"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'" Matthew 25:40
A Florida pastor and his wife are hoping to adopt a homeless family's two young boys who were found dirty, naked and nestled in between trash bags, believing that God placed the children in their lives for a purpose.
According to a Fox13 News report, Mark Purcell an employee of Pasco County's Metropolitan Ministries, first found the brothers, only 7-months old and 2-years old, outside the shelter in Pasco County, Florida.
"There were actually four or five bags here. A child in a car seat was on top of a bag. The other child was sitting here with his feet, cold. They were only in diapers, no clothes," he described.
Metropolitan Ministries learned the family was homeless and living in a tent in the woods. Pastor Ronnie Stewart and his wife Krystal of Refuge Church, who regularly partner with the Ministry to feed the homeless, said the family would often eat at the church's soup kitchen.
"The family, along with another man, camped out under the awning of the church all day. It was evident at that time that the children were in need, and I knew we were placed in this community to meet needs," recalled Krystal.
One particularly cold night in November, Krystal asked her husband if they could take the children home to clean them up and warm them from the cold.
She asked: "Since the parents are high and refuse to go to a shelter, should we just ask them if they want us to take the babies home for a warm bath & bed for the night?"
The parents of the little boys quickly said "yes," and the pastor and his wife, who have three children of their own, bundled up the children and took them home for the night.
"Within 5 minutes of driving down the road, the rain began to fall and I couldn't help but stare in my rear view mirror amazed and overwhelmed that God provided a refuge for these boys, and chose to use my home to do so," Krystal wrote.
The condition of the little boys was heartbreaking: "They were covered in bug bites, head to toe. They were so filthy, that we actually had to bathe, and drain, and bathe again, two different times. The toddler who did have shoes on didn't have any socks on. When we took his shoes off, the little skin on the top of his feet actually came off," Krystal said.
After returning the children to their parents Saturday, the Stewarts prayed as a family that God would protect the boys and always provide a shelter for them. However, they never could have imagined the way God would answer their prayers.
"As we were leaving church Sunday morning, we were approached by the family with their social worker in the parking lot," Krystal said. "They told us that after investigating, the social worker determined the boys would be immediately removed from the parents."
The parents asked the pastor and his wife if they would temporarily shelter the children to avoid foster care and needed an immediate answer.
"That was 5 months ago, and what was so unplanned & unexpected has turned into a beautiful blessing for our family," Krystal said.
Since then, the boy's' parents have signed over custody to the Stewarts, and now, the couple is working to permanently adopt the boys as their own.
The Stewarts are now working to raise the $10,000 needed to complete the adoption process in the next 45 days. So far, the couple has raised $11,455. For more information, visit GoFundMe.com/stewartadoption.
"We are absolutely positive that God has placed them in our lives for a purpose and to love them as our own," said Krystal. "Our prayer is that our story inspires others to also take generous leaps of faith when your moment arises."