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Nicer

by Angela Sanders, Freelance Writer
Dakoda


“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

Although he’s only lived at OBHC for “a year and some months,” eleven-year old Dakoda can already tell being here has changed the direction of his life. Reluctant to talk about himself, but grateful for the opportunity to sing the praises of campus staff, he shares his story with a shy smile, his enthusiasm no less obvious for his soft-spoken demeanor.

“My mom brought me here because I kept getting in trouble with my friends and ran away from home,” Dakoda admits. “I didn’t want to come at first, but I didn’t know it was going to be this beautiful. I liked it the second I got here, and after that, I didn’t have any more worries.”

Dakoda

Upon his arrival at OBHC, Dakoda made quick connections. “It was a Friday night,” Dakoda says. “I met my houseparents and some of the other boys in the cottage. We went outside and started playing immediately. James let me drive his remote control car. I thought that was nice, and I felt like I was home.”

One of ten siblings, six of whom lived at home, Dakoda used to have a hard time finding an acceptable outlet for his energy. At OBHC, this is no longer a struggle. “We have all kinds of programs and activities,” Dakoda says, clearly anxious to join his friends, who can be heard playing just outside. “You can swim, go to the gym, play basketball, football, ping pong, pool…there’s everything you could want. You can get to know new people and make friends. Sometimes we go to the movies, the zoo or amusement park. It’s great!”

Over time, the initial connections Dakoda made have developed into deep bonds. “I really like my houseparents,” Dakoda says. “They’re nice, kind, fun and funny. I can trust them. If I get in trouble, they just take me to the office and talk to me so I won’t do it again. That’s all, just talk…and it works, usually.” Dakoda laughs. “There’s something different about them. They are really kind and patient. I know it must be hard with so many boys, but I think they are how they are because of God.”

Since coming to OBHC, Dakoda has heard the gospel story many times. As he considers what his response to it will be, Dakoda enjoys learning many Bible stories and finds heroes he can look up to and admire. “We just learned about Gideon and his 300 men,” Dakoda says, eyes bright. “They defeated a whole army even though Gideon was the smallest and weakest.” Clearly impressed, Dakoda continues with a nod. “If you trust God, He’ll help you.”

Dakoda isn’t sure what he wants to be when he grows up, but if God gives him a family, he plans to imitate the Christian men he’s gotten to know at OBHC. “If I ever do have kids, I would definitely do devotionals with them like we do here,” Dakoda says. “They won’t always like it, but it will be good for them. Also, I wouldn’t ever hurt them. I would teach them not to steal. I’d love them and be a good dad. I’d also try to be funny and make everyone feel happy.” 

Dakoda isn’t sure how long he will remain at OBHC, but is soaking up every moment he’s given. To those whose financial gifts provide those moments, he is profoundly grateful. “Thank you for supporting us, donating and helping us be who we really are,” Dakoda says. “If I didn’t get to come here, I would probably be lazy, sleeping on the couch, and eating bowls of noodles. I’d probably also be running around after curfew breaking windows and stuff, but you give us good food, a room to sleep in, and comfortable beds. That makes a big difference. It makes us nicer, and you had a lot to do with that change.”