Samantha has been in the foster care system since she was a young girl. Her situation was bleak until almost five years ago
when she came to live at Baptist Children’s Homes’ (BCH) Odum Home in Pembroke. The 18-year-old just graduated from high school and has achieved her dream of attending college. Most importantly, Samantha heard the Gospel at BCH and asked Jesus into her heart.
Samantha’s future, which once looked dim, is now bright and filled with hope through the support of North Carolina Baptists. Her
inspirational story is the focus of the video for BCH’s Annual Offering.
It is time for North Carolina Baptist churches to share the BCH story by planning, promoting, and then inviting members to give
to this vital offering. This year’s theme is “Light Their Darkness” based on John 1:5—a theme BCH Communications Director Blake
Ragsdale believes is fitting for Samantha’s story and the children BCH serves.
“You see the light of Christ all over Samantha’s life. It’s a testimony of what God is doing in the lives of children,” said Ragsdale. “It’s
a story that begs to be shared because it shows how God works through the prayers and support given by North Carolina Baptists.”
In April, Ragsdale was making preliminary plans for the 2021 Annual Offering by looking for the right story to share. He was at Odum Home to produce a Charity & Children (May 2021) article featuring the home’s five high-school seniors who had all been accepted to college. It was during his interviews with the teens that Ragsdale began to feel a “nudge.”
“I was taking notes and listening to these remarkable children when I felt God nudging me to pay particular attention to Samantha,” he recalls. “During a break, I immediately found
Odum Home Campus Manager Kathy Locklear to talk with her about Samantha being the focus of the video.”
Only one month later, Ragsdale and Randy Durham’s filming crew from Credence Pictures were with Samantha to film her story.
“I was thrilled when Samantha agreed to share her story,” said Ragsdale. “She has such a heart for the Lord, and it was evident she
feels her story can inspire and impact others.”
Part of the two-day film shoot included a graduation party for Samantha and her fellow seniors—a surprise celebration organized by the “Saved to Serve” class from Village Baptist in Fayetteville.
“Our crew was able to be the proverbial ‘flies on the wall’ as we filmed the surprise and smiles on the seniors’ faces as they
arrived at the party,” said Ragsdale. “They wanted to provide the children with everything they need for college, but most importantly, they wanted to remind them that their class will always be there for them as they step into the future. “This was more than just a party—this was about a relationship between a church and BCH’s children.”
Ragsdale hopes all aspects of Samantha’s story and the involvement of North Carolina Baptists resonate as churches share the new video.
“The video shows how lives are forever transformed when North Carolina Baptists shine the light of Christ into these children’s lives,” explained Ragsdale. “There’s no better way to help a congregation understand the importance of giving to BCH’s annual offering than to watch this story.”
Churches are encouraged to show the video during in-person and online services as well as on social media. Short versions of the video are produced specifically to fit the time constraints of a church’s order of service. The video can be downloaded at www.bchoffering.org or by ordering a free DVD by calling 336-474-1209.