Finding Safety

The Lord is truly working in our Homes for Families ministry! A young woman named Klavdia came to Homes for Families last month but left only a few days later. She was confused and emotionally tormented. The enemy was coming at her from all angles through the controlling and abusive relationship she had recently fled. She started to settle in at Homes for Families when she decided to leave. She was not gone very long before she realized that Homes for Families is where she needed to be even though the enemy was fighting for her to leave. Through many prayers, Godly counsel and unending support, she decided to return! Klavdia began to do her daily devotional and stayed in constant communication with her resident coordinator. She finally broke through the confusion and emotional torment she had been experiencing.

Since returning to Homes for Families she says she now feels safe. She discovered the things her abuser had used to hurt and shame her and started to move past them. She has also been able to find it in her heart to forgive her abuser as well as others who have hurt her in the past. She said, “Now I don’t have to worry about any of that in the past. I can focus on my Bible, the Lord and the future He has for me and my children!”

We are so thankful for the counselors, resident coordinators and other staff who provide endless support and open arms to mothers and their children. Please join us in praying for Klavdia and the other mothers and children on our Homes for Families campuses.

A Story of Hope

Every day STCH Ministries Family Counseling provides care when individuals, couples, and families need help sorting through the challenges of life. Recently a counseling client from Victoria shared her story of hope with us. Here it is in her own words.

Preparing to Serve

Monica and her husband Ken recently participated in our Faith & Work and Faith & Finances courses in Corpus Christi. They attended Faith & Work because they were looking for a ministry opportunity that could really help people to further the kingdom. Throughout the course, they were reminded, “God loves us and that through the Holy Spirit, He graciously has given us different gifts and skills that help us to do the work that He wants us to do.” Concepts of Vision Maps and Smart Goals were just a couple of the tools shared to help further their career goals and ministry visions. Monica and Ken are thankful for this course and are confident that God will continue to do the work in their lives that He promised when they gave their lives to Jesus.

During Faith & Finances, they learned the value of handling their money in a Godly way, realizing everything they have already belongs to Him. Monica shares, “We were reminded of some principles of saving, budgeting and spending that would help us to be free to be able to share more of our money with others, as God would have us do.” Instilling these principles into their finances allowed them to save money immediately and even share more financially with others.

Monica and Ken share that they were truly blessed by both of these classes and will use the skills they have learned to further their ministry. They are interested in giving back and even plan to be future facilitators for the Faith & Finances course in Corpus Christi! “I know He will use the skills that we learned to bless individuals and companies that take these courses,” Monica shared. We invite you, your family or your organization to participate in one of these courses.

Beyond Fishing – Making Disciples

“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,” Jesus challenged Peter and Andrew. Short years later, Jesus refined and extended His calling, “Go, and make disciples of all nations.”

The key component of Jesus’ command is GO! Into all the world doesn’t eliminate my neighbor or work associates, but it does include the world beyond. Making disciples is substantially more than, “Share the Gospel.” Succinctly stated by David Platt, “We are to share the word, show the Word, teach the Word, serve the World.”

Showing the Word requires relationship. International missional effectiveness requires more than “throwing-seed-out-and-hoping-it-grows.” Consistent, personal involvement, doing “life” together– sharing testimonies over a meal, mixing concrete, building a bed, sewing, sponsoring a child—activities that build relationships. WUBC and Crosspoint churches from Houston (now known as City Rise) have served in the Dominican Republic since 2013. One young lady brought piles of costly fabrics inherited from a beloved grandmother and three sewing machines. Building relationships as they shared interests, and met needs, Dominicans and Americans created garments and curtains. One machine was donated to the orphanage, and the other two machines were awarded to a Haitian mother and an older grandmother. “God sent you! He answered my prayers to help me provide for my family.”

The Guaricanos school ministers to children trapped in cycles of poverty, abuse, abandonment, and alcohol. Jesus and education are their only hope. Each day the team shared the Gospel and taught the Word through drama and songs at  VBS. The staff will visit the families and follow up with children who made decisions.

Small groups of 3-5 shared life with Dominican families at supper one evening. They served other destitute families with donations of food. They sponsored a special tea for young ladies with handcraft and a devotional.

At the medical clinics, patients received prayer and spiritual support, in addition to meeting their physical needs. Back at the IBQ site, others built benches, and helped build a home for a Samuel’s Fund sponsored family—serving Christ through hammering, sanding, digging, mixing cement, and carrying cinder blocks. Lives and entire families are changed through the work of mission teams, who return year after year to live out Christ’s call to “make disciples.”

“I was a falling-down drunk who could only provide a two-room shack with a shared neighborhood outhouse. My family accepted Christ through an evangelistic service. They kept telling me about their Jesus, but I ignored them. Our situation became desperate. Bags of sugar, flour, rice and beans made God’s love real. Soon their Jesus became MY Jesus.”

“My children accepted Christ through VBS and my wife followed. They were chosen for sponsorship. I saw the difference in their lives, and I reached out to Christ. We grew in our Christian walk through continued ministries–VBS, English camps, children’s activities and construction projects. They even rebuilt our house. People have seen the change in our lives, and they listen when I tell them about Jesus.”

WUBC-Crosspoint has shared the love of Christ and helped others to experience the life of Christ through teaching, showing and serving for many years. Not a one-and-done mission trip. International missional effectiveness requires a long-term commitment to the process of making disciples, empowering those disciples to reproduce God’s call in their own language to their own families and neighborhoods.

 
Blessing young women with tea, testimonies and handcrafts 

Bendiciones,

Joanna Berry
Joanna Berry
Vice President of Family and International Ministries
STCH Ministries

iCare 2022

On Tuesday, August 2nd, STCH Ministries Family Counseling hosted our 6th Annual iCare Conference. STCH Ministries Family Counseling created this conference as a way to reach people who help people. The attendees included teachers, counselors, pastors, church staff and others who work to impact the lives of others. Attendees received continuing education credits for the breakout sessions they attended but more than that, they heard from professionals about various topics that will help them grow in their field.

This year’s breakout sessions included Understanding Generation Z, Raising Highly Capable Kids, The Brain and Body on Stress: How Stress and Trauma Impacts Us and many othersThe last session of the day was taught by Cheryl Miller from Quantum Circles Consulting and Training. Cheryl shared about surviving the work of helping others and how to turn challenges into opportunities for the miraculous. Due to the heaviness of the topics, comedian Mike Goodwin brought humor to the lunch break and showed how there is healing through laughter and encouragement. 

STCH Ministries is thankful for all the individuals who made iCare a success, including the presenters for their time and effort in preparing for this event. Also, thank you to Parkway Church Victoria for allowing us to use their facilities for the day. For more information on STCH Ministries Family Counseling visit, https://www.stchm.org/family-counseling/.

Kingdom Impact

When it’s all said and done, at the end of our lives or at the end of a mission trip, what will remain?

For those who follow Christ, this thought accompanies our actions—an unvoiced whisper in our subconscious or a louder drumbeat in our hearts—perhaps alternating between both extremes. Possibly for mission team participants who make the effort to step out in faith, to fly our uncertain skies, to disembark into an unfamiliar country surrounded by loud, unintelligible voices–for those individuals, the answer to “What impact will my life make?  Is it worthy?” is crucial.

Calvert Grace from Maryland and Trinity Baptist from Kerrville, Texas made an unusual team—only God could have put them together seamlessly, united in heart and purpose. Combining talents allowed them tremendous versatility in ministries. Mornings were spent sewing curtains, training teachers, rebuilding a house and building beds for Samuel’s Fund children. In the afternoon they joined the IBQ church in developing the unevangelized area of La Ceiba with a VBS for younger children and a sports camp for the older ones, where several children gave their hearts and lives to Christ.

Early one morning they loaded a bus for the orphanage in Santiago—in some ways a heart-heavy experience, loving on children marked with severe abuse and tragedy. Although they receive food, clothing, medical, education and the knowledge of a loving Savior, they are raised without a personal family environment. It was encouraging to learn that the majority are now spending weekends, or longer with a Dominican family (known as missionary families) and some have been permanently placed in those families. Permanent couples would be ideal, and they are committed to search for these. With only a few hours to invest, what can a group do in Jesus’ name? The only answer, “Love.”  One team, many children, few hours. Yet, for those hours, children smiled and laughed. Children were heard—not as a group, but individually. You are loved. You are important. We trust the Spirit will continue to confirm and reaffirm their worth and value through more visits, and through others who invest on a consistent basis in these children.  And we trust that the team members will continue an earnest prayer ministry for these children and the Mercy Network Home. 

Students Giving Back

Last week, students from STCH Ministries Homes for Children traveled to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip with STCH Ministries International. The week started with them building bookshelves to deliver to an orphanage. They took turns cutting, drilling and sanding the pieces until five bookshelves were completed and ready to be delivered the following day. They enjoyed seeing their finished pieces installed at the orphanage when they went for a visit which also included activities with the kids at the orphanage and a tea party for the house moms. The rest of the week they spent digging a trench for the foundation of a new house. The house belongs to the family of two Samuel’s Fund students and other mission teams will work to complete the house throughout the summer. Through the heat, the students pushed to finish the trench before they left. Dominican ministry partners commented on how impressed they were by the work ethic of the students. The students also hosted a VBS for a local church and loved getting to interact with the kids despite the language barrier. Throughout the week the students talked about the impact the week had on their lives, from gaining an appreciation for the opportunities they have to learning how to find joy and thank God even for the small things or hard times. All of them were excited to come back home and share how God moved through them and in them. STCH Ministries is thankful for the opportunity for these two ministries to work together to change lives. 

Unforgettable Moments

The Comical and the Inspirational

On a mission trip, God speaks individually to each person—through laughter, in singing or in a child’s eyes, during painting, playing, devotions on the rooftop, or a food delivery.  In early June, Hunters Glen Baptist from Plano joined First Baptist from Kenedy to serve together in the Dominican Republic.
Sunday morning at IBQ church was “a picture of heaven,” reported Marcia.

The Spanish and English words of hymns sung at full volume,
gave new meaning to the ancient words,
“This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long!”
One afternoon the group gathered groceries and visited the humble zinc-roofed home of Meisy Mercedes, a sponsored child living with her grandmother. “How can we pray for you?”  Her response? Not toys, or clothes, or an Iphone. “Pray that my family will be complete in Christ, that my grandmother will accept Jesus.”

Ladies took turns sewing curtains for Raquel’s school.  Some would measure, others would cut, and others would sew.  But no matter how diligently they worked, the curtains weren’t coming out the same size. Frustration turned to laughter when they compared their measuring tapes—tapes marked 60 inches were different lengths!

Meeting their sponsored child in person provided special memories.  Celine Alvarez cried with joy and disbelief when she was told that her sponsors wanted to meet her.  She had been sponsored for 7 years by the children’s ministry of Hunter’s Glen.

On the opposite end of those emotions was Enmanuel.  Tina’s family have been sponsoring for 2 years, and they knew that Enmanuel was misbehaving and failing in school.  Imagine his surprise and embarrassment when his sponsor showed up, speaking Spanish, and talked with him about his behaviors. “I’ll be back next year to check on you!”

The group traveled to the Higuey boys home, and spent two days with them.  Building a porch, painting, sharing devotional time along with a mountain of pizzas—but their most precious memories were loving and playing with 25 boys.
“I was reminded that God is always good, always faithful.”  “I was blessed to see love in action.” “ I was nudged to invest in our youth at home.” “I met a child that needs a sponsor.”  God spoke personally, and willing hearts responded to His call.

One Life

A family group from First Woodway Baptist Church, joined a group of pre-PA students from Baylor to give Spring Break, 2022, a special meaning—for themselves and for over 350 children and families in the Dominican Republic.  Arriving at the Las Americas airport, any lingering COVID-concerns were swept away in the flood of excited, “Welcome!  Bienvenidos!” from the STCH Ministries Dominican partners.  Mountains of luggage were hurriedly pushed through torrents of rain to load on the bus.  The aroma of arroz con pollo, plantains, and salad awaited as they arrived at the Quisqueyana Baptist Church, mission headquarters for the week.

The diverse group was hosted by STCH Ministries (formerly South Texas Children’s Home), a BGCT supported ministry since 1960.  STCH Ministries International has been actively serving children and families in the Dominican Republic for 15 years, and through the heritage of one student’s great-grandparents, they have been connected with the Dominican Republic since 1947.  STCH Ministries customizes the ministry activities of each mission team according to their gifts.  This week included four medical clinics with the pre-PA students, a day at an orphanage, plus repair of a rotting palm-board house, VBS classes, and food deliveries to families and widows living with food insecurity.

Sunday afternoon Maria Luisa, a widow for many years, was surprised and grateful to receive the food offering.  She brushed away tears, took several deep breaths and willingly shared her story.

“I was married, with a baby boy just a little over a year old, when my world was shattered by the accident that killed my husband. I didn’t have a personal relationship with God, although I knew about Him. Darkness closed in. I spent months in deep depression, barely able to care for my son.  Desperate, I asked a distant relative to take me to church. There, at the Quisqueyana Baptist Church, I met the Savior and began a long healing journey. At first, I grew angrier with God as I began to read the Bible. ‘You have all power! You could have prevented the accident and my husband’s death! Why?’ my broken heart continued to cry.
“God’s purpose, I read, was to show the glory of God.  It didn’t really make sense and it didn’t take away the loneliness and pain that filled every waking hour. But somehow, it brought a tiny ray of hope into my dark world.  Maybe there was some purpose for my life?  I began teaching a children’s Bible class in my home.  Children, and then neighbors began to attend.  As time passed, many others became believers.”

Maria Luisa’s eyes were bright with joy as she shared that today almost every home in her neighborhood has passed from death to eternal life by faith in Christ. “My husband’s death brought me to Jesus, and the changes in my life brought Jesus to my neighbors!”

The team also shared the love of Jesus to over 350 individuals through medical clinics. Their medical needs varied from common colds and viruses, high blood pressure and related illnesses, many types of tropical fungi and skin lesions.  Approximately 75% of their needs could be met in the clinics through the doctor’s advice and medicines, while more serious cases were given appropriate referrals to specialists.
The students reported they were impacted by the opportunity to share God’s love through the practice of medicine.  As one student said, “I felt we were showing God off, by the way we loved and ministered to the needs of many who had no other options for medical care.”  Another student reported, “We watched the doctors take time with each patient, and listen compassionately to their complaints.  I want to be the kind of PA that takes time with my patient and shows genuine interest and values them.”
Throughout the week, in many diverse ministries, team members were blessed and challenged in their own lives. They were empowered to see the impact of their efforts in the lives of children and families.
     
Throughout the week, in many diverse ministries, team members were blessed and challenged in their own lives. They were empowered to see the impact of their efforts in the lives of children and families.

“Only one life, twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”
One life.  The impact continues.

Sharing Hope – Christmas on Campus

As 2021 begins, we at STCH Ministries are excited to see how God is going to move through our ministries this year. Sharing Hope will be a way for you to stay connected to all that God is doing through STCH Ministries. We want to say THANK YOU for your continued prayers and support and look forward to sharing these stories with you.

Christmas at Homes for Children

Due to COVID-19, Christmas looked and felt a little different on our Homes for Children campus. Groups that would normally come out and host a party for the children had to get creative. One group from The Church at Creek’s End in Spring, Texas loaded up a charter bus with gifts, donations and youth ready to share the love of Christ. Cottages sat on their front porch and watched as the group sang carols, acted out the Christmas Story and delivered gifts.

Homes for Children was blessed by many different Christmas sponsors this year including Cedar Grove Baptist Church, the VFW and many others. We could not do what we do without the support from all of the amazing sponsors that make Christmas special for the children.

Homes for Families Christmas

Christmas is always full of fun, laughter and excitement for the mothers and children on our Homes for Families campus. In December, the Cub Scouts Pack 226 from Yorktown Christian Academy blessed our families with Christmas gifts and the children enjoyed the opportunity to open the gifts and show off their new toys. Three members of Danbury Baptist Church also brought gifts for our families and enjoyed some time of fellowship with our Phase I and Phase II moms. The moms enjoyed the fellowship as much as their children enjoyed the gifts. 

They were also blessed by gifts from Marathon Oil and the Blanco Baptist Association. We are thankful for all of our Christmas sponsors for making Christmas a special time for these families. 

Homes for Families Childcare

During the day, the younger children whose moms are in Phase I or Phase II, attend childcare on the campus. Recently, two volunteers took time out of their day to put together an activity table for the children. The children couldn’t wait to try it out and to start working on their motor skills by working with whisks and pompoms and learning about healthy snacks. “We learned apples are fruit, some apples are red, apples are good for us and apples taste good!” explains Kathy, the Homes for Families Child Care Assistant.

The new activity table is a great addition to their daily schedule. It provides a productive learning space while keeping the toddlers in one safe spot. “They can focus on the activity and we can focus on them collectively”.

We are thankful for an amazing staff at Homes for Families that love to see the children grow just as much as they love to see the mothers grow.

 

Thank you for your continued prayers, support and commitment to STCH Ministries and those we serve.

Want to get involved? Our website has a great list of opportunities for you – click to see where God leads you: Connect Me!

Thank you for helping STCH Ministries!