Headed in the Right Direction
by Angela Sanders, Freelance Writer
“…My Word… it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose…” Isaiah 55:11 (ESV)
Curious and friendly, 12-year-old Zach is always on the move and makes everyone feel like a friend. So far, living at Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC) has been an adventure for this charming young man, one that is changing the trajectory of his life for the better.
“I love it here,” Zach begins, “but I’m not a huge fan of the way we have to do school with the pandemic and everything. I just miss my friends at school and moving together in a group from class to class and teachers teaching me stuff face-to-face. It’s hard to focus without that. I miss socializing. It’s probably my favorite thing about school.”
Although Zach is studying hard, he would rather be riding dirt bikes. “I have one at my house,” Zach says, his face lighting up. “I used to ride it in my pasture on a dirt trail I made. I think I’ve ridden that trail like 200 times. There’s a pond out there, and I used to jump over it. The first time, I went full throttle and used my clutch and just pulled up. I made it, but I fell. The second time, I went over it no problem.”
Zach is not sure when he will be returning home, but he is looking forward to it.
“I like it here, but I miss my family,” Zach admits. “I got here five or six months ago. I just wasn’t listening to my parents. I got mad at them a lot, but I knew I should really be mad at myself. It was all my doing. I think I’m getting better, though. I at least say ‘no, ma’am’ and ‘yes, sir,’ stuff like that.”
Zach did not want to come to OBHC at first but is glad his parents placed him here. “I wanted to try and make myself change, but I know this is working a lot better. It’s way different from the last place I went. All they did was wake you up and say, ‘Get up’, but the houseparents here come in and say nicely, ‘Hey, time to get up, Zach. Breakfast is almost ready. Make sure you shower, okay?’ and all that kind of stuff. It’s nice. It shows they really care. This is a real home.”
Zach enjoys living with his houseparents, Mr. and Mrs. Embry. “We have the best cottage here, I think,” Zach says, “and one time, they took us to a go-cart place. We were racing, and I won. Trips like that are fun,” Zach continues, “but the Embrys are great all the time. They are nice and sweet and respectful to us. I appreciate that!”
Zach appreciates all the adults on campus. “They teach you rules and expect you to follow them. You can obey on your own and learn to make good choices. I’m in the horse program, and the director lets me know when I mess up, but then I get another chance to do right. She taught me discipline by letting me help take care of the horses. If I help take care of them, like clean, feed and brush them, I get to ride them. My favorite horse is Major. She’s beautiful looking and has this little diamond in the middle of her forehead.”
Zach is being challenged spiritually as well. “We go to church on Wednesday and Sunday and have different passages we read,” Zach says. Although he is not familiar enough with the Gospel to decide what he will do with it yet, Zach is interested in learning more. “I do like to talk to the Lord and all that,” Zach says, “and I think it helps.”
When Zach grows up, he would like to be a BMX racer and Christian singer. “I like listening to church songs,” he says with a smile. “There’s just something about them.” In the meantime, Zach is content to focus on personal growth so he can return home and spend some time with his two-year-old sister. “You should see her,” he smiles. “She’s just so cute!”
To those who have given Zach this opportunity at OBHC in a safe and loving environment, he offers his thanks. “You helped me get where I am now. I think I’ll be able to be friends with everybody now because I was here, and I want to have friends. I am so thankful for you.”