After a huge storm, Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz found herself lost and alone. Dorothy was frightened and longing for home –– she dreamed of being back in Kansas with Aunty Em. Like Dorothy, every child who walks through the doors of Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) dreams of “home.”
In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy whispers “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home,” clicks her heels, and is transported back to Kansas –– back home where she is loved.
When word spread that North Carolina was directly in the path of Hurricane Florence, BCH staff members went into disaster preparedness mode. Four of our campuses were evacuated and most found haven at Mills Home in Thomasville. Children who had fled crisis experienced with their families were now forced to leave their BCH home due to a different type of crisis. Like Dorothy, they were frightened.
When the children and staff members arrived at Mills Home, they were greeted with hugs and care –– you made it possible for us to be there with open arms. As soon as you, our BCH family, received word that the children had been evacuated, you began to pray and you put feet to the prayers. You delivered food and supplies, you came with chain saws and equipment to remove trees, and you were there to clean up the mess.
This is not the first storm you have helped our boys and girls survive. Many of the children’s lives have been filled with one storm after another.
Tamara did not live in a storybook world like Dorothy. She could not click red shoes and leave her nightmare behind. Her father was in prison and her mother escaped the hardships of her life by using drugs. Home was a painful place where she was alone. She was used and discarded like a broken toy. But Tamara is not a toy; she is a child who deserves to be loved and protected.
I recently received an email concerning two precious children who had arrived at a BCH campus around midnight – a five-year-old and a two-year-old. The older boy asked where he would sleep. Houseparents showed him his bed and he was surprised. “I have never had a bed.”
The boy looked around the room inspecting all the corners and then asked, “Do you have rats?”
“No, there are no rats in the cottage,” the housemother asserted.
The little boy hugged her, “That’s good, ‘cause they kept getting in my hair when I slept on the floor at the house we lived in.”
These children’s lives were tragic. Substance abuse had destroyed their family. And like Tamara, the young boy did not have red slippers or special words to take him to a safe, happy place. But thanks to you, he found that place with us.
God has called us to be “home” for these boys and girls. We are the willing arms embracing children in the middle of the storm. We are the willing hands that wipe away their tears. We touch their lives because you care ––you care enough to give. You have given and continue to give beyond measure to help us through the devastating effects of the storms.
This is a difficult time for so many across our state. And many have stepped up to bring relief and care to those who have suffered great loss. Many of our BCH friends and family have been dramatically impacted and will not be able to give as they normally do at this time ––despite their desire to help the boys and girls.
Two of our faithful supporters suffered damages to their homes and lost their commercial chicken houses. However, when we called to check on them after the flooding from Hurricane Florence, they both shared that they were still going to help the children.
Throughout the month of November, churches all across North Carolina will be gathering their annual Thanksgiving Offering. These gifts are vital to care for the children. Christmas and year-end gifts make up a significant and essential portion of our charitable contributions. This is a time we must work together on all fronts so that all needs are met.
There are those who wish they could give, but can’t. Will you, on their behalf, give a little extra? And remember, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar until January 31, 2019.
Throughout this season of thanksgiving, Tamara and our little five-year-old and two-year-old join all of us at BCH in lifting prayers of thanksgiving for you. As we pray, you are at the top of the list of God’s blessings. Thank you for always being there to help our children weather the many storms of life.
For information on how you can continue to help us with cleanup and restoration after Hurricane Florence, or to sponsor a child or cottage for Christmas, please call me at 336-689-4442.