Who We Are
Fostering a heart
for orphans in the
We are Jeff and Mandy Marburger. We are simply 2 ordinary people who felt God call us to the extraordinary journey of foster care and adoption.
As I look back on life, it is so amazing to see God leading us down the “back roads” of life, right to the place he wants us. I never knew foster care would be a part of our journey, and honestly had never given it a thought until I was 22 or so. I always enjoyed entertaining kids and working at the YMCA, but taking care of other people’s children was a vocation, not a lifestyle or a calling. But Oh how God’s plans were so much different (and sweeter) than mine.
We struggled to conceive a child for the first several years of our marriage, as we were ready to be parents. I aspired to be a Dad that could be active through my kids lives and Lord-willing grandkids, so children were a desire sooner, rather than later. Through the months and years of infertility, God cultivated something that I never could have expected. Through the gentle nudging of my wife, we signed up for the required MAPPS classes in our county. In the last week of our classes, God decided to bless us with a biological child. But the facts and mission were far too near to our hearts at this point, and fostering and adopting children was no longer a “back-up plan”.
We knew God wanted us to be involved in foster care and it has changed our hearts forever. Each child that comes into our home represents in the purest form, true religion, as we care for their needs as if they are our own.
God has used us at our home church to cultivate a culture of fostering and adoption. Lives have been transformed because of people opening up their homes and lives to the orphans of this world. It creates such a community of people with a like-minded mission and we have found extreme value in this. What better place to inspire others towards foster care and adoption than in the local church. This is how the Lord placed this vision in our hearts for the “One More, One Less Project.” We are excited for others to experience the joy and sanctification that takes place in every fostering adventure, whether that be becoming a Foster parent, adoptive parent or serving in other ways. We are all called, it’s simply figuring out HOW?
“Looking back at my life, I knew God was growing this passion within me early on! I didn’t know this at the time of course, but isn’t it amazing to see God’s hand at work in your life when you sit back and look at all you have seen and been through? It all started for me with a “bike”. Yes, you read that correctly! My Grandfather was someone I admired and enjoyed being with! He wasn’t a rich man & he and my Grandmother didn’t have a whole lot but they loved Jesus! My grandparents were not licensed foster parents, yet that did not keep them from being impactful in a child’s life or people in general. My Grandparents enjoyed visiting local group homes and ended up falling in love with this little boy. I don’t even remember his name! And I don’t know that I ever even met him! This particular boy had never owned a bike. And I remember my Grandfather had some broken, rusty, dirty, tossed aside bikes outside his house. I’ll never forget looking out my grandparents bay window watching my Grandfather work hard cleaning those bikes, fixing them up & making them look new… all for this little boy who never had a bike before! Once he delivered that ONE bike to that ONE child… guess what he started doing after that? He started fixing broken, rusty, dirty, tossed aside bikes and making them clean and look new again... all so he could deliver them to children in foster care. My Grandfather wasn’t a rich man & he and my Grandmother didn’t have a whole lot, but they loved Jesus! He didn’t do anything extravagant! He didn't go and spend hundreds of dollars for that little boy. But he did do “something”! He did what he could. And that simple act changed my life in more ways than I realized at the time!
God eventually led me to my husband & he and his family introduced me to a woman I will always respect and love who owned a group home in my county. I not only began working at this group home but I actually moved IN to this group home as a live in employee and this is where he continued to grow my heart towards foster care and adoption. I witnessed so many beautiful children feel so broken and hurt. I knew after working and living in this group home that I wanted to do more and be more for these kids. They deserved people fighting for them and loving them through all the tough stuff they went through. I knew I couldn’t take ALL of their pain away… but doing nothing wasn’t an option anymore. My husband and I decided to become foster parents in 2010 but the night we completed our required MAPPS classes found out we were pregnant. God was in all of those details! We have been involved in foster care now for close to 10 years through the group home we worked at as well as being licensed through DSS in Cleveland County, NC. God has grown us so much through it…. Yet, last year we felt this strong urge that God wanted us to do MORE. So, here we are…. Creating One More One Less Project in hopes that we can encourage other Christians to step up and do their part in taking care of the orphans of this world. I desire more than anything for people who love Jesus (just like my Grandfather) to love these kids who may feel broken, rusty, dirty or tossed aside.”
One More One Less Project Director
My passion for foster care and adoption began when our church in South Florida started “The Every Child Initiative” in the early 2000s. The mission statement framed up something I had not thought too much about.
“The Every Child Initiative exists to glorify God by envisioning, equipping, and empowering disciples to have gospel impact in the lives of vulnerable children.”
While we knew families that had fostered and adopted within the church, the mindset that this was God glorifying work for the entire church body had never crossed my mind. We participated over the years and saw the fruit of this obedience and the maturing of our church body. I believe being a disciple who comes alongside and helps fellow Christians renew their mind about foster care and adoption is a worthwhile endeavor and is God glorifying work that spreads the aroma of Jesus throughout North Carolina.
The Lord began laying the ground work for foster care in my heart long before I realized it. My pastor’s family in NY had adopted a sibling group out of foster care and I witnessed the sacrifice and joy that accompanied their obedience to Jesus. After I moved to North Carolina I met Jeff and Mandy, and what started out as a babysitting job quickly became one of the greatest blessings of my life. Just by simply being in their home I was able to witness the gospel played out through fostering and adopting. I was there when they welcomed children into their home, I was there for adoption celebrations, and I was there for tearful goodbyes. I remember the day they told me about an idea God had placed on their heart to start a nonprofit called One More One Less Project - to intertwine the local church with foster care. I am honored to have been here since the beginning and give every ounce of praise to our Savior. I’ve witnessed, again, the sacrifice and joy that has accompanied Jeff and Mandy’s obedience to take up the call of fostering the fatherless. My heart is to see the church take back up the torch of this calling, and to see restoration in places where there was once devastation. So, where do we start? We start by praying.
Community Care Director
Foster care was never on my radar for a VERY long time. I thought foster care was for “other people”. I believed that my husband and I had been fruitful and multiplied since we already had three kids! I believed that my excuses were valid and I am ashamed to say that I purposely turned a blind eye to the reality of what was actually happening in my community for the sake of my convenience and ease of life. Then came the day. Then came the day that I received a phone call that my great nephew was taken into custody and would I be willing to take him in. Of course I immediately got into my car and went to his school to pick him up. That was a no-brainer. Opening my life and my home to him was a no-brainer. Then came the day that we began MAPP classes to become licensed foster parents “just to make sure we had all of our ducks in a row” in case my great nephew didn’t get to go back home. The classes started and Week 1…good, Week 2….good, Week 3….good, then came the day.
Then came the day I will never forget!!! It was the day that the reality of foster care became clear to me. Sitting in that conference room feeling like I couldn’t breathe when the words of that leader hit me and I finally saw the sadness and brokenness of foster care through God's eyes. When I felt the guilt and shame of knowing there were kids out there that needed a home, that needed a family that I could provide for them, and that I did NOTHING about it. I didn’t know if I was going to throw up or pass out. It was right then and there that a righteous anger developed inside of me and praise God it hasn’t left me since. It is this righteous anger towards evil, not people, that keeps me fighting for these kids and families. Both biological and foster parents.
I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity that One More One Less Project has given to me to take that anger and use it for the glory of God. Who knew all of the years of hosting birthday parties, cookouts, vacation Bible schools, classroom parties, Bible studies, cooking for families who have lost loved ones, and being “that” house in our neighborhood was preparing me to be the Community Care Director for One More One Less Project. I now see God’s hand in how He was teaching me to reach out. I see His hand in showing me that people simply want to be seen and valued and loved. I see how He was teaching me to stop my “plans” for His purpose! He has shown me through people supporting me through the rough times of being a foster parent, that the simplest acts of kindness can breathe life back into a person and family. He has taught me that loving my neighbor is not a suggestion but a command from Him. That is what I love about community care and the impact it has on families.
There are 100 counties in North Carolina. Our goal is to have at least 2 Champion Churches in each county that are creating a culture of foster care and adoption within their community.