Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

 

Moving Full Speed Ahead: Jacob Jordan

Story by Angela Sanders
First published: OBHC Blog | December 31, 2015

Jacob Jordan

Like saplings, some children need constant watch, care and tending in order to take root and grow strong. Others need only protection from the elements and a guiding hand. Self-motivated, hard-working and resilient Jacob Jordan is the latter. Fortunately for him, the adults at Boys Ranch Town, OBHC donors, teachers and local church leadership were willing and able to serve as stakes by which Jacob could anchor himself and flourish at a critical point in this young man’s life.

At thirteen, Jacob accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. “That changed everything for me,” Jacob begins. “I was living with my uncle at the time and knew that I needed a better environment to grow up in. I knew I needed to get out if I was going to grow.”

Ambitious young Jacob did a little research and found placement at Boys Ranch Town with Mr. and Mrs. Riley as houseparents.

“They taught me structure, responsibility, and life skills,” Jacob explains. “I definitely wouldn’t be who I am today without them. They’re like my mom and dad.”

In high school, Jacob enjoyed raising hogs. Jacob, a sophomore at Oklahoma State University, plans to be an agricultural education teacher, a natural choice for someone who has been around animals—horses and pigs in particular—his whole life. “I actually wasn’t planning to go to college,” Jacob admits. “I thought I’d go to welding school and do that. My teachers encouraged me to think about going to college, so I did. I thought I might want to be a ranch manager, but they told me that I’d be a good teacher. It made sense. I grew up in a small town so animals are second nature. My uncle worked for a farmer, and we always worked with the cattle. When I moved here, I already knew what I was doing. I was in the horse program and then got into playing sports in high school. I know how to work hard and like to help people, be part of a team, so I decided to do what they said and be a teacher.”

The support of BRT and individual donors is making Jacob’s metamorphosis into a self-supporting adult a smooth one. “I live in a house near [OSU’s] campus that OBHC donors own,” Jacob explains. “I have three roommates. OBHC pays a good chunk of our tuition, but we have to make up the ends.”

Jacob finds that fairly easy to do, as he works part-time at O’Reilly Auto Parts, helps a man in Stillwater build barbed-wire fence, and raises hogs on an OBHC donor’s farm close to Stillwater, all steady sources of income for this young man with a clear vision for his future and an intense work ethic.

Jacob as a teenager. On the weekends, Jacob comes home to BRT, where he and a roommate share a transitional living apartment. In exchange for this residence, Jacob puts in volunteer hours on campus, something he would be willing to do anyway. “I try to help out because there was a lot of time that I was gone when I was in high school with sports, etc., so I like to try and do as much as I can now, on the ranch and in the schools. This past weekend, I volunteered for an FFA show and did whatever needed to be done.”

When asked what drives him to stay busy and help others, Jacob responds, “I had the Rileys as houseparents, so…” Raising an eyebrow and letting his words trail off, Jacob suggests that his go-get- ‘em approach to life and helpful attitude have much to do with this special couple.

“They equipped me to be on my own,” Jacob says. “They taught me about integrity and just doing everyday stuff. Mrs. Riley was a clean freak and an awesome cook, so I know how to clean and cook. Mr. Riley taught us handyman stuff, like how to fix things that break, dishwashers and stuff. I learned that being responsible really comes down to just making sure that you are making the time to get things done and taking care of business. I didn’t get that all at once. The Rileys were like, ‘Okay, you did this much right. Here’s a little bit more…and a little bit more…and a little bit more.’ I did so well in the cottage that I got to do a lot of stuff and go a lot of places.”

As Jacob recounts the dozen or so places he got to go and the many unique experiences he had in conjunction with OBHC’s tripleC leadership program while still in high school, his eyes light up. “I learned that hard work and a good attitude bring reward,” Jacob says with a smile. “You have to make yourself do the right thing. For instance, at school, my grades were starting to slip because I was just so tired when I got home from work that I would fall asleep before I got my homework done. Now, I go straight to the library after work to finish my homework before I let myself go home. It’s helped a lot, and things are back on track.”

Continuing in the spiritual disciplines that he learned at BRT and under the tutelage of youth minister Mick Hoggatt, Jacob works just as hard to grow spiritually as he works at anything else.

“You have to focus on it, no matter how busy life gets. We used to do devotions every morning, and I did devotions on my own. The Rileys made sure we were at church every Sunday and Wednesday. I liked being around Mick. He had a way of making you feel important, and he could always make you laugh, no matter how mad or sad you were. He taught us that the Bible is Truth. That helps a lot now that I’m in college. There are a lot of people that would like to confuse us. We are forced to look at things from every angle, but even when someone thinks that they’ve proven the Bible wrong, I can look at what they’re saying and see how the Bible has an answer for it. God’s Word is just one of those things you can’t prove wrong.

Confident in whom God created him to be and where he’s headed, Jacob is moving full speed ahead. He doesn’t believe in putting off until tomorrow what he can do today. “It’s something I learned at the ranch,” says Jacob with a smile, “among other things. So far, I’d say it’s working for me.”


Thank you for your investment in Jacob’s life. We are proud of the capable, caring Christian young man he has become. Your support and prayers have made a Kingdom impact through Jacob’s life.

 


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