The Right Choice
“The Lord will guide you always…” Isaiah 58:11
Six years ago, tenth grader Troy chose Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children over other options for its bicycles and bananas.
“Hey,” Troy says with a shrug, “I’d never ridden a bike before. They had ‘em here…and lots of fruit, too! So….” Troy raises an eyebrow and flashes a charming grin.
“I was scared at first,” Troy admits. “I didn’t think I would have any friends, but my houseparents helped me through the first part, and I did get friends.” That’s not all Troy’s houseparents helped him with. “They talked about God a lot,” he remembers, “and I wasn’t familiar with that kind of stuff. I was only nine, you know? I was confused about it for a while, but they encourage us to ask questions, so I did.”
Eventually, Troy accepted Christ as his personal Savior at camp when he was eleven years old. “It’s made a huge difference in my life,” says Troy with a smile. “I didn’t really think it would, but it has. I’m not mad as often. Anger has been my main struggle in the past, but Jesus has helped me through stuff. When I’m feeling sad or depressed and don’t think anybody cares about me, He fills the hole.”
Troy receives the encouragement, support and guidance that he needs to grow into a capable, caring Christian adult from the adults at OBHC, all of whom make themselves available and go the extra mile to connect with the children in their care.
“I love them all,” says Troy with obvious sincerity, “my houseparents, the staff at the office, everybody. They’re fun! They actually like to go outside and play with us and stuff. The Jessups, they’re athletic and fun. They get all involved in what we’re doing, like right next to us. They play games. Sometimes he brings his Xbox out, and we get to do that with him. Mr. McKee, we’ve known each other a long time and have a really good relationship. We trust each other. I can tell him anything. He guides me a lot. He and his wife do. The Mooreheads, well, I didn’t know God at all before I came, and they helped me understand Him. They did and the McKees.”
Troy is well aware of the difference that spending time with adults like these has made in his life to this point and in the direction it’s headed. “I’ve learned patience from them,” he explains. “That’s one of the things I didn’t know about. That and hospitality—I’m really helpful around the house—and tolerance. Obedience and endurance, too. They teach by example and by talking about these things.”
Adulthood is far off yet, however, and Troy has much to occupy his mind in the meantime, things like school, how to spend his free time, and zeroing in on a career path. “I’m interested in a lot of things,” Troy explains, “I like to sing, fish, play video games, all that stuff, but reading is my favorite thing to do in the whole wide world. I’m actually writing a book right now. Mr. Benefiel is writing one, too, and that inspired me to try. As far as the future goes, I don’t know what I’ll land on yet. I’m kind of on a roll toward a career in IT, but I’m also interested in being a marine biologist or a pastry chef…maybe even a musician, although that’s pretty far down on the list.”
Thankfully, Troy has plenty of time to decide, and he is grateful to those who afford him the opportunity to do so in an environment where he is surrounded by mentors who love him and want to see him succeed. ”I can’t imagine my life without OBHC,” says Troy, serious. “I’m so grateful to be here. The people who give the money to help us, well, they’re great. They do so much more than just the basic stuff you would think of, too. They make this place really nice and a lot of fun and give us opportunities to do stuff and go places and learn. I’m pretty close to God because of them. If I could, I’d shake their hands.” Troy laughs and adds, “Who knows? I might even hug ‘em!”