Just the Facts
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment…Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
Quiet and unassuming Terin is a watcher, very aware of her surroundings and what others expect of her. Eager to please, the pretty, yet stoic twelve-year-old sits delicately in the chair she is offered and nibbles at her meal as we talk. Ponytail askew from the playground, she swipes stray wisps of hair from her face at regular intervals, careful to employ her best manners at all times.
With simple words and a direct gaze, Terin explains that she has lived at OBHC for “a full year and a few months.” “I wasn’t doing very well with my aunt,” Terin says. “She thought it would be best for me to come here, and she was right.”
Terin enjoys school and is doing well. She has made some good friends and loves to learn. “We get to hang out sometimes,” she states, cradling an apple in her lap and waiting patiently to take a bite.
When asked how she likes to spend her time, Terin’s answer is direct and brief. “I like to play basketball outside and draw and decorate cards.” When pressed for details, she explains that she played defense on an Upwards basketball team last year called The Jazz and enjoyed it and that her interest in card decorating began when she was given a scrapbook by OBHC to fill with happy memories.
“I’ve made quite a few good memories so far,” Terin offers in her quiet way. “Christmas last year, Pumpkin Patch last year, Silver Dollar City, Christmas this year…” She asks to take a bite, an unnecessary gesture.
When she is finished chewing, Terin tells me that she attends Brookwood Baptist Church and “likes it a lot.” Right now, she is learning the books of the Bible.
It was at Brookwood that Terin began a personal relationship with Jesus. “I wanted to be a Christian, but I kept it to myself at first. Then, one day, I went down to the front and prayed. I had done that once at my aunt’s church just to do it, but this time I did it because Jesus told me to.”
When asked if Jesus has made a difference in her life, Terin nods, somber. “I think He’s made me calmer than I was.”
When asked who helped her pray, Terin cracks her first smile. “My houseparents,” she says. “They helped me.” At the mention of her houseparents, our conversation begins to pick up steam. “I haven’t been baptized yet,” Terin continues on her own, “but they are helping me learn about the Bible. They do devotionals with us and teach us things, like not to be greedy and to say ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ and wear something nicer than a T-shirt and pants on Sunday morning. It was hard to adjust at first, but they helped me. It’s good.”
Terin doesn’t even mind the chores that she is assigned or the bedtimes and time limits on sleeping in that her houseparents, the Saales, have set. “I don’t love it,” she giggles softly, “but I don’t mind.”
As Terin continues, her smile stays, and Cheetos start to disappear from her plate. “When I grow up,” she ponders out loud, “I want to be like my houseparents. They are really patient and willing to help us with anything. They help each other, too, and never really get mad. I haven’t ever seen them fight one time in a whole year!”
When Terin grows up, she thinks she might like to be either an architect or a doctor. “I like to draw things,” she reminds me, taking another bite of apple, “and I like to look at buildings like they have in New York or France. It would be cool to be a doctor, but not the kind that puts shots in other people’s arms.” She shakes her head, then laughs.
Terin is happy at OBHC and looks forward to spending more time under the Saales’ care as she learns what it means to live out her faith and explore God’s plan for her future. To those who support OBHC financially, Terin says with mature sincerity, “I appreciate all that you give to us. If I ever get to visit you, I’ll tell you so myself. I hope that happens.”