#GivingTuesday is described by organizers as “a global day of giving, fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.” It began in 2012 and has exploded thanks to social networking. Last year in the United States, $274 million was raised online in one day!

#GivingTuesday always takes place the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, which has long marked the opening of the holiday season. The date was strategically chosen to follow in the wake of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and it creates a tradition that celebrates generosity and goodwill.

STCH Ministries has been a part of #GivingTuesday for the past two years and will participate again this November 27th. By making a donation to STCH Ministries for #GivingTuesday, you can help:

  • Provide a home for children when their parents or grandparents are unable to take care of them.
  • Restore a single mom’s faith and confidence as she receives one-on-one teaching and mentoring.
  • Save marriages with biblically sound counseling.
  • Partner with ministry teams who are taking the gospel and God’s love on international mission trips.
  • Train adults to find their God-given purpose in the workplace and learn biblical financial principles.

Individuals are encouraged to join the celebration of giving across all social media outlets. You can also give online at www.STCHM.org/GivingTuesday.

Faith & Work volunteers

Part of our mission at STCH Ministries is to enable others to join us in ministering to children and families. If God is calling you to serve with us, here are some of the ways you can share Christ’s love with others.

  • Pray for us! We desire for God to use STCH Ministries in mighty ways to do His work.
    • Pray for those we serve to ultimately know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
    • Pray for our staff to have the love, wisdom, and faithfulness they need for the roles that God has given them.
  • Host a speaker – We would love to share about STCH Ministries with your group.
  • Provide a meal – Our houseparents have large families to cook for every night. Perhaps your family would like to make a special meal for them, or provide a gift card for a special night out to eat.
  • Missions project – Get your family, church, or business group involved by doing a landscaping or grounds maintenance project at our Homes for Children or Homes for Families campuses.
  • Be a mentor at Faith & Work or Faith & Finances.
    • Mentors provide friendship, encouragement, support, guidance, accountability, and community to the participants of these classes.
  • Sponsorship is a wonderful way to invest in the lives of young people.
  • Go on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic or Costa Rica with our International ministry.

Our ministry is dynamic and constantly changing as people respond to God’s calling on their lives. It just takes someone asking, “This is my ability and passion. How can I serve God at STCH Ministries?”

Please contact us for more information on any of these opportunities to serve. You can email development@stchm.org or call 361.375.2417.

Safe. Peaceful. Hopeful. These are words often used to describe Boothe Campus, where our Homes for Children ministry is located.

It is not just the child residents who recognize the exceptional atmosphere. The feeling is evident as you drive through the gates up to the main buildings. Jeff Brewer, Director of Development, believes there is a holy anointing on the property as a result of the sixty-six years of faithful obedience to God from the first day of the ministry’s existence.

Obedience to God has been the number one priority from the very beginning when Jess Lunsford founded the South Texas Children’s Home. He was determined to operate a program that was fully funded by private donations, taking no government funding. That policy is still in force today.

The beautiful Lundsford Chapel is, perhaps, the most striking building on campus. The soaring steeple and tall A-frame construction leads eyes upward, reminding each of us from where our hope comes. The sanctuary is central to many activities throughout the school year and in the summertime when church volunteer teams are on campus.

Leaving the chapel and crossing the street, the bricks in the sidewalks draw your attention. Not only does the color of the red clay stand out, but engraved on many of them are the first name of every child who has lived on campus and the year they moved to Boothe Campus. Seeing the names reminds you of the scope of this ministry; so many bricks representing the thousands of children who have found shelter and safety here. And there is still plenty of room for more bricks, representing the children who have yet to come home to Boothe Campus.

The Piper Children’s Center is next on the tour. This is the office building for the administrators, case workers, counselors, and other staff who keep the children’s home humming. Here we see another combination of past and present. Large painted portraits of our founders, Laura Boothe and Jess Lunsford, hang in the receiving area, reminding us that we are accountable to both those who came before us and those who follow behind to continue in unwavering obedience to God’s good plan for each of us. Moving past the long line of hand drawn Christmas cards, each framed with a picture of their child creator and the year they were chosen to represent STCH Ministries, will bring a smile to your face as you approach the commissary.

If the office spaces are the wheels that keep the program moving, the commissary is the motor that keeps it running. A large room with both a walk-in refrigerator and a giant freezer opens up to a storeroom lined with towering wooden shelves filled with canned goods, cleaning supplies, paper products, and children’s clothing. The commissary delivers the bulk of the weekly needs for each cottage family. The overarching goal of life on Boothe Campus is normalcy. We want our kids to experience the closest thing to a healthy family life as possible.

The cottages are the most inviting places on campus. Each home is spacious with room for up to eight kids. The living room along with a generous kitchen and dining area are comfortably designed for family gatherings. Most of the cottages open up to a front porch looking over open areas for bike riding, swinging, and roller blading. Houseparents care for each cottage, carrying out the most critical aspect of the endeavor: creating a loving, family atmosphere for the children of Boothe Campus. Most of the youngsters residing here have come from extremely difficult situations. They arrive with a deep need for a healthy, new normal. They find adults ready to provide safety, model peace, and teach them there is hope for a bright future.

If you would like a personal tour of Boothe Campus, please contact our office at 361.375.2417 or email development@stchm.org. Arrangements can be made for individuals or groups.

Ladies for the Least is a giving society of women who are passionate about impacting children and families in need, those who are among the least. The group raises money for special projects directly benefitting STCH Ministries, projects which are not included in the ministry’s general operating budget.

In April 2018, Ladies for the Least members voted to fund a project at Boothe Campus to revitalize recreational zones and repurpose an underutilized building. The work of the project includes:

  • Renovation of the old library into transitional apartments
  • Creation of a prayer garden and fire pit
  • Renewal of recreational areas for residents and visitors

As a result of the Ladies for the Least vote, the two playgrounds and the basketball court on Boothe Campus have already been enriched with new seating areas and additional safety mulch. A second part of the project will create a prayer garden and fire pit, providing a place for cottage families and visiting mission teams to come together for conversations, s’mores, or a quiet place to think. Finally, the old library-turned-storage-building is being remodeled to add three separate apartments that will house students returning home to Boothe Campus on college breaks.

Mike Perkins, Director of Maintenance at Homes for Children, and his team are working to bring the project to a reality. The playground portion of the plan is complete, and the foundation of the prayer garden has been poured and the bricks laid in the fire pit. The former library is well on it’s way to becoming a refuge for young adults; plumbing is installed and the interior walls are going up. The undertaking is on schedule and should be finished by the end of this year.

Jeny Cortez, Director of Development and curator of Ladies for the Least, describes the purpose as, “A platform to bring together women who have a heart for children and families, as well as educating ladies on the programs and resources that STCH Ministries provides. It is not just about raising money,” she explains. “We are looking to gain their involvement in ways such as: volunteering, promoting within their own networks, and participating in activities.”

The next Ladies for the Least annual luncheon is scheduled for March 30, 2019, in Houston. For more information about how you can attend and become a voting member, please contact Jeny Cortez at jcortez@stchm.org.

STCH Ministries opened a new Family Counseling office in Richmond, Texas, making seventeen locations in all. The new office is hosted by Water’s Edge Community Church and provides professional counseling services that are distinctively Christian.

Randy Beck, pastor at Water’s Edge, is optimistic about this new venue for reaching out to the church’s neighborhood.

“We are always looking for ways to show compassionate care for the community. It is great to see families walk through the door of a church – not for worship services but because they are broken and know they need help,” Pastor Beck explains. “STCH therapists share our values and we know the families will be impacted for the Kingdom.”

STCH Ministries has offered counseling for families, couples, and individuals since 1995, and expanded to Houston in September 2016. In the past two years, services in the Houston area have grown to four full-time therapists at five locations. The Family Counseling team has plans to continue reaching out to new areas in metropolitan Houston in the coming years.

Across South Texas, there are also regional Family Counseling hubs in Corpus Christi, Victoria, and San Antonio, with office locations at partner churches in surrounding communities. In addition to private counseling sessions, professional therapists provide training and information to church leaders and their congregations through a variety of seminars and workshops on topics related to the family.

For a complete list of Family Counseling locations, or to seek help for a counseling need, visit www.STCHM.org/FC.

As the calendar winds down and our thoughts turn to the holidays, we begin to think not only about how we will observe the traditional festivities but also what we can give to those most special to us. Often, not just any gift will do, we want our present to recognize the important place they hold in our hearts. May we suggest an honor gift made to STCH Ministries?

Honor and memorial gifts are thoughtful ways you can personally contribute to the ongoing care of children in South Texas. An honor gift is a contribution you make in honor of a friend or family member who is still living. A memorial gift is a beautiful way to celebrate the life of a loved one after they have passed away.

Bequests are handled with gratitude and sensitivity. In the case of a memorial gift, a suitable notice of your gift and expression of sympathy will be handwritten and sent to the family of the deceased. For donations made in honor of another, that person will also receive a personal note advising them of your kindness. The amount of the gift is never revealed unless requested by you.

Giving in this manner is easy; you may print an Honor Gift Form or a Memorial Gift Form to fill in and send in with your donation. You may also make these gifts online. (Select the tab labeled Honor or Memorial Gifts on our donation form.) Each gift of this nature received at STCH Ministries is invested in our permanent funds, which are used to help with educational, medical, and general expenses for our children. The first priority goes to educational and medical needs.

The English clergyman Robert South said, “If there be any truer measure of a man than by what he does, it must be by what he gives.” Giving honor and memorial gifts through STCH Ministries is a gift that is a double blessing: distinguishing someone you care about and making a difference in the lives of children and families at the same time.

Development & Communications team members from STCH Ministries in New Mexico at the Connections Conference.

Baptist organizations have been providing care for widows and orphans for over 100 years, adhering to the biblical mandate of James 1:27.  On September 9 – 11, 2018, STCH Ministries participated in the Connections Conference, the annual meeting of the Association of Baptist Children’s Home Professionals, which brings together organizations from across the country to collaborate on development and communications topics.  This year’s conference was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Southern Baptists have long held their commitment to cooperation and enduring strength of the denomination, with like-minded entities working together for the purpose of bringing people into relationship with God. STCH Ministries and twenty other Baptist Children’s Homes across the nation collaborate through the Baptist Coalition of Children and Families (BCCF), and the Connections Conference is made up of the development and communications professionals of these children’s homes.

Rod Marshall, BCCF President, underlined the cooperative commitment in his address to the gathering. “We work closely with the North American Mission Board, the Women’s Missionary Union, and Baptist Press to address the needs of families in the United States. Baptist child care providers have been the best in child care for over 150 years.”

STCH Ministries staff members were among the speakers at the conference, presenting about compelling storytelling and working with contractors.

Throughout the weekend, the theme of “Staying Connected” was intentionally implemented in each aspect of the conference.  Through general meetings, breakout sessions, meal times, and special events, participants were encouraged to share with one another on a variety of topics.  STCH Ministries staff members were among the speakers at the conference, presenting about compelling storytelling and working with contractors.

Raymond J. Gary Jr., CEO of iDonate, spoke extensively about the mindset and motivations of American charitable donors. “Today’s donors are empowered consumers who expect their experience to be a dynamic, simple, joyful experience. We need to be smarter than Netflix and bolder than Uber in our efforts to connect with them,” he instructed.

Conference attendees displayed a common purpose as they exchanged experiences and strategies regarding subjects as diverse as leadership, data management, and how to best share a ministry’s stories. Jeny Cortez, STCH Ministries Director of Development, commented, “There’s no sense of competition. We all want everyone to be successful. We know it is all for the glory of God and the healing of broken lives.”

Conference attendees were reminded of the importance of their work by two of the residents of the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home who attended the event. Ryleigh and Sophia helped with logistics and each spoke during the meetings. When Ryleigh first moved to the children’s home, she did not understand why her mom made the decision to send her into residential care. She was convinced she had done something unforgivable. Professional counseling and the unconditional love of her houseparents helped Ryleigh decide to trust in Jesus as her Savior.

The conference ended with participants returning to their home organizations full of inspiration, new ideas, and a powerful sense of connection to their counterparts in other states. In 2020, the Connections Conference will be hosted by Connie Maxwell Children’s Home in South Carolina.

Did you know that the average person who works 40 years will spend 2,000 hours in church, and 90,000 hours at work? To be good stewards of the life God has given us, we must continually listen for God’s guidance. We must look for opportunities to bless others during the normal activities of each day. And when God speaks to us, we must step forward in faith to follow His leading.

Cesar exemplifies someone who allowed God’s Spirit to speak through him during the ordinary activities of his work-life. Cesar was a taxi driver in the small town of Higuey in the Dominican Republic. Every day was a challenge, as he drove up and down city streets, always looking for another fare, a few more pesos to meet the necessities of his family. Lunch time was a prime opportunity for fares, and he often drove customers to eat at various restaurants. In the midst of his work pressures and responsibilities, God’s Spirit spoke to his heart. Cesar began to notice the ragged boys who hung out behind the restaurants, scavenging the uneaten food out of the trash.

Cesar had enough to worry about. Just making enough pesos to live was hard. And he wasn’t doing too badly in the serving God department, either. He was a leader in his church, and supported a wife and several children. He could have ignored the sight of the hungry boys, looked the other way, and busied himself with his own responsibilities. But God’s Spirit continued to whisper, “Those are MY boys, my special creation.” Compassion for the children grew, and Cesar shared the need with other church members. In time they formed a board, found a rental home and the boys were accepted into their hearts and lives.

STCH Ministries was introduced to the Home, named “A Better World” about two years ago, and we began to help with food and maintenance projects. We slowly developed a relationship with the boys and the staff. Although their rent house was shabby, the owner of the house allowed them to live in the home for only $1.00 per year. Last spring, however, the elderly owner became ill. As a result her family required the orphanage to move out of the home by the end of 2018.

The board had acquired a small piece of land, and now they turned to STCH Ministries for help. Could we help to build a permanent home for the children? Plans have been drawn and the estimate to build a home for the 15 boys is $100,000.00. We have received donations totaling $30,000 for this project. We are trusting by faith for the remaining balance.

Cesar stepped out in faith when God’s Spirit stirred compassion in his heart for abandoned street boys. We are also trusting God to provide this need. We hope many of you will partner with us and with the boys home of Higuey to build a permanent home and to truly create “A Better World” for them.

Donations can be made online at this link. Please be sure and designate in the comment box that your donation is for the Higuey Boys Home. For more information, please call 361.994.0940.

Cans for Kids is a project that allows Texas churches to take an active, practical role in the day to day, bread and butter of caring for children. The strategy is simple: a church, Sunday school class, or small group sets a time frame to collect canned goods for the children at STCH Ministries Homes for Children and delivers them to the commissary at Boothe Campus.

The process is customizable – be it a church-wide contest between small groups or a simple way for children to participate in ministry. STCH Ministries staff members are available as guest speakers to either start off or wrap up the initiative. Additionally, the donation can be a part of the experience – bring the donating Sunday school class out to Boothe Campus for a tour and the opportunity to see how your contributions are put to use.

You already are a part of the work of STCH Ministries. Every prayer, every donation, and with each referral, you are participating in the restorative work God is doing in the lives of children through our organization. Your help ensures that residents at Homes for Children will have the nutrition and energy they need to grow up strong.

When it comes to working together, there’s no such thing as small potatoes! Check out www.STCHM.org/Cans-for-Kids to download resources that will help you promote the Cans for Kids campaign at your church.

The second annual iCare conference, presented by STCH Ministries with support from the Blanche Davis Moore Foundation, was held on August 9, 2018, in Victoria, Texas. STCH Ministries created the iCare conference to equip “people who help people”. This event brought together more than thirty presenters from ten area organizations, who provided training and resources for dealing with tough topics and mental health issues, including suicide, addiction, divorce, depression, anxiety, and others.

The mental health crisis in our country touches nearly every family. STCH Ministries is working to bring relief through donation-based counseling and recognizes that many other individuals and organizations are making a difference as well.

“iCare was born out of that whole concept to pay back and help support and bolster people that are working with these families,” said Darin Griffiths, Vice President of Family Counseling at STCH Ministries.

Glen Dry, the pastor of Sportsman’s Church in Victoria and the emcee of the event, said, “[People] are realizing, ‘How do we cope, how do we collaborate with one another? How do we put all these resources in one room?’ I think for such a time as this, STCH Ministries is positioned in the best place to do this.”

Dry also commented, “Selfishly, this helps my staff. It helps the people who work for me to care for the people that come into our environments. More tools and better understanding, so that we can do what we do best better.”

One of the draws for the conference is the opportunity for participants to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs). CEUs are required for many professionals to maintain their license. Up to six CEUs were available at iCare for participants who are Licensed Professional Counselors or Licensed Clinical Social Workers.

Plans are already underway for next year’s conference and organizers are looking ahead to reach even more people.

Darin Griffiths stated, “One dream that I have is for this to be reproduced in all four of our regional counseling locations. The same people who were sitting in this room are in San Antonio today, and they are in Corpus Christi, and they are in Houston. I think it is up to us to get there – where they are at, in their environment, with the same information. We’re hoping iCare will develop a brand recognition that shows quality.”

In the midst of a mental health epidemic in America, there is a growing need for support and training among the people on the front lines. Through iCare, STCH Ministries hopes to be part of the solution that our communities are seeking.