Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

 
James Browning

stories from the book
by James V. Browning


God's Grace

Vicki Quarterson


I was living with my eldest sister and brother-in-law when I met Sue Harcrow from the Baptist Children’s Home in Owasso. I was attending the same church as Sue, and one day we began to talk about my home situation. I found out she was not only my friend, but she was a social worker.

Living with my brother-in-law was extremely difficult due to his immaturity and lack of leadership in raising children. He and my sister were trying to raise me, my other two teenage sisters and their two young daughters. It was difficult for all of us. As Sue listened to my situation, she wanted to know more about my life and why I was living with my sister. So I told her the story....

My natural mother loved children and she had seven by the time she was 31 years old. When I was 5 years old, she died of a blood clot. My dad set out to raise all seven children on his own. My dad had a rough background, but after my mother died, he went to church. One year after my mother died, we were all riding home from visiting her burial site, when we were hit “head-on” by a drunk driver. The accident killed my dad and injured all of the children in some way. I was 6 years old and I remember kissing my dad goodbye at his funeral. I also remember crying and my aunt giving me a little purse with a handkerchief in it.

After the accident, relatives divided us up and we lived with them for about a year. It was then decided that we all needed to stay together as siblings, so my maternal grandparents in Oklahoma brought us from Alabama to live with them.

My grandmother was good to us, however, my grandfather had a more difficult time having seven grandchildren live with him. He was often harsh and rough. I remember him being harder on my older brother and sisters and I remember him beating my brother on several occasions. I always feared for the older ones and I tried to stay out of my grandfather’s way. The rest of the story is that my two brothers are in prison for terrible crimes and I have a couple of sisters who are living very destructive and ungodly lives. I don’t understand why they are where they are and I am here where I am. All I know is that God’s marvelous grace has something to do with it and that’s why I say God gets all the credit.

In the meantime, my oldest sister had married at age 16 while she was still in high school. She was determined to get us out of my grandparents’ home and wanted us to live with her and her new husband. She tried for several years and then eventually my grandparents were so frustrated with the social workers calling and checking on us, that they decided to let us go live with my sister. I was 13 years old at this time.

While living with my grandparents, I attended a Baptist church every Sunday by riding a church bus. One Sunday morning, I invited Jesus Christ into my heart and life. He saved me and from then on, I experienced His divine protection in so many situations.

I only lived with my sister for about two years, but it was during the very crucial teen years and I became involved with activities that were not wholesome for me. I became hardened in my heart and I did not care about doing right. When I met Sue Harcrow at Bethel Baptist Church, I was ruling my own life. I told her my life story and she told me about the Baptist Children’s Home.

When my sister, Mary, and I interviewed for the Home, there were no available beds for us, but we were assigned to a temporary foster home. That foster home was a gift from the Lord because it not only gave us a place to live, but it became our family. The Johnson family legally adopted us and allowed us to become a part of their lives. We finally had a place to stay, no more moving around from place to place, and most importantly, we finally had a mom and dad. Our own children now have grandparents and a Christian heritage.

Even though we did not live at the Children’s Home, we still participated in their camps, and benefited from the activities and programs they offered. We also were able to bond with some of the houseparents and social workers. I enjoyed the “Home” atmosphere so much that I did summer missions and worked there as an intern throughout my college years.

The Baptist Children’s Home and Sue Harcrow were vital instruments in the Lord placing me into a godly Christian home. God’s grace are the two words to describe my life story. He gets all the credit!

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