Making it Count

by Angela Sanders, Freelance Writer

“I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart.” Psalm 138:1

Sensitive and practical, 14-year-old Dara is grateful for God’s provision in her life and determined to apply that life to something worthwhile. “I’ve been at Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC) for almost two years now,” Dara begins. “My sister lived here for a year back in 2015. Then my grandfather brought her back home. I saw the changes living here made in her life and thought, ‘Hey, I want to try that!’”

“I really appreciate the opportunities I have here, like showing animals. I think taking care of animals builds responsibility, and that feels good. I also like getting to go to church every Sunday and Wednesday and being involved with the youth group. We go to Falls Creek and do Disciple Now weekends. We went to church back at home, but just rarely.”

Dara gave her heart to Jesus a couple of years ago. “My brother passed away in 2018,” Dara says. “He and some friends went swimming in the creek, and they jumped off the dam. The creek was flooded, so the current was really strong, and they got sucked under. I wasn’t on the right track in my life. It was a wake-up call for me. My grandfather had grown up in a Christian home, so I told him what God was saying to me. Two or three months later, I surrendered my life to Jesus. It was a hard time, so I started getting off track again, but then I rededicated my life at Falls Creek and have just been climbing upwards since then.”

Dara is grateful for the spiritual guidance her houseparents provide. “Besides giving us the opportunity to go to church so much, we have a cottage devotional every day,” Dara says.

“I like knowing I’m starting a habit now that will help me my whole life, so I do it. I’m following a plan to read the Bible through in a year. I think I’m a little over halfway finished.”

Someday, Dara hopes to become an aviationist. “I used to want to be a veterinarian,” she explains, “but my brother wanted to be an aviationist and never got to be one, so now I’m going to do it.”

Dara is currently attending school online and taking advantage of every opportunity to prepare for her future. “I really enjoy school online,” Dara says. “It gives me freedom in my schedule, and I get to move at my own pace. In a classroom, they try to keep everyone together, so you sometimes have to move on when you aren’t ready. Now, I can stop and get help when I need it. I used to struggle with anxiety at school where there’s a lot of social pressure, so it’s nice to be home. I still get to see my friends at church, so that’s good.”


Dara is also earning money and learning how to budget. “At home, I didn’t have to do chores. When I first got here, I was like, ‘Why do I have to do these things?’ I came to the realization that responsibility is rewarding. I also know how to budget. If I spend over my budget for snacks, then I have to take money out of the next month. I realize not everyone gets allowance or gets to do work-for-pay programs in the summer. When I grow up, I’ll probably have a job that pays every two weeks, and I’ll have to make that last. I’ve learned how to wait, so I don’t get behind.”

Dara appreciates the generous support of OBHC donors. “Thank you for this place,” Dara says. “You don’t just do a little bit so kids who are in trouble can have some furniture, food and clothes, but you make it so we can have nice things. Here I am, basically living in a really big family with seven girls right now, and the pantry stays stocked, we get nice clothes, get to go out to eat and we get to ride around in nice vans. That’s just so awesome! It really does mean a lot, and I truly appreciate it.”