Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

 

Back on Track

“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and, at the end, you will be counted among the wise.” Proverbs 19:20

GunnarUnusually charming for his age and social by nature, twelve-year-old Gunnar is a relatively new Christian. In a sincere effort to win his friends to the Lord, he was swept into the current of their culture and quickly found himself doing things unbecoming a follower of Jesus Christ.

“I was nine or ten when people first started talking to me about God,” says Gunnar, tossing a sandy forelock back into place. “I kind of felt pushed, so I didn’t want to be around those people. Then my family started going to church, and I started to feel like God really wanted to do something in my life, so I accepted Jesus and was baptized.”

“The people I started hanging out with changed drastically,” Gunnar continues. “I wasn’t hanging around Christian kids so much any more because they already knew Jesus. I wanted to be around people who needed to be told without being pushed. I would spend more time with them than going out and playing basketball with my other friends because I was looking for a chance to tell them about Jesus.”

Gunnar was able to lead several of his new friends to Christ, but immersion in their world had an equally significant impact on him. “I started having trouble with other people and getting into fights,” Gunnar admits with a sheepish grin, “mainly at school. I don’t really even know why.”

Discouraged by his own behavior, Gunnar was grateful for the opportunity to get away from everything, refocus, and regroup at Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children(OBHC). So far, the experience has been everything he hoped it would be. 

“It’s helped me a lot,” Gunnar says, hazel eyes sincere. “I’ve learned to count to three, take a deep breath, and wait for the anger to pass by so I can think straight and walk away before something starts.”

In addition to giving Gunnar practical advice such as this to help him in the short term, his house parents, the Ingrams, have invested in him spiritually so he’ll be equipped to fulfill his calling without stumbling in the future.

“When I first got here, they told me we’d be doing a devotional everyday,” Gunnar says with a smile. “I’d never really done that before, so I was excited about it. THEN they told me we were getting up early to do it.” Gunnar sits up straight and laughs. “I was like, ‘Oh, man!’ But then I started learning stuff and seeing what the Bible had to say to me and I started looking forward to it. For instance, the Bible says we’re supposed to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. That’s really helped me a lot.”

“People always told me before—and I wouldn’t believe them—that I couldn’t possibly be right all the time,” Gunnar admits, “but I’m starting to see that’s true. Everyone is wrong sometimes. Everyone makes mistakes. You have to admit it for the greater good and just walk away. You have to communicate and be honest about yourself so God can do what He needs to do.”

Having learned even more than he anticipated from his temporary residence at the OBHC, Gunnar looks forward to returning home in the near future, but he’ll miss all the people he’s gotten to know and come to trust. He rattles off a long list of boys who have become good friends. “They’re all great, and the Ingrams are cool. Mr. Ingram is really funny, and Mrs. Ingram is super competitive. She likes to play basketball with us and really gets into it. It’s funny how serious she gets, but no matter what, she and Mr. Ingram show people respect. I appreciate that. It’s a good example.”

Someday, Gunnar hopes to be a nurse like his mother and have a family of his own, and he feels sure that when that day comes, he’ll be able to look back and fully appreciate the impact his stay at the OBHC had on his life. “I’m probably learning things and skills that I’m not even aware of,” Gunnar muses, lacing his fingers together and leaning forward, “There’s no way I can see it all right now because I’m a kid, but what I do see is already enough for me to know that this has been good for me, life-changing.”

To those who support OBHC financially, Gunnar says with a toothy smile, “I’m grateful for what you’ve done for me. I know you didn’t have to do it and that it was just out of the goodness of your hearts that you did. I wish I could look each of you in the eye and say, ‘God bless’ so you’d know I really mean it.”

January 2018


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