Category Archives: Life


Shelterwood is going to Haiti again this year and Courtney and I have been asked to be the trip leaders! We have been wanting to go to Haiti togeather for awhile. Last year Courtney couldnt come because she was planning on going on a mission trip with her church in Alabama around the same time. Then we where going to try to visit the orphanage (that shelterwood went to) in Haiti on part of our honeymoon but it just was not logistically or financially possible. Courtney and I began emailing our CEO over the last couple of weeks and yesterday he approached us and asked if we would be trip leaders for Haiti. The trip will be the last part Feburary. We are out of town this weekend for Adam hogans wedding in New Orleans. Adam hogan was one of my roommates and fellow big brother for the last year at shelterwood, and was one of my groomsmen. Now I am going to be in his wedding. Once we get back we will begin the process of fund raising. Please be praying for us and for this trip.

In other news, things at shelterwood look to be getting crazy again. Friday we will have 33 boys in the house. Now some of you may say, whoah, hold on arnt there only 32 beds in the guys house? To which I would respond, well kind of. There are 32 beds upstairs in the two halls (walnut & white oat). But there are two additional halls down stairs, hickory hall has 3 rooms being used for offices and one room (which can house 4 is open. Also elm hall has 4 rooms, three of which are occupied by the big brothers. Anyway someone made a mistake and allowed one too many “intakes” (which is what we call it when we get a new kid) and we need to figure out where to put him.

There are a lot of changes that coming to shelterwood in the next couple of days, weeks and months. Please be praying for us and for this ministry.

Love Brian


Forgot to bring my laptop to work so I will write this on my iPhone. I realized I havnt written a post in awhile and I wanted to catch y’all up. It’s almost been 2 months since I got married! There have been a lot of Adjustments and work has been challenging at time but overall things are really good. Marriage is a wonderful thing. Some of the adjustments I was referencing before are 1) this is the first time iv ever lived with only 1 person. So iv just been adjusting to having less easy access to socialize. 2) paying bills, getting Courtney on my insurance ect (all those fun grown up things). Highlights of marriage, building an awesome fort out of our 4 post bed. Having nerf sword fights (special thanks to mark g). Having thanksgiving with Courtney’s parents at our place. Getting to go to church togeather every week. And getting to hang out with my best friend everyday.

We want to move back to Colorado very badly but our friends Chris and nancy will be planting a church in north Kansas City next year and we feel led to help them.

Love you all


18 days!

Some how its 18 days till im getting married. I feel like my life is blur. For the past several months my whole life was consumed with work, and wedding planning. And now 18 days out only a few details remain. Its weird i feel like i don’t know what to do with myself. I had my first official weekend “On point” last friday-Sun. Friday was pretty calm but Saturday was pretty crazy. Two kids who have been struggling for awhile snapped and cussed out every single staff member in the lobby for literally over an hour. Some of the insults where shocking and somewhat offensive but there where times that i was trying really hard not to laugh because i was having flashbacks to the fifths grade when calling fat was a major insult. It was a rough weekend for me. I felt overwhelmed trying deal with the additional stress of being the one in charge, while constantly discovering things i didn’t know, wasn’t trained or just don’t like doing. On friday we had a new shelterwood record. Me and the Hall director had to put 9 kids on a subsystem. We run on a points based system where the kids need to earn between 10,000 and 13,000 points a day to earn privileges for the next day and continue to progress in the program. Small infractions like swearing, or doing certain things without asking permission cause a student to lose 1,500 points. But when something major like kids fighting, running away, using drugs happen they loose between 85,000 and 100,000 points. Once you loose 30,000 points or more you are on a subsystem that you have to work off before being returned to your normal daily point system. There have been weeks and entire months that have gone by with no one getting a subsystem but in one day me and the hall director put 9 kids on subsystems. We met with each kid individually, explaining what happened, what they were losing points for and agreeing on specific target goal that they could achieve to get back large chunks of points for. All this to say it took 4 hours to meet with all the kids and process their subsystems on friday, Woof. This of course set the stage for the epic rant and controlled anarchy of two students saturday.  The 4 hour subsystem meetings, the 1.5 hours of anarchy, it is amazing what stress can do your body and your mind. I think you can learn a lot about someone when you see how they handle stress. We all of course have our natural proclivities in this reguard. Some people cave, some cry, some get angry or depressed, some people lash out, others become controlling. I found that my response to stress and anxiety from the lack of control on saturday was to first, initially freak out, then become angry, then to maintain as much control was possible, (eliminating the audience, keeping the troublemaker isolated, and preparing myself to intervene if necessary) and then during various breaks in the madness retreat the bathroom to vomit.

When all was said and done the situation had been resolved, i was, concerned primarily with my visceral response of vomiting and secondarily my intense and somewhat unrealistic desire for control. I was processing with courtney the next day and realized that my personality was possibly, partially to blame. I thrive in harmony, i generally do not enjoy conflict, and would say that i go so far as to avoid conflict if possible. This kind of sucks because i work in a place where is in one way or another almost always conflict of varying degrees either between students or sometimes staff. I realized that a lot of times that i let my emotions be dictated by my surounding. If the house is calm and generally well ordered i LOVE IT, i love my job, i love my life, it is well. But then things are crazy, there is disorder, disrespect, anarchy, my life seems to fall apart. Courtney wisely pointed out that this is no way to live life and is probably actually quite sinful because i am trying to control things are ultimately in Gods hands. Yes i have a sway in these matters, and No i can’t just sit back and let things blow over but i do have a choice about how i let things affect me. With that said i realized that the only way that i could have peace in the midst of chaos was  remembering that God, NOT me was in control. It was and is very humbling. But i know that if i want to continue working at shelterwood, i HAVE to have this mindset, because it is folly to think that i can actually control these kids. “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” (1peter 4:19). This verse nailed me today, and i realized that this needs to be my mindset when things get tough. I have to entrust myself and shelterwood, and the kids that i am responsible for caring for to the Lord and continue to do good. Boom, nuff said.

Now im going to eat chick Fil-a and play tennis with my almost wife.

In Him,


First day

Today is my first day on point. Thankfully it’s being broken into two chunks 7:30am-1pm and then 9pm- 11pm but the morning shift is going to be challenging because we have to take the whole guys house off property from 830-12 for some high profile tour that is going on and so I have to bring everyone, including the kid who has already tried to run away twice, yaaay. I have been “on point” before when the hall director needed to attend to things and temporarily left me in charge. It’s different now, the on call phone is
In my pocket and all emergencies and split second desitions are mine to make. I can’t run into the office and ask what to do any more. Needless to say I’m nervous. I’m hoping the kids will be too tired an stuffed with pancakes to do anything stupid but then again it’s shelterwood and things happen both when you least expect it and always when your the least prepared to deal with the situation. Please be praying.

Also wedding planning/ finding a place to live/ planning our life after marriage has been pretty stressful lately especially for me because I still only have 48 hours off a week and I spend almost all of that time planning, researching, calling and doing 6 different kinds of busy work. Unfortunately it’s so bad that my days off are more stressful than when I’m working. All this to say… Please pray.

Love you all
Brian F

What even happened.

Before i begin this post i want to say sorry for such a long gap since my last post. I had a post written on my iphone while i was in the airport and after typing for almost an hour i accidentally deleted it and was to frustrated to write again.

So first things first. I am engaged! and have been so for a month now. i was talking to courtney about it today and was like i feel like it just happened yesterday and also feel like it  happened 6 months ago at the same time. We are getting married at the end of september in Alabama. Thankfully Courtney’s mom is very driven and talented at hosting events and  has volunteered to plan our wedding. It also helps that she is a teacher and is off for the summer.

Courtney flew out to colorado for one of our friends wedding and saturday the 16th of June i proposed. We hiked up the flatirons and i found the same rock that we had taken a pictures together on a few months before we came out for spring break. she had that pictures on the background of her phone and as her profile picture for a long time after and always talked about how much fun the hike was so i thought it was a fitting place. I had adam peterson follow us up the trail with my camera and take sneakily take pictures from afar. This was complicated by that fact that adam had never hiked this particular trail so i was attempting to text him directions while hiking up with courtney. we got to to the top and i told Courtney to go on ahead while i climbed the rocks that overlooked that place i was going to propose but couldn’t find a good spot. One of the best parts was that right before we left to start hiking courtney came out of the bathroom after changing into her hiking clothes and then saw what i was wearing (plaid shorts with a v neck, nothing fancy) and was like Brian the first rule of dating a girl is that you can never overdress your girlfriend. So she made me change. the problem was that the other less dressy shorts also didn’t have pockets! so i hiked the whole trail with the ring in a jewelry bag that was held on my hip in my compression shorts. I asked and she said yes, well actually she just started balling and yelled something that i presumed to be close enough along the lines of a yes. Anyways after we got down we had an engagement part in broomfield with couple of my friends and family and Her whole family was on skype and my mom and brother and his fiancee were on another computer on skype. We flew back to missouri that night and when we got back to shelterwood we had another party with all of the other bigs. Honestly one of the best and most exhausting days ever.

Thank you so much to all the people who helped planned and organize and coorindate. and thank you so much to grandma and every one who drove me around or let me borrow their car or stay at their house, it was really such a blessing.


For those who were not aware i was given the amazing opportunity to go on Shelterwoods  mission trip to Haiti. We left may 10th at 4am in the morning, caught a 7:10am flight to Chicago, and a few layovers later we were in Port-a-prince Haiti. As we walked from the airport to our bus we were swarmed by locals trying to earn money by carrying our bags for us. This overwhelmed one of the kids who struggles with anxiety, so when i noticed him shaking i placed my hand on his back and asked if i could pray for him while we walked. It was a 2 hour drive from the airport to our hotel which was surrounded by a 20 foot tall wall with barbed wire and armed guards, funny thing was that we only traveled 7 miles. We spend the next three days traveling to 5 different orphanages to play, and love on the orphans there. James 1:27 says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” It was really amazing to see our shelterwood kids love on and play with the orphans. But even more amazing was to see the impact that the orphans had on our shelterwood kids. One of the coolest stories for me was a kid we will call “Ben”. Ben had come to shelterwood a week before me so i have known him my whole stay here. He started off very well behaved and claimed there was no reason for him to be here, and it was hard to not agree with him. 3 months into the program he started to show his darker side. One day he blew up and cussed out one of the upper staff of shelterwood. One of the stipulations of him earning back his privileges was that he had to apologize to that staff member. He refused. After a few days later i sat him down and tried to logically walk him though what was going on.

Brian-“Do you understand that what you did was wrong?”


Brian-“You understand that when you do something wrong that you should apologize?”

Ben “yes”

Brian”therefore, you agree that you should apologize?”

Ben- “yes”

Brian “so why don’t you apologize?”

Ben “Im to prideful”

Brian”So you understand that until you apologize you wont have any privledges, and won’t have any fun”


Brian “and your OK with that?”


It took Ben over a week to conjure up even a halfhearted apology, but he did it. And 5 months later during our devotional time were talking about what we feel like Gods plan is for our lives and he is talking about how he wants to go into business and work with non profit organizations in third world countries and help them get micro finance loan programs set up so that “we can teach poor people how to fish instead of just feeding them”. He wants to establish self sustaining orphanages that don’t rely on donations. Ben was an orphan himself, and he was adopted from central america when he was two. The lack of interaction and physical touch he received in his orphanage is most likely the cause of the oppositional defiance disorder that caused him to be send to shelterwood. Because he went to shelterwood he was given this opportunity to go and love orphans like himself. Ben made my entire trip. I would have flown the entire way down and back just to have seen him play with the orphans, it was a beautiful depiction of Gods grace and redemption.

(picture to the right is of “Ben”)

Wow, I have been back from Haiti for over a week now, and honestly its taken me this whole time to get re-adjusted. This was surprising for me, i thought that since iv been on much longer and more intense trips that this one would not impact me, but i was so very mistaken. Turns out poverty and suffering never gets old, and never fails to change those who are witness to it. I struggled being back for two reasons. First of all serving in Haiti was so easy and so simple. We would wake up in the morning and pray and get on a bus and love kids all day. At shelterwood we have meetings, and incident reports and daily reports and then more meetings. Second was the kids. In Haiti, the orphans were so happy just to play with you and where so grateful for every meal. This was juxtaposed by a never ending stream of complaints and whining about “this food looks gross”, “why can’t i do this”, “You guys never let us do anything”. I about blew up a couple times. All i could think about was how hard it was to serve and love and spoiled, entitled, overfed, over privileged youth of america and how easy it was to love the orphans of Haiti. One night while venting to my girlfriend Courtney, she pointed out that the kids we work with at shelterwood are the ones that are poor. They may have all the money in the world but their souls are so poor and they need the love the Christ just as much, if not more than the orphans of Haiti. This was a great reminder and much needed change in perspective. Thank you so much to everyone who helped financially support me so i could go on this trip.

I have been at Shelterwood 9 months now and my life feels like a blur. Things are moving and changing so quickly its hard to keep up and process, or even explain how i feel because i don’t think i am even fully aware sometimes. God is really calling me to trust him fully with my future. I miss Colorado and all my friend but i know that this is where God has me for now. I can’t remember if i mentioned this any of my older posts, but i am planning on staying another year at shelterwood as an intern, with my specialty being outdoor activities. And Courtney is also staying another year as the girls house “DC” (direct care) which means she is the point person 4 nights a week.



Last week went to Alabama to meet Courtney’s parents. It was really fun but a short trip. I have a bad habit of laughing at people with southern accents. When I first met Courtney I generally had a huge grin on my face whenever she talked. Before we arrived Courtney warned her parents that I might laugh and sure enough five minuets into the car ride I was doubled over in Laughter. I met both grandparents and a few aunts and uncles. The highlight of the trip was getting to boat on lake gunnersville, I got to swing on a giant rope swing, jumped of a 40ft cliff and got to water ski and wakeboard.

Parents weekend starts this Thursday night. And then leave for Haiti on may 10. Thank you all so much for everyone who has send support letters back I have reached and exceeded my support goal. If you still want to send money it will go towards helping support other bigs who havnt reached thier goal yet.


Break was amazing. The 5 days seemed to fly by. Special thanks to my grandma for letting us stay at her place. Courtney and I left shelterwood at 11pm on the dot (which may be a ferguson first) drove through the night and got into broomfield around 8am. Another big (cody) flew in that night and we picked him up and stayed at my
Family cabin in Estes. During our trip we went jeeping, shooting, hiked the flatirons, and ate all over boulder. It was really fun but went too fast. Thank you all who met Courtney she felt very welcomed.

Thanks to everyone who has sent back support letters. I have almost achieved my support goal. If you have not sent
a letter back yet and still want to please do so I can reach my goal. Any money I raise over my goal will go to the mission trip fund which will help support
Other kids who might have a hard time raising all the support on their own.


Half way through spring break here at shelterwood, im currently on night watch and then will be driving out to Colorado tomorrow night at 11pm with my girlfriend. Then another big brother is flying out the next day to join us for the rest of our time here.

Yesterday we received a donation of ten brand new mountain bikes. Needless to say i am very excited! We have also begun the process of converting part of our 200 acres of property into a bike trail. I have spent about 10 hours surveying the land and marking the beginnings of mountain bike trail. If we are able to actually complete this trail it would be a pretty significant influence to stay another year as an intern. I have been praying that God would open doors to allow me to continue to work with troubled kids but in a more recreational/outdoors setting, and if shelterwood is interested in continuing to develop an outdoor/ recreational program to supplement  its currently very residential facility i could definitely see myself staying another year. I also have 5 months left on my contract and Lord knows a lot can change in 5 months.

Internship- So i have been mentioning this internship in a few of my blogs and i wanted to take a min to go into a little more depth of what it is. After your year contract as a “big brother” is over you have the option of applying to become a intern, which is another year long contract. Interns generally have an area of focus, like for instance our current intern Daniel S has done a lot of work setting up off property activities like getting kids memberships to a local fitness gym, and to a climbing gym, and an indoor pool. This has been great because it gives the kids another thing to be excited about so they stay motivated to keep earning points so they can have privileges to go do the fun things that daniel has set up for them. Interns fill a role between the Bigs and Hall directors and are a huge blessing to both. Because of the work Daniel has done i have gotten to take a group of 4-6 kids rock climbing every saturday for the last month and a half. It has been awesome to see the kids really get into rock climbing. It has provided a healthy outlet for some of the more edgy, adrenaline junky kids. One of the kids said to me “Man, all those years i was stealing things, doing drugs, i should have just been climbing so i wouldn’t get in trouble”. Interns are still on “coverage” 2 days a week which is what i do 5 days a week now as a big, and then i think there is one day were you are “on point” meaning you are given the HD (hall director) phone and are in charge of handling any major crisis that may occur that night. You get two days off and then have two days to work on your area of specialization. If i do decide to stay for another year my dream would be to have a fully completed mountain bike trail, teach kids how to ride and maintain their bikes. I would love to begin the process of building a rock climbing wall, and maybe even clearing/setting up an area for a paintball field. The awesome things is we have 200 acres to work with, and yes its still in missouri and its not the greatest soil, or topography for a mountain bike trail or really anything outdoors but there is still something very alluring about the prospect of being the one who gets to make these things happen. There are few things more rewarding than having a vision, working hard and having it come to fruition. Additionally i could potentially have the ability to take kids on weekend biking / hiking / camping trips which would be fun for me, therapeutic for the kids, and would help coverage at the house. I could potentially even bring kids to MOAB or Colorado every couple of months.

Yes these are still only dreams but even if i could only do half of those things it would still be a very enticing prospect.

Its now 3:20 in the morning (im on night watch) and my brain is no longer functioning, Love you all hope to see some of you soon.

Brian F


I’m currently at the kci airport waitind for a client to land. Since getting back from winter break we have gotten 10 new clients, one of them just got kicked out because he was too much to handle and was a liability. This same kid got knocked out by another student when he was being a “habitual line stepper”

In other news I am currently dating someone. Her name is Courtney Gibson and she’s been my
Best friend at shelterwood for the last six months and we just started dating about a week ago.

If you would like to recieve a support letter for my trip to Haiti please send me your address via text, FB message, or carrier pigeon which ever strikes your fancy. I will try to post again soon.

Love you all,
Brian F