We all have stories. I have stories and you have stories. Stop for a moment and remember a story. Remember the people in the story – those who encouraged you and loved you into becoming the person you are today. Now, stop and give thanks.
The annual Mills Home and Kennedy Home Homecoming events are very special. An important part of Homecoming is the telling of stories. Some of the stories will make you laugh and some will make you cry. And sometimes like fish stories, the tales just get bigger and bigger each time told.
I’m fond of a story some of the men tell about going to the building where the soda machine was kept. (Some alumni will remember the old machine where the drinks were kept.)
You put your dime in the slot and pull the lever and the bottle moves to the opening where you reach and get the ice cold soda. The story goes that the boys would take the tops off of the drinks cunningly, use a straw to drink the soda, and then place the cap back on the bottle. The next person who bought a drink was in for a big surprise.
I guess boys will be boys, and given the chance I could see girls pulling the same prank.
There are many stories of brokenness that God has taken and made whole again. The Sunday worship service speaker at Mills Home Homecoming this year told of how God took the brokenness of a little boy and made it for good.
One of the things he remembered most about living at Mills Home was that his “housemom” was “comforting to his heart.” Comforting to his heart – those are powerful words.
Another alum shared how his father abandoned his mom and five children. He told about the day he and his brothers and sisters came into care and how the case worker placed his hand “into the hand of an angel.”
He said that his angel gave him clean clothes and made sure he had plenty to eat before he went to bed. His remembered his angel praying with him at bedtime that first night and how for the first time in his memory he slept between two clean sheets.
Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) houseparents have wonderful servant hearts. Two precious girls who came into care after their mom died remember their anger. But they said that their houseparents helped. “Our houseparents are superb in what they do for everyone in the cottage. They always go the extra mile for everyone. They are loving, caring and devoted to helping us kids in need. I love them like they were my real parents.”
I recently asked a few of our kids to describe their houseparents. Their responses are moving:
“My houseparents are fun and awesome. I wish I could stay here with them forever. When I leave, I will miss them really bad.”
“My houseparents are really great.”
“I have houseparents that care about me and love me a whole lot. They help me live my life.”
“My houseparents told me about Jesus.”
“My houseparents are the best people in the world. I can depend on them because I’m not able to be with my parents right now. My houseparents always provide what we need. They care enough to help me be good. I’ve never had anyone care enough to help me. I love them people!”
“Miss Alice is a great cook.”
“Miss Sam is a great cook.”
“Miss Sandra is a great cook!”
“My houseparents are great cooks!”
“ My houseparents are nice and really, really funny. They make me laugh a lot.”
“They spend time with me.”
“My houseparents show me Jesus. They answer my questions and they are really easy to talk to.”
“My houseparents prayed with me and prayed for me and my little girl.”
So, what is the best gift you give BCH’s children? The answer is Christian houseparents – loving, caring servants of God dedicated to healing the hurt and pain of the boys and girls God entrusts to us each and every day.
Because of your gifts, everytime a houseparent listens, you are listening. Everytime a houseparent wipes a tear, you are there wiping a tear. Everytime a houseparent tells a child he is precious to God, you are there telling him about a loving Father. Everytime a houseparent says bedtime prayers with a child, you are there praying. Everytime a houseparent bakes a birthday cake and sings happy birthday to a child, you are there singing happy birthday as well. Every time a houseparent helps a child with her homework, you are there helping her with her homework.
Thank you, houseparents, for being our heroes. Thank you, ministry partners – our BCH family, for making it possible for our children to have loving, caring Christian houseparents to guide them. . .to love them.
Recently, Megan, one of our young ladies starting college this year, made this statement while sharing her testimony during a worship service: “I wish every abused child could have the opportunity I have had at Baptist Children’s Homes. . .to become stronger. . .to be made whole.”
For more information on how you can help our houseparents through your prayers and support, call Brenda Gray at 336-689-4442. Help Megan’s wish that every child could have the opportunity to become stronger. . .to be made whole.
Do you have a heart to minister to children who are hurting? Learn more about serving as a houseparent or and BCH careers www.bchcareers.org