Gift giving at Christmas is big. It is estimated that on average nearly $1,000 is spent on gifts per person in the United States. And if all goes well next year, more presents will be bought––with as much if not more money being spent. Every year, the newest trending gift skyrockets sales. The “newest” model replaces last year’s “older” model and last year’s must-have gift becomes passé.
But the gift that never goes out of fashion and truly “keeps on giving” is the gift of salvation. It never tarnishes. It never needs a newer edition.
“On July 6 last year, I asked God into my life,” Megan confides. “It is the greatest gift I have ever received.”
Helping to lead children to Jesus has been at the heart of Baptist Children’s Homes’ mission since 1885.
Those who support this 135-year-old ministry know their gifts not only provide all the necessary things to create a loving home, but their gifts make an eternal difference.
This past year was filled with many challenges. But in the midst of all that happened, stories of hope and victory transpired at Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) and ended up on the pages of Charity & Children. God has been faithful. Have your heart lifted while reading a few of the most encouraging of 2020.
Nathen and Tylor arrived at BCH with few belongings and little hope. The brothers were homeless because of their mother’s struggles and the boys had no father to depend on for help. Janina DeHart called BCH about the same time the boys arrived. She and her husband, Mark, wanted to become BCH foster parents.
A year later, the DeHarts became the foster parents for the two brothers. On October 24, 2019, Nathen and Tylor were adopted by the DeHarts.
A short time later on a beautiful sunny afternoon, family and close friends gathered on the bank of a mountain river to watch Mark, assisted by a pastor at their church, baptize his two sons.
God was working all the time to bring this family together.
Cruz and Betty Porter prepare peanut butter fudge––17-year-old Cruz’s favorite.
A college freshman, he needs to know how to make the treat for himself.
“This is a must,” Cruz laughs. “Of all that I need to be ready for college, this may be the most important. You never know when I’ll have a craving.”
According to cottage mom Betty, Cruz has changed so much since coming to BCH. His confidence has increased. Cruz has grown into a successful young man––a leader among the boys in his cottage, a high school honor student, and an exceptional musician.
Cruz affirms his growth at Broyhill Home in Clyde. “I had no idea that I would accomplish so much,” he reflects.
Cruz auditioned and gained a spot on the “Pride of the Mountains Marching Band” at Western Carolina University where he is a freshman.
“Being here, with Betty and Will Porter and the other boys, I feel like I’m home,” he says. “This is my family.”
God has worked to give Cruz a bright future and a supportive family.
Dave and Charlotte Cline serve at Olive Branch Baptist Church in Roxboro where Dave is pastor. The couple felt God leading them to become foster parents.
Weeks of training by BCH’s staff members culminated in the meeting between the Clines and their first foster care children––Kendall, Kassidy, Kayden, and Kailey––sisters aged 10 months to seven years old.
After fostering the girls for a year, the rights of their biological parents were terminated and the Clines adopted the sisters on January 10 of this year. Along with Caleb, the Cline’s 12-year-old biological son, they have become a family.
Spiritually, the seeds that have been planted by the Clines are growing. Kailey, their oldest daughter, asked Jesus into her heart while being fostered.
“God wants people to open up their homes and open up their hearts,” Charlotte says.
“You don’t need anything special, you just need to have the willingness and desire.”
God turned the chaos in four little girls’ lives into the security they desperately needed.
Teryn fell in love with the beautiful red bejeweled gown. She reached for the hanger and taking it from the rack, she was smitten. It was dazzling.
“I was on the field that night as one of the Homecoming Queen finalists,” Teryn remembers. “When the first runner up was announced and it wasn’t me––I couldn’t breathe. Then my name was called.”
When Teryn entered foster care at age 13, becoming Homecoming Queen was far from anything she could have dreamt.
“I never knew my father,” she says, “and my mother’s life fell apart. This was not what I wanted. It just happened and I was scared, sad and mad––all wrapped up together.”
Teryn recalls when she was told that she was going to live at Mills Home. “All I could think about was ‘what is happening to me’.”
She says she didn’t talk to anyone at first.
“I remember everyone being great, but it didn’t matter. I was afraid.”
Teryn’s fears turned to acceptance. “I got into a routine. It was summer and there were activities––fun things to do and I began to make friends.”
One day last fall, she came home from school with the idea of running for Homecoming Queen.
Teryn put together a campaign and her cottage parents, case manager, and other staff members pitched in and helped wherever they could.
“It made me feel really good when everyone came together to help me,” Teryn says. “To be where I am today––looking back from where I was only a few years ago––it is truly amazing.”
Teryn is hopeful and is working hard.
“I never wanted to be in a group home, no one would,” Teryn says. “But it has been good for me. God has given me an incredible future. There are days when I need to pinch myself to remind me it is all real.”
God has transformed Teryn’s life. She credits God for His faithfulness in everything she does.
You can help transform children's lives! Make your life-changing gift at bchfamily.org/givenow
Article is written by Jim Edminson, Charity & Children Editor and Blake Ragsdale, BCH Director of Communications