Their names are not Superman, Wonder Woman, or Batman. They do not scale tall buildings. They don’t fly through the air as high as planes. They do not have a lasso that forces anyone or everyone to
tell the truth. They are real life heroes. In the eyes and hearts of those they serve, they help them scale and breakdown walls every day. They soar high with each child as they encourage and celebrate victories. And, without a lasso, they create a space where truth flows freely.
While they do not wear or use special gadgets, x-ray glasses, or a cape with special powers, they put on the whole armor of God. Their power comes from the Holy Spirit. Each day they walk on the battlefield ready to stand with the “least of these” in the midst of darkness and trauma. Their loins are girded with truth. They wear the breastplate of righteousness. Their feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. They take with them the shield of faith. They wear the helmet of salvation and carry the sword of the spirit which is the word of God. Armed with the armor of God they speak boldly! They live boldly! They love boldly! And, within them shines a Light so bright it pierces the darkness. Who are these people? They are the Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) staff. They are you. And, yes, all are Heroes with a capital H.
These heroes answer the calls and cries for help that come through BCH’s switchboards each day. They carry children to doctor’s appointments and counseling sessions. They work in our business office, our information technology department, our human resources department, and throughout our ministry. They pray over every child and person that walks through our doors. They pray over and thank God for every gift we receive. They share the BCH story in our churches all across North Carolina. They are our associational mission strategists, our pastors, our friends in the pews, our volunteers who pray and give of their time and resources. They are the BCH family. They are our staff members, they are you, they are me, on mission together to share the gospel of God’s Love and Amazing Grace.
Late one night, four children came to live with us. They were victims of abuse. They knew all too well the impact drugs had on their family. They were hungry. Their clothes were dirty with stains on top of stains. Their shoes were too small and worn beyond use. You could see the effect of the trauma they had experienced in their eyes and in their fear. They were embraced by two of our Heroes. Our cottage parents, armed with the armor of God, began to pour into these children. First, they poured into them by providing for their physical needs. They fed them with food you provided. They clothed them with clothes you provided. They gave them a Bible you provided...on Mission together to share the gospel of God’s Love and Amazing Grace. After devotions one night, one of the boys waited until all the others had made their way to their bedrooms. With tears in his eyes, he asked his houseparent to share the story again.
“Does Jesus love me like that?” he asked.
“Yes,” his cottage parent replied.
“OK then, I love Jesus.”
Darkness surrounded this precious six-year-old boy, who was abandoned at the shopping mall. Imagine for a moment the fear this child must have felt. Imagine being placed in a patrol car and being taken to a place filled with strangers. Imagine a social worker telling him he will be going to a new home.
As he arrives at his new home, he hears lots of noise coming from the nine children living in the cottage. The cottage parents greet him with open arms. The children in the cottage, realizing a new child has arrived, calm down and join the cottage parents in welcoming him into his new home. One of the children (understanding what this child is feeling) walks over and grabs the six-year-old by the hand and says, “Come on, let’s go play.” “Do you want to see my Spiderman and Batman? I’ve got Superman too! Which one do you want.” He doesn’t realize it at this point but the real Heroes in this story are his cottage parents. Over the past few months, they have created a space where truth, love, and hope flow freely. You can see in his eyes, the fear has subsided and the sparkle has returned. This is evidence of our Heroes (which always includes you)...on Mission together to share the gospel of God’s Love and Amazing Grace.
She is 15 years old. She was kidnapped. She jumped out of the moving car, breaking her leg. The department of social services intervened and determined BCH would be a safe place for her, a place where she could rest, recuperate, and find hope and healing. The memory of this traumatic experience is haunting. Armed with the armor of God, the cottage parents have provided a safe place where she can experience truth and begin to create new memories. She arrived at the cottage a few short weeks prior to the cottage going to the beach. What better place to recuperate? When she first heard about the beach trip, she was a little apprehensive. How would she manage with a broken leg? How would she navigate the wheelchair? She had never been to the beach. She had never seen the ocean. She had never felt the calming effect of the breeze coming off of the ocean waves. She was overwhelmed by the experience of God’s creation and by the love she was experiencing from the cottage parents and the girls in her cottage. Yes, she is still living with fear and trauma, and while her leg will soon heal, it will take her heart much longer to heal. Pray for this young girl as she continues on her journey to healing. Pray for her as she makes new memories each day, good memories, healing memories! You, our Heroes, our BCH family are helping to make these new memories possible...on Mission together to share the gospel of God’s Love and Amazing Grace.
So, put on your cape, the armor of God! Come alongside us as we continue to fulfill the vision of “sharing hope...changing lives” in the name of Christ. On Mission Together!
By Brenda B. Gray, Executive Vice President, Development & Communications