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Exciting Things in Store for 2017!

2017 is bringing much to be excited about for Forge. Over the past six months, I have been praying, talking with our leaders, and meeting with our Advisory Board about how to best serve this region. God is orchestrating something pretty amazing that I’d like to share with you.

Have you ever been at a place in your life where you are unsure what the next 30 days will bring? Ever felt like you are trying all you can to hear God and things still don't *seem* to work out? We’ve been there more than once over the past couple of years.

One afternoon, through a memorable conversation with a longtime friend, something began to take shape. Something clicked. Clarity for the future seemed to tiptoe into the picture.

In March of 2016, I enrolled at Brandman University and began classes full time here in the Sacramento area, a M.A. in Psychology, pursuing licensure to become a therapist. The 66 unit Master's program moves swiftly as I will be done with classes this August (2017).

As part of the required 3,000 clinical hours of therapy, I have recently begun working with an amazing nonprofit counseling agency in the area called Wellness Together. Their mission is to provide access to quality mental health services to every student in California, and beyond. Through partnerships with school districts, licensed therapists and therapist interns are on school campuses (K-12) helping meet the needs of students.

Recently, I was on the phone with one of our Forge financial partners sharing this story. At one point he said, “When you decided to head down this path, did you feel like something ‘clicked’ in your spirit?”

That’s exactly what it felt like.
However…

My question over the last few months has been, “God, how do you want Forge to make an impact in this area?” And the answer has been around me for almost 3 years.

(Now is the part of the story where slow motion montage music begins to play.)

The way forward has come in the form of a couple who started with the Forge Sacramento missionary training residency in 2014- Joe and Sarah Caples. Joe, for over ten years now, is a Sacramento cop. Sarah is a gifted event planner. By day, Joe and Sarah are raising 3 joyful and rambunctious boys in downtown Sacramento. By night, they are extravagantly loving their neighbors. After their time in the training residency, the next year Joe and Sarah served as resident coaches. And this past year, they were on the Forge leadership team helping with events, curriculum, and overall strategy. Oh, and by the way, they also found time to publish a book together that I HIGHLY recommend you check out- “Bless Like Jesus: Stop Trying to Convert and Simply Show People They Matter”.

Bottom line, Joe and Sarah are the real deal. And by real deal, I mean that they live out the 4 1/2 words that guide us- “You’ve already been sent.”

And as of this month, I am excited to share that Joe and Sarah Caples are the new Forge Sacramento directors. Through much prayer and many long walks over the past 3 months, Lindsay and I have gone through the process with the board to hand over the keys to the Caples to lead Forge in the years ahead. And we couldn’t be happier with what God has done!

Forge’s mission and vision are unchanged- Training men and women to live as missionaries in their neighborhoods. Only the people in the front waving this banner have changed. Much of our leadership team and board is also unchanged. Joe and Sarah are effective leaders, quality communicators, and they have some exciting things in store for 2017. You would be wise to stay tuned to see what they have in store for Forge.

Am I a bit sad? Yes.
Am I really excited for what lies ahead? HECK YES.

But most of all, I am grateful. Grateful for your support over the years, both financially and in prayer. I’m grateful that you believe in the work that God is doing through Forge. I’m grateful to have begun something 4 years ago that will now be in highly gifted and skilled hands. I’m grateful for your time in reading this long blog post. I’m grateful for the God that is already at work before we arrive.

So, dear brother or sister, my charge for you is to continue to join with God in repairing the world through the life that Jesus offers all of us. Join with the God that is never absent and always pursuing us. Join with him and pray for the shalom of the city to which you have already been sent.

Many thanks from the Aja’s and much love from Forge Sacramento,

Jeremiah Aja
Founder, Forge Sacramento