Nine-year-old Thomas felt nervous as he prepared to step onto the stage at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro with his brother and grandparents. Speaking before hundreds of messengers at the Annual Meeting of the Baptist State Convention (BSC) can be daunting for anyone, regardless of age.
Both Thomas and brother Jonathan have thrived since coming to Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) in June 2014 and are featured in this year’s Annual Offering video. It was a perfect opportunity for BCH president/CEO Michael C. Blackwell to highlight the family as part of the 10-minute BCH/NCBAM (North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry) presentation on Tuesday, November 3.
Moments before going on stage, Jonathan leaned over to his younger brother and placed his hand on his shoulder. “Just pick a spot in the audience to look at and stare at it the whole time.” he said reassuringly. “That always helps me.”
Thomas’ uncertainty persisted despite encouraging words from his brother, grandparents and Blackwell, but the presence of his houseparent Teresa McLamb soothed his concerns.
“Mrs. Teresa really wants me to do it,” Thomas said.
With a renewed confidence instilled in him by McLamb and the others, Thomas took the stage. He picked the spot in the audience to focus on and did not hesitate when it was his turn to speak. The audience applauded when he recited John 3:16, his favorite Bible verse.
“It shows how special and how powerful the bond is between Thomas and Teresa,” Blackwell said afterwards. “Our houseparents encourage children to overcome obstacles and soar.”
The crowd cheered when brother Jonathan shared: “I have accepted Jesus into my heart, and I’m looking forward to being baptized.”
“I can’t begin to tell you how God has blessed our family and blessed these boys and what they have received there,” Kathy, the boys’ grandmother, told the crowd. BCH stepped in to care for the siblings at Kathy and her husband Craig’s request due to their health concerns and age.
Similar challenges facing aging adults is why NCBAM was created. Blackwell shared with the audience that the ministry to aging adults “is successful beyond our wildest dreams.”
NCBAM’s caring team aided J. Billy Graham, a retired minister and director of missions from Carthage, when his wife Anne fell ill due to Alzheimer’s disease.
“I was her primary caregiver and wanted nothing but the best for her,” Graham shared.
NCBAM used their expertise to ensure that Graham and his wife had loving care and the support they needed. She died in October 2014.
“Thank God for Dr. Blackwell, for Anne, for NCBAM, and for all the ministries of the Baptist Children’s Homes,” Graham said.
Blackwell used his final moments on stage to galvanize North Carolina Baptists’ support.
“Stand with us, North Carolina Baptists,” Blackwell exclaimed as the audience rose to their feet. “Stand in front of us, stand behind us, stand beside us, but always stand with us!”
Your gift changes children's lives. You can help share hope with other children like Jonathan and Thomas by making a gift to Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina by giving online at www.bchfamily.org/givenow. To learn other ways you can get involved with BCH's ministry, go to http://www.bchfamily.org/involved/