It’s interview day on Transparency Blog! And I’m so excited because I have one of my greatest friends on the blog! Nicolette Moinet is the founder and executive director of the Dean Thomas Moinet Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that you will learn about as you keep reading the post!
1. Tell me about the Dean Thomas Moinet Foundation and how it got started.
The Dean Thomas Moinet Foundation is an organization that provides churches with relief programs to serve families in crisis inside the hospital. In doing this, it is our prayer that families will feel supported in their faith while seeking treatment for their child. The organization began in 2013 and we have been serving families in crisis for almost 5 years now. We have served over 2,000 families at two local hospitals in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina.
I began this organization because I met a little girl named Megan Dean in 2010 who had a rare genetic disorder and was being treated at Duke Children’s Hospital. Her family had traveled here from out of state to receive specialized treatment for her and subsequently had to leave their family and friends behind.
After walking with her family through treatment for over year, I really saw a need for more support for the families of critically-ill children. There was especially a deficit when it came to spiritual support, which broke my heart.
Megan passed away at 19 months and I knew I had to help families like hers in whatever way I could. Over the following years, I came to learn more about the lack of relationship between the local church and local hospitals and decided that our organization needed to do something to bridge that gap.
2. What types of services do you provide and what do you hope to accomplish with your organization?
The DTM Foundation offers meal support, emotional support, and spiritual resources to families in crisis in the hospitals through our relief programs:
- Our Comfort Cooks Program brings a three-course home-cooked meal into the hospital, offering emotional support and prayer to the families as well.
- Our Youth Charge Program empowers youth to serve families in crisis through cooking meals, starting and sustaining a food pantry, community awareness, and leadership opportunities.
- Our Kidz4Kidz Campaign gives children ages 12 and under the opportunity to create cards and crafts around ten different holidays out of the year that are delivered to the children in the hospitals.
By offering this holistic support to families in crisis and meeting their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs, they will be able to better cope with the difficulty of having a sick child.
We want them to know that they are not alone in their circumstance and that their community truly cares for them. With church groups offering dependable, genuine, and holistic care to families in crisis, we hope the hospital will develop a relationship with the local church. When the local church has an avenue to help people who are hurting in the community, it opens an opportunity for those people to get the care they need.
3. Why the focus on the Church? Why are you so passionate about connecting the Church with families in crisis inside the hospital?
We believe that the Church can bring healing to families in crisis. When you are volunteering from a space of serving the Lord and wanting to be the hands and feet of Jesus, there is an extraordinary amount of love and care behind that service. Our volunteers truly love others deeply (1 Peter 4:8) and that is what life is all about.
We are so passionate about connecting volunteers from the Church to families in need in the hospital because we know that this kind of love brings healing. We want the Church to do what the Church does best which is care for its community. Before DTM was created, the church had no ability to care for families in crisis in the hospitals.
For church members to not have the opportunity to serve families in crisis in the hospitals because there is no connection between the church and the hospital is such a shame, and a huge missed opportunity. The Church is full of people wanting to volunteer and the hospital is full of people in need of support. We’re connecting the two and bringing glory to God along the journey.
4. What are some of the challenges you’ve had to face as it relates to being called into ministry? How have you handled the negative criticism or lack of support?
Whew! There are many! The uncertainty of ministry can be quite difficult as well as the burden of the cause. There is always such an urgency in my heart to make a difference now and God has really had to teach me patience and about His perfect timing. God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called so having to learn many new skills to be able to fill my Executive Director role is something that challenges me every day.God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. Click To Tweet
Also, the loneliness that leadership brings can be a struggle. So often when you are walking a path that is unknown others are fearful to walk it with you. Sometimes family or friends will try to deter you from taking such a risk. I’ve been called “crazy” too many times to count, but loving others in times of crisis is what life is all about. I couldn’t see an injustice and just walk away.
Life is too short and too important to not spend it serving those in need around us. It was never an option to quit, although often the thought has crossed my mind because of the difficulty ministry presents. I’ve said before that starting a nonprofit is like climbing Mt. Everest— you’re going to want to quit and at times you may feel like you can’t breathe, but remember how far you’ve come instead of focusing on how far you still have to go.Remember how far you’ve come instead of focusing on how far you still have to go. Click To Tweet
Also being a young woman in a leadership position poses certain hurdles as well. There have been times when people don’t take me seriously or they think that they have more knowledge than me because I started this organization when I was 25.
It’s really easy to have an opinion when you aren’t the one sacrificing anything, so I learned not take it to heart unless it was coming from a fellow ministry leader. Those are the folks who are in the “ring” fighting the injustices of the world with you so their advice (even if it’s hard to hear) is coming from a genuine place of understanding.
There is one thing that always helps me to persevere in times of struggle or self-doubt. My mentor used to tell me, “You can teach new skills to someone, but you can’t teach passion, the tenacity, and drive God gave you towards fulfilling the calling on your life. It’s something that doesn’t waver.” Tenacity over talent is my motto because you can’t teach tenacity.
5. You’ve mentioned that God doesn’t always give you the full picture when it comes to walking in His plans, and He sometimes waits to reveal it over time. Can you explain this concept – what it means and how you’ve dealt with it?
I have a joke with the people closest to me that the minute I start feeling comfortable in my position as an Executive Director, God will do something to switch everything up. You see, to have a job that requires such extraordinary faith on a daily basis means God needs to keep me on my toes.
When I start to get comfortable is when I stop relying on Him. So whether He keeps me on my toes in regards to having to learn a new skill, begin a new program, or He changes up something in my personal life, it’s always to keep me closer to Him. When I’m unsure of what I am doing, I am relying on His strength, His discernment, and His guidance to make my decisions that day.
God only gives me part of the picture so that my reliance is always on Him and not on myself. It drives me CRAZY sometimes because I just want to know a little more about what is around the corner, but I know His ways are perfect. By Him teaching me in this way, He has crafted me into a much better leader.God only gives us part of the picture so that our reliance is always on Him and not on ourselves. Click To Tweet
Staying close to God in this way is the only way to walk through ministry ensuring your eyes are focused on Him. As humans, we often turn back to ourselves for the answers but God needs to break that about us to craft us into His ministry partners.
When God is holding most of the cards
and you only have one card in view,
you have to pray and have faith that
He has a hand that will work for your best interest.
I will probably never have the full picture or understand the full scope of what He has called me to do, but I’ve been able to stay close to Him while doing this work because that’s right where He wants me. I’m constantly turning to Him for discernment and strength. This closeness gives me the kind of spiritual restoration I need to fulfill this position.
6. What advice or piece of encouragement do you have for people who may feel called into ministry or want to start an organization?
Ask God for clear confirmation before you move forward. Having a clear moment in your mind of when God told you that this was the right path to take will give you the unwavering certainty that you made the right choice down the road when things begin to get tough. There is no room for self-doubt about your choice to go into ministry.
Once you have that confirmation, go after what He has called you to do with everything you have and find at least one person to be your encourager along the way. Also, don’t talk to too many people about this big choice when you are taking the first few steps.
You need to stay firm in your path and sometimes other people’s opinions can get in the way of destiny. You don’t want to give anyone the opportunity to discourage you, because in truth, anyone who takes those first few steps are nothing less than extraordinarily brave.
When it get’s tough, which it will because it’s ministry and the devil will try to deter you, just remember that God is walking in that struggle with you. He sees you and He will bless your efforts. We are all so much more capable than we realize.
Sometimes we don’t even realize half of our potential until we are up against the wall and forced to rise to the occasion. So if you are going for it, be all in, and get ready to be blown away by how amazing you truly are when you walk in purpose.
7. How can my readers stay connected with you or get involved with DTM?
Follow us on social media @dtmfoundation (Facebook | Instagram) and learn more about volunteer opportunities or donating to the cause at dtmfoundation.org. We offer volunteer opportunities for all ages so parents and their kids can get involved! We hope you’ll join us in bringing love to families in crisis in the hospitals! #LoveEachOther
So many freaking good nuggets in here, right?! Thank you so much, Nicolette, for sharing your heart behind your organization and giving such amazing advice about the process of being called into ministry!
Hanha is the writer behind Transparency Blog, and she is super passionate about encouraging women to find their identity and belonging in Christ! She graduated from the University of National Champions—Go Heels!—and she is currently pursuing plans to become a physician in the near future. A few fun facts? She’s addicted to Grey’s Anatomy, has a special place in her heart for tacos, and podcasts are her present obsession. In her spare time, she daydreams about places she can travel and loves connecting with friends on Instagram. Come say hi!