Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children


How Much Should One Give Back?

Betty Bishop says, "A lifetime."

I’m an independent young woman focused on the goals I have set for my career. I’m planning to begin classes towards my master’s degree. Eventually, I want to have a family. I’d like to buy a big old house and restore it. I want to travel and see as much as I can. I long to experience Europe. In fact, there are many things I want to see, do, and accomplish in my life.

Having said that, imagine my amazement in sitting down with a remarkable Christian woman who at my age had put "her goals" aside, not for a year, not for a decade, but a lifetime.

Betty Irene Bishop is a fascinating 85 year-old woman with the memory of a child. One could sit and listen to her for hours tell stories about her 40+ years of service to the Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children.

Betty remembers the summer of 1929 clearly as if it were yesterday. The pastor at her home church of First Baptist Hartshorne made the announcement that the "food truck" from the Children’s Home would be coming to the church the following week. Betty tells of gathering can goods with her mother and donating what little they had to the children. Little did she know, that she was giving to the Home that in just a year would be her new home.

Betty was able to relate to the children in a way that other employees could not. She knew first-hand what the children were going through, as she herself is an orphan. She arrived at the Children’s Home in 1930 at age 13 after her mother passed away. Her father had passed away when she was eight, and her two older brothers (her only siblings) had passed away prior to her father’s death.

Upon leaving the Children’s Home, Betty worked in Oklahoma City as a nanny. Two years later she returned. "I felt the call to come back," said Betty. "I knew it was what the Lord wanted for me."

When Betty started working at the Children’s Home in June of 1942 she began as an assistant housemother making only $25 per month. She felt even then that it was important to save something, so she put aside $10 each month in an American Express account.

Later Betty worked as a cook, activity coordinator, and as an assistant in the infirmary. Following that, she served as a full-time housemother for 35 years until she retired in 1982.

During her tenure at the Children’s Home, "Mama Betty" (as she was affectionately known) ministered to over 700 children. She said the most difficult part was getting attached to the children and then having to watch them move on.

Betty said God blessed her time at the Children’s Home. "He gave me opportunities to share my faith with the children." Many children did not come from Christian homes, she noted.

When asked to comment on her lifetime spent at the Children’s Home, Betty said, "I’ll always be grateful to the Home and to the Baptists of Oklahoma—that’s something I really can’t put into words."

After retirement Betty went to live at the Baptist Retirement Center and work on a part-time basis. After 13 years of employment with the Retirement Center, she decided to "retire again." She currently lives in an assisted care apartment at the Center and still volunteers when she can.

In addition to "giving back" a lifetime of service to the Children’s Home, Betty will continue to give back to Oklahoma Baptists long after she has gone to be with the Lord. Betty has set up an estate plan with The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma and upon her death will be giving back through outright gifts and endowment to the Children’s Home and the Retirement Center.

Miss Betty Bishop, 88, passed away August 27, 2005. She was a child at the Baptist Orphans Home coming at age 13, then served over 40 years as a houseparent.

If you would like to learn more about how you can give back to Baptist ministries, please call The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma at 800.949.9988.

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