by Angela Sanders, Freelance Writer
“…There is a friend who stays closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
Seventeen-year-old Krystyna’s zest for life is contagious. Warm and cheerful, she makes friends easily and everyone around her feel important.
“I’ve been here at Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC) three years,” Krystyna begins, grinning ear to ear.
“I came because my mom said I need more help,” Krystyna explains, expression suddenly serious, “My head’s not like everybody else, and she couldn’t help me. It was just me and her, so I had to sit around and watch TV a lot. I couldn’t go outside. I had to be safe. However I like everything about being here. Now I can go outside and I have lots of friends.” Giggling, she throws her arms wide for emphasis. “We have a playground, a basketball court, a swimming pool… and a whole bunch else to do.”
There are so many things I would like to do,” Shelby confides. “Today, I’m leaning toward forensic anthropology. That’s where you study bones and figure out the story behind them. A lot of people say I’m good at teaching. I used to play school with my sister. That was the only way I could get her to do homework. I had to teach it in a way she could actually learn. After working with her, I can look at someone and think, ‘Okay, I see how you learn. I can help you.’ See, some people can be told information and just remember it, but not everyone learns that way.”
“There’s three of us who like to make a tent in the play room and get under there and play games. It’s like I have a lot of sisters, and that’s good because one of my actual sisters died and my other sister moved out. My houseparents play with us, too, but they are also busy because it’s a big cottage and there’s several of us. They have a lot to do, like make chocolate chip pancakes and get me these glasses.” Krystyna holds her glasses out for inspection before adding, “They take good care of me.”
“They also teach me things like cooking, how to sweep, mop and do dishes. We read the Bible, too. Sarah is my favorite person in the Bible because she likes her husband a lot. I also know about Jesus. First, I know He is God. Then, He was born in Bethlehem and died for our sins. I asked Him in my heart. I pray and He keeps me company now. My grandma and grandpa passed away, my little baby sister passed away and my real dad passed away. I was almost alone, but now I have Jesus and all these people here at the children’s home.” Eyes glistening, Krystyna throws her arms wide again and smiles.
Someday, Krystyna hopes to be a teacher. “I have five A’s right now,” Krystyna announces, obviously proud, and adds “I’m faster than everybody in typing. I like school. I have lots of teachers and friends who help me. If I go this way and it’s wrong, they help me go that way. If I have trouble reading or doing something, they help me. I want to help other people like they help me because it feels good to get things right.”
However, Krystyna is in no hurry to leave the family she’s found at OBHC. “I love and miss my mom and want to talk to her all the times I can, but I want to stay here for a loooooooong time,” Krystyna says with a nod. “This feels like home, and I’m with my other family. I like living in the cottage.”
To those whose financial gifts provide Krystyna’s cozy cottage, she offers enthusiastic, heartfelt thanks. “Oh, wow! I don’t even know what to say to you, but you’re sooooo nice. You gave me food, like good sweets and bananas, new clothes, new shoes and everything else I have that I like. You also gave me good friends, and that’s really cool!”