Big Responsibility – Best Reward
by Kathy Williams
Most of us understand what it means to be settled into your life, working a stable job, raising your children, attending church and living a normal lifestyle. So, what would our response be if God called us to drastically step out of our routine and into the unknown? Would we be quick to respond or want to stay in our comfort zone?
Brian and Leah Ingraham recently experienced this calling. Brian worked for AT&T for 16 years, while Leah homeschooled their three sons. They were active in their faith, but felt something was missing. Brian says, “I felt God was calling us to do something different with our lives.”
Brian worked a few blocks away from Boys Ranch Town and was always curious to know more. He checked it out online to learn about the ministry and shared it with his wife. God began preparing the Ingraham’s for what would come next. In 2017, God opened the door for a houseparent position at Boys Ranch Town. They applied as and were accepted. They packed up and moved their three sons, ages 15, 17 and 19, to Boys Ranch Town, ready for a new adventure.
Immediately they realized how special this opportunity was for their family. Brian said, “It was clear this is where God wanted us.” While each day brings about various challenges and busyness caring for eight boys, as well as their own children, they both admit it doesn’t feel like a job. Brian states, “The stresses this role brings is not the same kind of stress as working elsewhere.” Being houseparents is about building relationships and trust, setting an example, loving children and being a role model. Leah says, “Sometimes the most important impact we may make is for children to see a different way of life. Many of the boys have not grown up with an example of a family being devoted to God, and our hope is they know there is something different and better than whatever they may be experiencing.”
Brian and Leah love seeing the joy when boys living on campus are able to have a “normal” childhood, learn things they never had the opportunity to experience otherwise, or begin to thrive under the shelter of discipline, structure and consequences. Best of all, Brian explains how God is moving. “My faith has been strengthened and encouraged by seeing how God has worked in the boys’ lives. Most boys come here with a little knowledge of Jesus. It’s great knowing His Word is getting out and permeating those environments,” Brian says. Leah adds, “Being in this position strengthens my faith because it causes me to examine myself more each day. It’s a big responsibility, but the best reward.”
Will you keep the Ingraham’s and all other houseparents in your prayers as they care for more than 200 children in Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children’s (OBHC) care? These families sacrifice time and comfort to invest in the lives of children in need. Their work allows OBHC to operate on a daily basis and share the love of Christ with each child at one of four campuses. Pray God will continue to prepare and build up houseparents who are willing to answer this specific calling on their lives. To those families considering if being houseparents is a possibility, Leah says, “Step out in faith. Our lives are so full and God provides.” Brian states, “What this opportunity provides is a chance to take impressionable kids at a hard age, teach them Biblical truths, the right way to go and help them understand they will impact society. Every day is a blessing.”