My first introduction to Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) was in 1974 when a speaker came to the church my family and I attended at the time, Guilford Baptist in Greensboro. I could not have imagined then that I would have a career and a life-long dedication and commitment to its ministry. God’s leadership and direction have always been at work in my relationship to BCH –– and to Michael C. Blackwell.
In 1985, I served in a temporary part-time position during BCH’s Centennial Celebration. It was then that I first met Dr. Blackwell during a covered dish lunch that helped kick off the Centennial Celebration. He walked up to me and asked, “Who are you?” Then he followed up with, “And what did you bring?”
It took me totally off guard. His voice was amazing and I was taken aback by the fact that “the President” was interested in me. I didn’t know it at the time, but God’s hand was at work.
The Centennial was a success and things went back to normal until, a few years later, Dr. Blackwell called to ask if I would be interested in coming to work for him.
I have learned many things from Dr. Blackwell throughout the years. My first lesson hearkened back to that introduction and the job interview with him. The interview was filled with lots of questions. Dr. Blackwell never hesitates to ask questions –– it seems always the right questions. He has a knack for asking the perfect follow-up questions, too. He taught me that it is never rude to ask the next question. In fact, I learned these types of questions can lay a foundation for new and good relationships. And sometimes, friendships are formed.
I became the secretary to the president on November 30, 1987. The next day was my birthday. When I unlocked the door of my office, I was greeted by a large vase of flowers sitting on my desk from my new boss. I was touched by his thoughtfulness and excited about what laid ahead.
Dr. Blackwell has strong traits — a powerful voice, persuasive personality, compassion, dedication, intelligence, motivation — which I observed from the beginning. But the greatest of his gifts is his God-given love for children and families. Because of his vision and courage, BCH has ministered in areas where others feared to tread.
Dr. Blackwell invests in those around him. He not only has shared the daily joys and sorrows of my life, but he has pushed me in areas of discomfort for my professional and personal growth. He guided me into leadership roles that were unexpected and sometimes frightening. It was Dr. Blackwell who encouraged me to return and complete my college degree. Eventually, I became his executive assistant.
In 2006, I took a short sabbatical that I foundly remember calling “retirement.” The attempt lasted three years. With Dr. Blackwell’s urging, I returned to serve as Director of Presidential Projects. It is in these years since I have seen Dr. Blackwell’s vision in multiple areas unfold and multiply.
Thousands of lives have been impacted by Dr. Blackwell through BCH’s many ministries. I’m amazed to witness the love he pours out to all staff members to equip them to serve. His “hobby” is BCH and encouraging others. The cards, phone calls, flowers, visits, and hugs with his strong arms are evidence of a man who made a conscious choice to make a difference. He shares himself for the benefit of others.
Dr. Blackwell, thank you for your journey and ministry. I am blessed to be a part of your team. Congratulations on your 35th Anniversary with compliments, loyalty and admiration!
Good judgment proves that you are wise, and if you speak kindly, you can teach others. (Proverbs 3:13 – KJV)
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