A Good Start
“Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.” Proverbs 21:23
Direct and decisive with blue eyes that pierce, fourteen-year-old April knows her own mind and isn’t afraid to speak it, an admirable quality when tempered by the presence of the Holy Spirit and a useful one when cultivated under the loving guidance of committed Christian adults. Fortunately, April has had the advantage of both for quite some time.
April came to live at OBHC five years ago and formed a deep, immediate bond with her first houseparents, the Bakers.
“I was terrified at first,” April says. “In fact, I felt queasy for the first two days, but the Bakers were patient and showed me everything. Pretty soon, I got used to things. I figured out who was who, made some friends, and learned the rules. I’d never really had rules before, so that was new and kind of annoying, but it was also good for me.”
“The Bakers taught me how to look on the bright side of things and take care of myself,” April continues. “They understood what all of us were going through. Even though I got in trouble sometimes, they loved me and proved that they wanted to work with me. Even their kids were amazing.”
April accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior with the Bakers’ help soon after coming to live at OBHC. “Becoming a Christian changed me,” April claims. “I’ve become spiritually better and much friendlier. I used to be mean, but now I think about what I’m saying before I say it. Even my aunt has noticed a difference.”
When the Bakers left OBHC, April struggled, but other OBHC adults swooped in to fill the gap their leaving caused. April’s houseparents, the Hummels, in particular, have worked hard to build on the spiritual foundation the Bakers laid.
“They do devotionals all the time,” says April, “and that helps. They encourage us to serve at church and go on mission trips and be involved with things like that, too. Mrs. Hummel has taught me the importance of being positive and uplifting,” says April, “and Mr. Hummel is good about giving advice, but really, I love all of the adults here. They’re so sweet and nice, and they love to bond with us. I ought to know!” April chuckles. “I think there’s only one kid on campus that’s been here longer than I have.”
“Here at OBHC, they let us be out loud about our faith and our struggles so we can grow and do better. We can be honest about our relationship with God and talk about Jesus in our own way without worrying about what they think of us, and they help us make good choices,” April says. “For instance, Miss Kate helps us make wise choices about clothing. Modest really is the best way to go, you know.”
Someday, April hopes to be a medical professional. “I’m interested in being either a phlebotomist or a dentist,” April says. “I think it’s cool to watch the blood go through tubes, and I like looking at teeth and learning about all the different kinds you have.”
When someday comes, April will be ready. “I know all the basic stuff already,” she explains. “I can cook and clean and do laundry all by myself. I actually love cleaning! I love the smell of Pinesol.” April inhales deeply for effect. “I’m probably the most organized person in my cottage, and I’m pretty sure I have the best hygiene. I take the time to scrub my feet every single night. They never stink! I also know a lot about money management—I basically don’t spend my money—and relationships with other females. I think that’s a pretty good start, don’t you?”
April is grateful to the generous donors who’ve given her that good start. To those who support OBHC, April says, “Thank you for showing your kindness and for being there and for not leaving us out there on our own in the world to figure things out. If it weren’t for you, I probably wouldn’t be very functional. I would weigh less. That’s for sure! I also wouldn’t believe in God and would probably be saying and doing bad things. Without you, I wouldn’t have much. Because of you, I have all I need.”