Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

 

1983-1992

Ernestine Brown

young Ernestine BrownErnestine Brown left her family and began a personal journey toward hope and peace in December, 1991, at the age of 13. Despite the tears of her mother and the scowls of her stepfather, Ernestine, with the help of her school counselor, sought out residency at the Baptist Children’s Home, Oklahoma City. She was quickly accepted and moved to a place where she found consistent love and discipline.

Ernestine bonded easily with the women on campus but found it more difficult to trust men. During her five years at the Home, Ernestine grew spiritually through the Bible studies, cottage devotionals, and discipleship of her houseparents. As she learned more about her Heavenly Father, Ernestine also learned what it meant to have an earthly father through her relationships with housefather, Randall Howland, and Campus Administrator, Rod Phillips. Time and time again, they were there to teach her and guide her, to express joy in her successes, sadness in her struggles, and concern for her safety when her own parents did not. The two men continue to be a source of comfort, support, guidance, and accountability for her today.

Looking back, Ernestine said she remembers times when she considered leaving the Children’s Home. Difficult home visits and boredom with following the rules of the Home sometimes caused her to consider taking the easy way out. She saw many girls come to the Home to escape all kinds of pain and then return home once the sting of living there had passed. Ernestine said she is convinced that God was faithful when she was not and prevented her from making the same mistake.

Following her graduation from Oklahoma Baptist University, Ernestine enrolled in Oklahoma State University’s graduate program with a desire to obtain a Master’s Degree in Recreational Therapy. Ernestine plans to work with children full time upon her graduation. She still returns to the campus to visit her houseparents and the current residents. She often encourages the younger residents and reminds them that they will be all right and that they will make it through. “I love those kids,” says Ernestine. “I am one of those kids.”


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