MOPS/MOMSnext Fundraiser Photo Sessions (by Josh & Kelley)

Over the course of November and early December, Josh and I (Kelley) had the opportunity to work with two awesome and inspiring groups at Desert Springs Bible Church (DSBC) here in Phoenix. When Sherri and Nicole, the coordinators of DSBC’s MOPS and MOMSnext groups, approached us about doing a photo fundraiser for their programs, we were on board right away!

So many of our friends have benefited from the awesome work MOPS/MOMSnext does, and we’ve always appreciated their mission. So, we got to work setting up family photo sessions that would benefit these programs. In the end, we not only got to help support these programs, but we also had the pleasure of meeting and working with 12 awesome families that signed up!

What are these programs? Great question, and who better to answer that question than Sherri and Nicole, the woman behind MOPS and MOMSnext at DSBC.

K: Hello ladies, can you please take a second to introduce yourselves?

Sherri: Hi, my name is Sherri Wouters. I am currently the Coordinator of MOPS. I have 3 kids, ages 5, 3. and 1. This is my 6th year in MOPS at Desert Springs!

Nicole: Hi, I’m Nicole Durr, Coordinator for MOMSnext. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Bob, and we will be celebrating our 13th anniversary this year.  We have two children, Ryan (9) and Mackenzie (8).  I have worked for The Hendrickson Law Firm for the past 15 years as a paralegal, and my husband and I own our own central vacuum system company, Vactrax. 

K: Wow, it sounds like you are some busy ladies! I know both of you are involved in either MOPS or MOMSnext, what exactly are these programs?

Sherri: MOPS is Mother’s of Preschoolers, or mothers of children. We serve families with children who are infant – kindergarten aged. MOPS is more than just a mom’s group, it’s here to encourage women in this stage of their life. We welcome all women, and we provide mentoring, leadership development, honest conversation, relevant teachings, creative activities, and, of course, childcare (for that much needed break for moms). With a Christ centered focus, we are here to bless and encourage moms! 

Nicole: MOMSnext is very similar, except we serve moms with school-aged kids. 

K: I know you both put quite a bit of your time and energy into MOPS/MOMSnext. Why are these programs so important?

Sherri: Unfortunately, after many women have children, they start to feel like they don’t have a support system. Many of them don’t know other moms, and they feel like no one understands what they’re going through.

These programs are here to encourage moms and offer that support system! Just last week, a mom sent an e-mail inquiring about our MOPS group. I called the mom that day to extend the invitation to our group. The mom explained that she and her family had moved here 3 years ago, and she still doesn’t know anyone! She is at home with a 2 year old and a 2 week old, and some of her struggles are the exact same struggles that almost every mother faces. It was such a blessing to her to have someone reach out, invite her, and then be able to take part in our meeting! She’s now loving being connected to our group of moms!

Nicole: It’s true, these programs are both so important! We want to help moms know they are not alone, by coming alongside and supporting each other.  Life with kids is a crazy adventure, and we want to embrace the beautiful mess while relying on the message of Christ.

K: How did you first get involved in MOPS/MOMSnext?

Nicole: I was invited to MOPS in 2009 by a friend.

Sherri: I got involved in MOPS after I had my first child. None of my friends had kids yet, and I suddenly found myself searching to find others who were in the same boat as me. I noticed a blurb on MOPS in the church bulletin one day, and I attended my first meeting soon after. I’m now in my 6th year with MOPS. It has encouraged me as a mom, as a wife, and as a woman!

K. So you joined up a few years back… What made you decide to become involved in MOPS/MOMSnext leadership?

Nicole: I joined the leadership team in 2010 because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to make sure the moms that came to MOPS/MOMSnext knew they were cared for. I also wanted to be a part of something that would help my relationship with Christ grow deeper.  

Sherri: After being in MOPS for 3 years, and being strengthened and encouraged by my leaders, the MOPS coordinator asked if I would like to be a leader. I knew right away that this was my chance to start giving back to these moms, the same way they had given to me in my first few years in MOPS.

K: It sounds like you two really have a heart for serving these women! What kinds of things do you ladies do at your MOPS/MOMSnext meetings?

Sherri: Our MOPS meetings always start with a full breakfast! As mothers of little ones, we don’t often get to sit and just enjoy a meal, so this is something that’s really wonderful for us. After we eat, our meetings differ. We may have a speaker, a craft, or maybe even a game. No matter what, we always make time to break into our smaller groups and have discussion and time for prayer!

Nicole: Our MOMSnext meetings are pretty similar. At our meetings, we share a meal, talk about what’s going on in our lives, and have a chance to hear from speakers whose words inspire us, teach us, and make us want to be better. 

K. How have you seen MOPS/MOMSnext impact the lives of the women in these groups?

Nicole: There are so many stories/lives impacted by the MOPS/MOMSnext ministries. I love to watch a new mom come in alone, and then find her laughing and planning playdates by the end of the meeting. True friendships are formed in these groups!

Sherri: I don’t have one specific event or story, but I do know that every year we have at least one (if not more) woman come in feeling the typical kind of craziness that mothers experience. Over the course of our meetings, you can see more and more contentment flow over these women each time we meet. In fact, they get upset if they have to miss a meeting! Women in our groups are really connecting with the other mothers and being filled up so they can be the best mother/wife/woman they can be!

K. It sounds like the MOPS/MOMSnext groups at DSBC are doing amazing things! Thank you so much for letting Radiant Photography, and Josh and I, have the opportunity to help you guys in your mission to empower and uplift these awesome women!

And a HUGE thank you to everyone that supported DSBC MOPS and MOMSnext by signing up for these photo sessions. Josh and I had a blast meeting and working with all of you, and I know the MOPS and MOMSnext groups appreciate what you’ve done to help!

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