“If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
Some children learn sooner than others that the world can be a scary place. Sisters Emily (9) and Audra (7), are two such children. Thanks to the vigilance of a family acquaintance, the girls were given a second chance at a happy life and have now found a home where they feel comfortable enough to laugh and dance and sing in front of a complete stranger.
“We are safe here,” says Emily, obviously set free by the thought. Her legs crossed, she bounces a bit on the edge of a day bed as she explains. “There are cameras and alarms, and all the doors lock!”
Standing, Audra nods in agreement, eyes wide. “I like it. It’s really good here.”
Emily and Audra have not been residents of OBHC for long, but they have already begun to form a bond with their houseparents, David and Lieschen Saale. “They CARE about us,” says Emily, raising her eyebrows for emphasis.
Wringing her hands, Audra takes a step forward and adds, “They’re nice and pretty and helpful and not ever mean.”
The girls are enjoying school and making progress after having fallen behind back home. They are proud of their efforts and appreciate the praise their teachers offer, but don’t feel much like discussing school after just having left it. However, they are more than happy to talk about church, agreeing that getting to attend is probably their favorite thing about living at OBHC.
“I love it!” Emily announces. “I bet I’ve learned half the Bible already. Right now, we’re talking about how Jesus came to Bethlehem to help people.”
Excited, Audra nods and takes another step forward. “Yeah, and I’m learning about Lottie Moon,” she adds. “She was strong and brave. She’s also short.” On the small side herself, Audra holds a hand just above her head parallel to the ground to illustrate. When asked whether she would like to be like Lottie Moon, she nods an emphatic ‘yes.’
“We’re also learning about the devil,” says Emily with a scowl. “How he goes all over the world trying to hurt people…”
“…And Jesus,” Audra interrupts, inching closer.
“Yes,” Emily agrees. “Jesus is bigger than anything!”
Audra, now at my side, leans in and whispers, eyes wide and blinking. “He’s definitely bigger than Lottie Moon!”
Emily laughs and begins to dance. “We get to SING,” she announces with a bit of vibrato, “and worship GOD!” The girls begin to giggle and dance in a circle.
When asked what she would like to be when she grows up, Emily settles instantly and answers quickly, “A police officer, so I can protect people.”
Also serious once again, Audra echoes her sister with a nod, “To protect people.”
“And another thing,” Emily announces. “Someday, I won’t let my kids go through anything bad. I’m going to make sure.”
Audra agrees, “I’m going to be kind and helpful.”
To those whose financial gifts have provided them safe-haven at OBHC, Emily and Audra offer their sincere and enthusiastic thanks. “If we weren’t here,” Emily explains, “our life would be really bad, and we might have turned out bad, like when we were in high school or something.”
Audra nods, “Thank you for taking us here.” Pointing to the next room where her houseparents sit at the kitchen table, she adds, “I love them.”