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The light of God’s love shines through darkness

This is why I unashamedly ask you to give and help a child! “Get out of here! Leave me alone! Go away! I want to die!” These are hard words for a young girl to hear her mother say. She leaves the room and calls for help.

“My mother left us when I was five, and I never saw her again.” A five-year-old little boy’s life is shattered as his mother leaves him and his one-year-old brother.

“I was so hungry. Some days we would eat, some days there would be no food. That’s just the way it was.”

“In my neighborhood a gunshot is more common than a doorbell ringing. I joined a gang to have a family.”

“At 14 years old, I had a baby. I had no family, no place to go, no home for my baby.”

So, tell me something, what do you do when life seems so very harsh, so dark? What do you do when you are five and your mom abandons you and your brother? What do you do when you are 14 and have a baby? What do you do when your mom’s opioid addiction is more important than feeding you? Where do you run when mom’s boyfriend is enraged because he’s had too much to drink, again? What do you do?

These are only a few situations some children face day after day. Every year in North Carolina more than 16,000 boys and girls are

removed from their families because of abuse and neglect and crisis.

When their biological families let them down, Baptist Children’s Homes is there to offer them a safe home where compassionate

cottage parents and foster parents provide for their needs and care for them with the unconditional love of Jesus Christ.

When these boys and girls came into care their lives had been devastated. They had no hope. When they entered our doors we

embraced them with God’s love. Thank you for making it possible for us to provide the love and care they so desperately needed.

In just a few short weeks, churches across North Carolina will be collecting their Annual Thanksgiving Offering. Our theme this year

is “Light their Darkness.” As you read Samantha’s story in this issue of Charity & Children, you will celebrate her journey from abuse

and chaos to accepting Christ as her Lord and Savior. You will celebrate her graduation from high school with honors, and you will join us in praying for her daily as she continues her journey as a freshman in college. There are so many children like Samantha who need to know that “light” pierces the darkness.

I ask you to make an investment in the lives of children that will reap a return unlike any investment you have ever made. I ask you to advocate for children and families by encouraging your church to invest in the life of these precious boys and girls. We cannot provide this life transforming ministry without you!

Thank you so much for your prayerful support through our Annual Thanksgiving Offering. Some of you have already started collecting your “mile of pennies.” One church decided to go for a “mile of dollars.” When we join together, we are able to do so much more.

In Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, we read: “Two are better than one, because they have good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.” In verse 12 scripture reads, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Each child—each individual—that comes to us has several things in common. Each has experienced trauma. Each has felt alone. Every child knows what it is like to fall and have no one to pick them up.

Each of them have been overpowered by the darkness and hopelessness in their lives. The “good news” is they have come to

a place where hope is shared by the cupful each day. They have each come to a place where someone is there to pick them up when they fall. They have come to a place where darkness is overpowered by the light of God’s love shining through you.

It takes the body of Christ—the church—to join with us to form the strands of hope that will not be broken. It takes the body of Christ—the church—to be light, to light their way. We need you! The children need you!

So why do I unashamedly ask YOU to PLEASE GIVE? The best way for me to answer that question is by sharing a verse from the

Book of Matthew: “Whatsoever you have done unto the least of these you have done unto me.”

Last year, you and I as North Carolina Baptists—“On Mission Together”—touched the lives of more than 195,000 through BCH’s

ministry. Thank you for illuminating their path to hope and healing.

For many years the Annual Thanksgiving Offering has been referred to as the “umbilical cord” of our ministry, sustaining us yesterday, today, and, with your help, tomorrow. Will you make the cord even stronger; the light even brighter? Remember, together we are stronger! Grateful to be “On Mission Together.”

Written by Brenda Gray, Executive Vice President, Development & Communications

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