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Celebrating God's promise of a future

When the children at Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) are asked to quote their favorite scripture, they often recite Jeremiah 29:11.“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

These words offer comfort and encouragement to a child who feels hopeless –– who feels her future is destined to be much like her past. But when a child first comes into care, the scripture is hard to understand. The words “plans to prosper you and not to harm you” are foreign. For a child who has not had clean clothes, food, or a bed in which to sleep, “plans to prosper you” doesn’t fit. For a child who has watched drugs rob him of his parents, or a child who has been mistreated and abused by those who are to love and nurture him, the words “not to harm you” doesn’t fit.

You can see the fear, confusion, hurt, pain, and hopelessness in the eyes of children when they first arrive. If it is a sibling group, often the younger children will cower behind the older siblings. Immediately, we begin the quest to break down walls, provide security and offer a different future.

The smell of bacon, eggs and biscuits floats on the air throughout the cottage. The aroma makes its way to Tamari and Jenn’s room and they think they are dreaming. Then they hear, “Time for breakfast.”

Big smiles reach from cheek to cheek on their faces as they jump up and head for the kitchen. Their housemother greets them and pours each of the 10 children in the cottage a big glass of orange juice. There is laughter and happiness.

“It’s time to pray.” The children bow their heads. The housemother asks if anyone would like to thank God for their food. Spunky, red headed Jason is quick to raise his hand and begins to pray before anyone else volunteers. Tamari and Jenn watch the other children dig in, look at each other, and do likewise.

The houseparents walk the children to the bus stop. And although Tamari and Jenn have not yet been registered for school, they go with the group and wave goodbye to the other children as the bus drives away.

Tamari and Jenn’s houseparent