Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

 

A Warm Welcome

"Whoever welcomes one child like this in my name welcomes me." Matthew 18:5

Smiley, but shy sixteen-year-old Samantha has only been at Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC) for a few months, but she's already put down roots, making a conscious choice to befriend those around her and focus on the future instead of the past.

Samantha reading a book
"I really wanted to come here," Samantha explains, dark eyes wide. "I've been very happy here. It's been even more than I expected. I was scared at first because I don't make friends very easily. I'm not usually myself until I'm completely comfortable with someone, so I thought I'd be alone for a while, but my roommate was so nice and so welcoming. Even on the first day at my new school, she found me and asked how my day was going. Now we sit together every day at lunch."

Samantha also appreciates the warm welcome she received from her houseparents. "I wanted them to like me," Samantha admits. "I thought if I didn't get along with them, I wouldn't get to stay, but they made it easy. Now we're really close. I make ridiculous jokes and they actually laugh at them."

Samantha smiles before continuing. "They've actually helped me a lot spiritually, too. When I first came here, my relationship with God was non-existent. I told people I was a Christian because that was what was expected of me. I didn't think I had a choice, and that frustrated me. I didn't want to talk about God or pray. I didn't know if I could believe in Him because I'd cried out to God before, and He didn't answer me the way I wanted Him to."

"The adults here did just the right thing with me," Samantha says with a grateful smile. "They didn't pressure me to believe or even participate. They just waited until I was ready to ask questions. When I did, they answered the questions, and then when we were all 100 percent sure I knew what I was doing, I got saved. Now they're helping me understand what to do next. When I think about something that doesn't match their opinion, they don't act disappointed or upset or anything, and if they don't know something they admit it and go find out the answer. I know I can trust them."

Someday, Samantha hopes to be a counselor to teenagers who've experienced trauma. "I had a counselor once who really affected my life and was there when I needed him," Samantha confides. "Now I have these people. I just want to be there for others the way people have been there for me."

If Samantha continues along her current academic trajectory, reaching her professional goals shouldn't be a problem. "I've always liked school," Samantha admits, her ever-present smile broadening. "I have good grades, but I was worried at first. My new school is way bigger than the one I came from, but I'm getting used to it. I really like the way the teachers teach. They're very focused in and personal, and most of them like to demonstrate things for you. That's how I learn, so it helps."

"My favorite subject is English," Samantha continues, clearly enjoying the topic. "I have always loved reading and writing. I like to write stories and poems, and I journal a lot, too. I let people read my poems, but I don't like people to read my stories because they're so personal."

Someday, Samantha will have to decide between Oklahoma State University and the University of Arkansas, the top two colleges on her wish list, but she's in no rush to leave the comfort of her new OBHC home or those who have wrapped her warmly in their collective embrace.

To the OBHC donors who have provided that comfort, Samantha says with enthusiasm, "Thank you so much for all you've done. You have no idea how much this experience has changed me. My future is going to be so much better now because of you. I really have God in my life, and I know how life is supposed to go because I've seen it with my own eyes. Now I can aim for that and trust God to help me get there."

September 2018


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