With Sprinkles on Top
“Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.” Proverbs 23:12
Thanks to the Lord and Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, nine-year-old Jessica’s future is as full of promise as she is full of energy, and she can hardly wait to tell me about it.
“My dream is to be able to explore more about earth than we already know,” Jessica announces, spindly legs crossed at the knee, slender fingers wrapping the front edge of her seat. “Of course, I already know a whole lot. I want to be a scientist, I guess. I’ve been reading science books since I was a young age, probably seven.” She laughs. “I was already smart before I started reading them, though.”
Tired of sitting in the same position, Jessica stands and leans just far enough across the desk to watch me type. “But I also want to be a preacher,” she adds. “Preachers are kind of exciting. They get to teach others about God. I only knew a little bit about that before I came here, not much at all. The last time I went to church before I came here was with my grandparents. They are both Christians.”
Jessica suddenly stills and grows silent. I look up to find her watching me intently. “Are you a Christian?” she asks, sincere concern turning her mouth into a slight frown. I assure her that I am, but she is not convinced. Like a puppy waiting for a treat, she tilts her pretty little face to the side and waits. Touched by her concern, I share my testimony. It seems to satisfy.
“Hey,” Jessica exclaims, almond eyes wide with wonder, “did you know that God knows everything you are going to say before you say it? He also knows everything you’re thinking before you think it. He even knows every sin you’re going to sin before you sin, and it’s cool because He SENT JESUS ANYWAY!” Jessica waits for the magnitude of this Truth to sink in before taking a seat in the chair once again, sideways.
“Well, anyway, Jesus died for our sins,” Jessica continues, “and I started being a Christian a month after I came here. I’m not baptized yet. I’m not quite ready to be baptized. At church, we’re learning things like the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments. I’ve known all that since I was four. My dad was a Christian because he’s my Christian grandparents’ son, and that’s how it usually works.”
Jessica enjoys living at OBHC. “When I first came here, I was kind of sad because I was going to miss my family, but happy because I knew that I was going to learn more stuff than I knew when I came here. Learning is kind of like the icing on the cake, I guess, but what I didn’t know was that I was going to get icing and sprinkles!” Jessica chuckles at her own clever metaphor and jumps up to check my computer screen to make sure that I’m recording her every word.
“I love my houseparents,” Jessica smiles, taking a seat and hugging her knees up to her chest this time. “I like how they discipline us. You can tell they love us. If they didn’t, we’d probably be starving and wearing dirty clothes or clothes that were too small for us, but instead, they do devotionals with us and teach us.”
Jessica is proud of the progress she’s made in the few months that she’s been at OBHC. “I know if I didn’t come here, I would still be acting sinful because that’s how I acted before I came here, but I am starting to get used to the fact that God will protect me. I just used to be afraid. I would say the only thing I don’t do right still is putting my clothes in the laundry. I need to work on that. Of course, that’s a new thing I’m just learning. Everything else I’m doing pretty much has improved.”
Jessica is grateful to those who support OBHC financially. “If I could talk to those people, I would thank them for the food they give. I would thank them for this campus. I’m really thankful that there is a place like this. I’m thankful for the animal barn.” With a blink and a smile, she adds, “I’m just thankful for all of it.”