Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children


Showing God's Love by Helping Children

Eloise Bradley

Eloise Bradley“My husband used to ask me, ‘How do you keep up with 250 rose bushes?’ I’d tell him it’s something you have to stay with everyday,” said Eloise Bradley about the garden she once maintained.

Staying with it every day is something Bradley also practices in her faith, which has remained steady through such trials as the loss of a spouse after 41 years of marriage, a lifetime of epilepsy, and a recent fall. Her first seizure occurred when she was only 19 years old.

“You praise God anyhow, no matter what, and you continue to make him first,” she said. Bradley and her husband, John, met when they were students at Oklahoma Baptist University. He studied chemistry and later became a chemist for Tinker Air Force Base. She went on to continue her education at Oklahoma State University and majored in dietetics. The couple had two children, David and Sharon, built a home in Shawnee, traveled in their fifth-wheel together, and helped the Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC) with clothing, monetary, and music instrument donations. Helping OBHC was a passion that started when Bradley was a child.

“My heart is with the Children’s Home, it always has been. I can say that it started with my mother and grandmother. Both of them enjoyed helping with children’s homes,” she said. “When we married, John had a love for the Children’s Home, too, and it was something we shared.”

But life together changed when John developed cancer. The doctors told him he had six months to live, Bradley recalls. “The Lord gave him 12 years. I know he was concerned and didn’t want to leave me because he didn’t think I could get around because of my epilepsy. At the end, I sat in the hospital with him for several months and not even the morphine was helping him. I finally whispered to him, ‘John, when the Lord calls you home, it’s OK. I’ll be OK,’” she said.

Her husband died in 2004 and the following spring Bradley faced another change. She moved from her Shawnee home to the Baptist Village of Oklahoma City, where she continues to maintain a small garden, lives near friends, swims at least three days a week, and has transportation to and from activities.

Recently, Bradley shared her excitement about OBHC’s style show for children which she was unable to attend because of a seizure that led to her recent fall.

“In the past, the children would get used clothing for school. Now churches take up money so that the kids can have new clothes for school. The style show is where they get to show off their new clothes,” Bradley explained.

In May 2007, OBHC presented Bradley with a plaque, naming her as a member of the Truman and Alice Maxey Legacy Society, an honor given to those who have made a gift to the organization through their will or trust. “When I’m helping children, I feel like I’m doing something that God has instructed us to do; it’s a ministry to meet their needs,” she said.

As Bradley thought about her goal to help children, she learned about the Foundation’s Deferred Flexible Charitable Gift Annuity, which is a combination of a gift to charity and an annuity. Payments are deferred to the future when Bradley needs the funds, and ultimately, the charity she has chosen, OBHC, will receive her gift.

“I think God put me here to help others, whether it’s helping children or a friend or playing the piano twice a week for the church services here at the Village,” she said. “It’s a way to show God’s love to other people.”

The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma | Generosity Magazine | Fall 2007
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