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Kourri's Life is Changed!

September 22, 2011

By J. Blake Ragsdale

Kourri perches herself on the rail of the small pier. With fishing rod in hand, the teen casts her line across the shimmering lake. The bobber attached to the line makes a soft “plop” as it impacts the water’s surface. Her father Steven smiles approvingly as he casts his own line.

The afternoon weather is a bit too warm for the fish to be biting. The bobbers resting atop the tepid lake water barely move. But that doesn’t matter to father and daughter. The two chat and laugh making the most of their special time together.

The lake is a familiar sight to Kourri, one that she sees every day. It is the beautiful centerpiece of Broyhill Home in Clyde where the sixteen-year-old has lived for two years. Kourri’s life, and her relationship with her family, has completely changed since coming to Baptist Children’s Homes’ mountain campus.

“I have a better bond with my dad. My bond’s getting better with my biological mom,” Kourri explains. “My stepmom is practically my real mom. And I love her.”

Before Broyhill Home, Kourri’s family lost everything due to Hurricane Katrina. Kourri moved with her father, stepmother and sisters from their home in Louisiana to North Carolina. But instead of a new start, turmoil developed within the family. The loss from the storm coupled with the lingering shadow of past family trauma took its toll. Kourri spiraled downward.

“It was real bad,” Steven remembers. He knew his family needed help. The family turned to Baptist Children’s Homes. “It’s just a good place for a child to come into a good, structured, Christian environment and learn. And the parents can learn, too.”

At Broyhill Home, things began to change as the Christian houseparents and staff cared for Kourri by showing her God’s unfailing love.

“We give these children unconditional love,” says houseparent Lou Arnsdorff. “It doesn’t matter what they’ve done.”

The teen’s heart was stirred by the witness of her houseparents and services at Woodland Baptist Church in Waynesville, her cottage’s home church. And in November 2009, the most important change in Kourri’s life occurred.

“Me and my best friend Shawna got saved,” Kourri recounts. Her smile widens as she talks about the day. “It was while we were in youth group. We were talking about Revelation and how everybody sins. We need to confess them and ask God for forgiveness.”

Since that day, houseparent Alicia Wilkerson has seen Kourri blossom. “She’s changed immensely – her attitude and desires. She’s one of the most loving children. Kourri will put anybody before herself.”

“The Lord means everything,” Kourri explains. “He’s what keeps me going every day. And knowing He’s by my side makes me happy.”

That happiness radiates from Kourri wherever she goes and to whomever she comes across.

“She loves the Lord, and she shares that with everybody,” Arnsdorff says. “She wants them to know what a difference the Lord has made in her life.”

Through Baptist Children’s Homes, Kourri’s relationship with her family has been healed. The teen continues to live at Broyhill Home because Steven believes it is the very best place for his daughter.

“If I wasn’t here at Broyhill, or without any of these people in my life, I wouldn’t be the same person,” Kourri says. “I just wouldn’t be me. This is a new Kourri.”