Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

 

Full of Hope

“I will praise You with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.” Psalm 119:7

Felisha and her sonConversational, but cautious, eighteen-year-old Felisha thinks hard about her words before speaking them. Soft-spoken and gentle, she invites friendship and inspires confidence without effort. Compassionate and kind, she takes on the troubles of others and makes them her own, a habit that’s caused her more than a little grief in the past. Now, with the help of her OBHC houseparents, Felisha is learning how to care for others without destroying herself so she can serve God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Someday, Felisha hopes to be a science teacher. “Well, not just a science teacher,” Felisha elaborates, “but the kind of teacher that’s really there for students, you know? The kind that’s sort of a counselor and a friend to kids who need it. I just like encouraging people and helping them make changes for the better. I like to give good advice.”

Lofty goals set, Felisha has developed a ferocious appetite for Scripture. “I want to know everything there is to know about the Bible, all the connections in it and what it has to do with right now,” Felisha says, eyes bright, “for my own personal benefit and for people I might be able to help. I want to know Jesus better and then help others know Him better. Besides being a teacher, I also plan to volunteer in my church as an adult, either working with youth or with elementary school kids. I’ll really need to know my Bible to do a good job at that.”

Unchurched as a child, Felisha hasn’t always demonstrated such passion for the things of God. “I used to be sort of an atheist,” Felisha says with a reluctant chuckle, unable, it seems, to believe her own words. “Actually, I didn’t even want to come to OBHC at first because I knew it was a religious place. My social worker suggested it when I was trying to find a safe place for my son and I to live. I loved everything she said about OBHC but that. I didn’t want to go to church or try not to cuss.” Felisha laughs and shakes her head. “But then I visited campus, and everything changed. The minute I walked into a cottage, my worries disappeared and I felt nothing but relief and safety. I thought, ‘This is amazing. This is good. I can do this.’ I decided right then to grit my teeth and go to church.”

Four months later, Felisha became a Christian. “It was a struggle,” Felisha admits. “In youth group one night, they gave students the opportunity to give their lives to Jesus. They called us to repent, and I felt a really strong pull in my chest. It took everything I had to refuse it because I didn’t want to surrender. I didn’t want to change. The moment passed, but then when the invitation was over, I started crying. I couldn’t stop. I felt really sad inside, like I’d missed something important. The following week, I gave my life to Christ and got baptized, and now everything has changed. I’ve chosen faith in Jesus over everything, my old life, my family, everything.”

Over time, God has proven Himself faithful to Felisha by providing for her every need, those she knew about and those she didn’t. “The Doyens have become my parents,” Felisha says. “I consider them my mom and dad. I’ve bonded with them, and they are very supportive. They’ve taught me to stand on my own two feet and how to be a better mother.” Felisha pauses as tears begin to well. “I grew up in a dysfunctional family and had gotten used to it. I didn’t know the difference between good parenting and bad parenting. I wasn’t acting like an adult or making good decisions. The only discipline I knew was hitting and yelling, but they showed me other ways to discipline, how to follow through, and the importance of communicating with my son.”
 
“When Jimmy was a baby, I didn’t talk to him much,” Felisha continues, grieved by the memory. “I just changed him and fed him. That’s all. I didn’t realize you needed to do more. Now I read to him and talk to him and play with him—other babies, too—and it’s made a huge difference. He didn’t talk before we came here, but now he talks all the time. We have fun together! It’s surprising how quickly a child can go from zero to the top of the mountain with a little love and attention.”

Looking back, Felisha sees God’s hand at work in everything she’s been through, the good and the bad. “It’s amazing to me,” Felisha says, “how God can even take something that was wrong like what gave me Jimmy and turn it into something good. If I hadn’t had my son, I wouldn’t have been worried about my own safety, and I wouldn’t have come here. I wouldn’t have met the Doyens or heard about Jesus or had any hope for the future.”

Now full of hope for the future, Felisha offers her sincere thanks to those support OBHC financially. “You’ve played a big part in God’s plan for my life and made it possible for me to change. I truly appreciate you.”

June 2017



For privacy and safety reasons, some residents' names and/or photos have been changed.

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