently released music video from Frontier Music, a music collective that is a part of Restore Life’s ministry. This song was recorded by our studio. It has really been speaking to us in this season and is anointed and up lifting. Please enjoy and share!
If there wasn’t any opposition to this work I would wonder if it was actually effective. But the opposition comes in all forms and we face these challenges with courageous hope and resilience for the sake of Jesus… Our suffering is so small compared to His sacrifice for us, and the trials so many face around the world are so much harder than ours…. but these are still challenges we want to bring before you, our friends and family, who faithfully pray and support the work we have been called to as a family.
Eastside Studio program shut down by Dekalb code enforcement. As we have shared before, a local extended stay hotel gave us space for free to run an after school program for the kids living in the hotel. We entered into an agreement with them and the program grew to nearly 40 kids this summer. A code enforcer for the county came and told the hotel they could not have another business operating within their business as it’s against code, and asked us to cease our program. While it is discouraging to lose that outpost, we are praying for other spaces at nearby churches and community centers. Please pray for us and if the LORD leads, please help support this program. We need to raise funds for renovating and renting a new space for the year ($20k) and we also need another vehicle for this program. Visit safehaven.restorelife.net to learn more.
Funding challenges. Over the last 2 years Restore Life has nearly doubled in size and opened another location on the East side of ATL. (We’ve been on the West side since 2016). Our model of community development that empowers grass roots leaders is proving effective, especially our youth programs led by local leaders and mentors. We received two significant grants that allowed for us to grow in 2021 and 2022, and also hire the support staff needed. Sustaining this growth is our new challenge. Danny has been working hard with our development person to try and secure funding for all the expanding programs through grants, sponsorships and donations from those in our network. It’s an endless and often thankless task with many rejection letters and lots of discouragement. We see the needs of those we serve close up and see the effectiveness of our ministry model, but yet securing the funding needed to sustain our growth is falling short. As we grow and scale as an organization we need new connections to funding sources, sponsorships, foundations or networks. Please pray for us, and for God to provide as we grow and trust him with the cash flow more than in our own hustle. Pray for encouragement and perseverance for Danny as he leads these funding efforts alongside his partner and co-executive director St. Claire.
We are so grateful for our faithful supporters who empower us to be able to serve full-time in this ministry. Our growing family is a lot to sustain and we couldn’t do this without you all. Our support account lost a few supporters this year and we are about $14,000 in the red. We are praying that we can finish up 2022 strong and can add some new monthly mission backers or one time givers to help us continue to serve in this capacity. Give Here
Partnership with Fulton County
We are grateful once again for our partnership with our city to reach our youth! Thank you Fulton County for the Arts Grant! Every little bit helps to make this possible! Over 180 Youth have been served from the community and so many songs and videos have been produced. We also added coding this year and video game creation. It's exciting to see the Bankhead Renaissance take off.