Building Christian Leaders Through Missions

NAOMI ARIZA WAS JUST A CHILD when she became involved with STCH Ministries’ mission teams. “I didn’t know anything, not even a word of English, but they let me hang around doing little things to help. They loved me and helped me to grow into the person I am today. Everything I know—my values, how to work and even my English—I learned at the feet of Jesus through their guidance.” In the past, Naomi and her four siblings lacked basic necessities, often going to sleep not knowing if there would be food to eat in the morning. Today, Naomi is a lovely young lady majoring in chemistry at one of the top universities in the Dominican Republic, through the CLEP (Christian Leadership Education Project) scholarship. She is a leader in the IBQ church, helps with children’s ministries and is a wonderful translator.

Naomi served as part of STCH Ministries’ staff with the recent 2020 Christmas mission team to the Dominican Republic. With gritty faith, twenty-one people overcame obstacles, like passport delays and COVID-19 fears. They resolved to serve children and families devastated by the pandemic.

The team delivered groceries to needy families, constructed desks and cubbies for the Villa Altagracia school, and shared the gospel as they distributed tracts up and down neighborhood streets. Children’s ministries included singing, games and a Bible-story drama. A day at the Higuey orphanage capped off their week as they rotated between painting walls, fitting the boys with new shoes and building relationships with the children.

STCH Ministries International has led similar mission trips in the Dominican Republic since 2007. In addition to children’s ministries, they have hosted pastors’ conferences and training for teachers and orphanage caregivers. Most teams have participated in construction projects, some ambitious as a new school building or as useful as school furniture, beds and playgrounds. Regularly, groups deliver food, targeting the neediest families.

Each team arrives and then leaves a week later. What is the cumulative impact of their efforts? A few days of construction, sewing, playing games, baking cupcakes, holding babies, shoe fittings and delivering groceries. What is the lasting value of these mission trips? Sharing the gospel through each activity, teaching, loving and discipling.

We surveyed dozens of parents, students, pastors, school educators and orphanage leaders. Their audio interviews, expressed in their unique Dominican style, are transcribed and represent only a few of the many responses we received.

Ondina is our head cook for our mission teams who regularly brags about her food. She said, “It’s a great privilege to work for STCH Ministries. It moves me greatly, like wow! When I see the mission teams joining their efforts and hearts to help, it gives me energies for my work. I see how hard they work, even the small children work, and it is contagious to the rest of us. During the pandemic, the ministry has been a special blessing, frequently supplying groceries, medical help and clothing to us.”

As part of the kitchen staff, Maria Luisa spoke about the impact on her life, when a mission team rebuilt her squalid home. “God calls us to serve Him, but often we are divided between working to exist and working for God’s kingdom. The team left their comforts and worked to improve my housing so I can serve God better. Their sacrifice reminds me of what Jesus did when He left His place beside God to die on a cross for us.”

Mission team participants often choose a child to sponsor through the Samuel’s Fund program and the Christian Leadership Educational Project (CLEP). Countless donors have invested themselves generously and consistently in these children. Scarlett is one of the CLEP students, and she responded, “In my consideration, I see that STCH Ministries is a holistic ministry that helps with physical needs, spiritual needs and education. The base of everything they do is Jesus. In medical clinics, at VBS, even if it’s diversion, it’s still about sharing the gospel. I translate for them, and it has helped me to grow. And the economic help also reflects God’s hands. STCH Ministries has provided my college education through the CLEP program. During the pandemic, I became seriously ill, and we didn’t have food either. They were there to meet our needs.”

One of the most lasting impacts of a mission team is the efforts they pour into the orphanages. Ramon and Juana Prensa responded from Monte Plata. “The groups are extraordinarily beneficial because they love our children. Their repeated visits build relationships and help to teach and disciple them. The teams come to us as a gift from heaven, not only a monthly donation, but also unexpected grocery purchases. They helped built the transition home for young people aging out of the home and met the need for computers to enable distance learning during this pandemic. Above all, the sponsorship of our children has been a source of strength and encouragement for us as leaders to continue to serve God.”

Nieves, the director of the Higuey boys’ home, reflected, “In our timeline, there is BS and AS—Before and After STCH Ministries. After God, the mission teams have had the greatest impact on our ministry. Today, we never have to run around desperately begging for a chicken to feed them. We are able to pay our staff, instead of putting them off. Our boys see how hard they work. As the director, I have been impacted spiritually by their example. The simplicity, the humility with which they serve, has inspired me to keep on serving.”

Raquel has worked with our mission teams for over ten years in her school. “Next to God, I am thankful for STCH Ministries. We had a dream to evangelize our community, our families and children and then to teach them in a school. He has used mission teams to accomplish this dream. New buildings, teacher training and supplies and child sponsorships. When schools shut down because of the pandemic, we had only one resource for online teaching. Only God. Now we have a computer laboratory. Glory to God in the highest! How He has blessed us! I am very sure that STCH Ministries is actually a blessing to the entire country of Dominican Republic. Because when a child leaves here, he spreads the greatness of God through his education.”

Their answers triggered an imaginary time-lapse video. A chicken coop morphs into a beautiful school building as cement block stacks upon block, and one mission team follows another. Young Alex holding his guitar fades, then dons a doctor’s coat. Elementary children transform into university students working as mission team translators. Dark and angry Franklin blurs, then smiles, embracing his wife and baby as he describes his job designing web-based programs for Dominican Republic customs. He gives God the glory as he expresses his gratitude for STCH Ministries, his sponsor and the opportunity to get an education.

As the Christmas 2020 mission trip ended and 2021 began, we stood on the rooftop at the IBQ compound. We watched the tropical sky as night swiftly blotted out the light. We reflected on the fog of uncertainty and turmoil all around the world which has heightened a pervasive atmosphere of anxiety. As Christians we may question, “How then shall we live? How shall we respond?” More than ever before, we need to invest wisely our small “cup” of resources in the lives of others and to hear with a sense of urgency Jesus’ words echoing down the hallways of time, “As long as it is day, I must do the works of Him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” John 9:4

Independence and Normalcy in Transitional Living

LEARNING TO DRIVE, going out with friends, getting a cell phone, accepting your first job offer—all of these are normal rites of passage for teenagers, and it is no different for students at STCH Ministries Homes for Children. Students on the campus who are at least 15-years-old can join the Transitional Living Program. Through the program, they take driving lessons, receive a cell phone, gain more independence and can even apply to work off campus. Students strive to be a part of this program.

The Transitional Living Program includes basic life-skills training and the opportunity for students to practice those skills as they work toward living independently. There are three levels in the program with greater independence at each level. To enter Level 1, the student must have a valid Texas driver’s permit, receive recommendations from a houseparent, caseworker and administrative staff member and be willing to cooperate with staff. Once on Level 1, the student can take driving lessons with a houseparent, receive a cell phone and have two nights out each week with approval. “I love being able to go out with friends and having more freedom,” said Laura, 16.

Once students complete driving hours, receive their driver’s license and show responsibility, they can look toward Level 2. One of the main qualifications for Level 2 is they must have adequate funds to open a checking account. Students on the campus receive allowances, and when they start the Transitional Living Program, their allowance increases. Houseparents teach students the importance of saving money and budgeting. Caseworkers sit down with the students to make sure that their accounts stay in good standing. The ability to open and maintain a checking account is important for independent living once they leave Boothe Campus. 

The highest level of the Transitional Living Program is Level 3. Level 3 is for high school seniors who receive letters of recommendation from three staff members. Students on Level 3 experience the greatest amount of independence. They are allowed to go out any night of the week and earn the largest amount of money. Students on Level 2 and 3 are able and encouraged to get a job off campus. Any money that the student makes goes into their account, and they are responsible for how the money is spent.

In August 2020, Homes for Children received a donated vehicle from Christopher Rohlfing—a generous and thoughtful gift—to be used as the transitional living vehicle. This vehicle is used by students on Level 1 to practice their driving with their houseparents, while students on Level 2 and 3 can reserve the vehicle to drive to school, work or to go out with friends. Currently there are seven students in the program, so they must communicate and work together to ensure that everyone is given a chance to use the vehicle when needed. The program also helps students learn how to care for vehicles with tutorials in changing a tire and checking the oil.

Students can also save money to purchase a vehicle of their own. They are required to carry insurance on the vehicle and maintain it properly. Two students currently in the program have worked hard to purchase a vehicle of their own and continue to work hard to maintain it. “I love that Homes for Children lets me have my own truck. It’s a big responsibility, but I love rising to the challenge,” said Amber, 17. This is a huge accomplishment for any teenager, and STCH Ministries is proud of their hard work and dedication to get to this point.

Applying for and receiving an offer for a job is a lifechanging moment for teenagers, and students at Boothe Campus are no different. Two of the Transitional Living Program students currently work to save money for a vehicle, college and other personal items. “I am very thankful that STCH Ministries gives me the opportunity to work and learn the important life skills that come from having a job,” Drae, 17, shared. “It is also nice to have my own money and to learn how to manage it.” Drae works at a local fast food restaurant while Edna works at a local country store. Both students love the opportunity to earn money for themselves and the feeling of responsibility that comes with a job. “It is awesome to have the experience of a real job while still living within the comfort of Homes for Children,” Edna, 18, stated. “It means a lot to know that I have them as a support system.”

Being in the Transitional Living Program is a privilege and comes with more responsibility. “Being in the program means you have your act together,” Laura stated. On top of the required recommendations, the students hold more responsibilities which they must maintain to stay in the program. One requirement is the students must maintain passing grades in all subjects. School remains a priority for all of the students on the Homes for Children campus, and those in the program set an example for others. Students in the program are also required to help prepare at least two meals in the cottage each month. Learning how to cook is a skill that will help the students once they graduate and leave Boothe Campus. Church is also a requirement. Those in the program are required to attend chapel on Wednesday nights and church on Sundays. Their spiritual walk is the most important part of their growth.

Homes for Children works hard to ensure that students never feel like they missed something. They help pay for class rings, invitations to graduation, senior pictures and other activities that high schoolers encounter. “Normalcy is key for these students,” Greg Huskey, vice president of Homes for Children shared. “We don’t want them to leave here feeling like they missed out.” Students appreciate the help that they receive from STCH Ministries.

Growing up is challenging. Earning more independence and responsibility while still being in the safety of the campus can help prevent students from struggling after Homes for Children. “God has given us an opportunity to share His love with the kids He has brought to us. The Transitional Living Program is an opportunity for us to give our kids a skill-based foundation, coupled with the message of Christ Jesus on which they can build their life on, long after they leave us,” Timothy Hadley, Boothe Campus director, stated. STCH Ministries Homes for Children puts emphasis on the long-term benefits of the Transitional Living Program and wants to see every student that passes through Boothe Campus succeed in life long after they leave.

The Journey

We live in interesting times; it seems that much of what we have known as “normal” is no longer. While many battle massive wildfires, others deal with hurricanes and mass flooding. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to grip many in our world with fear of leaving their homes, while others seem fearless and almost reckless with how they live life. Social and societal unrest leads to violent clashes where there are no winners—only victims.

It has been said that purpose is the reason you journey, passion is the fire that lights the way. In this Messenger, you will read the story of Stephanie and Ezra, a mother and her son on a journey together. You will learn about Terry Wilkins, a loving husband and father (and housefather) that committed his life to ministry. You will see that our International ministry took its first trip to the Dominican Republic since COVID-19 halted those trips from occurring. You will see, as an organization, our purpose and our passion are not and have not been compromised. For an organization to stay true to these ideals, we must have a team of people called by God to do His work. I truly stand amazed at our counselors, houseparents, resident coordinators, caseworkers, directors, administrative assistants, vice presidents and so many others that live out their faith in the ministry they are called to.

We are all on a journey. As we look back to the past, we see journeys full of twists and turns, many of which we could not understand while we were in the middle of them. We can remember the proverbial fires and hurricanes that we survived. We can see clearly how the Good Lord protected, provided and taught us when we were at our lowest. But we must also look to the future; yes, there will be obstacles, but we must also see the opportunities. 

What great opportunities await us! I am so very excited to see what God has in store for us here at STCH Ministries. Since 1952 we have “journeyed” down the path that God set before us. That path has been one that was not always easy, but we stayed true to God’s call on us as a ministry. The reason for the journey is our mission: to honor God, to reach hurting children and families with His love and truth and to enable others to join us in this ministry. 

Thank you so much for taking time to read our Messenger, and thank you for your faithful support and generosity. I hope and pray that we all seek God’s direction wholeheartedly and live out an enthusiastic life as we journey together!

Jeremiah 29:11

I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.

One Step at a Time

Stephanie’s journey toward a secure relationship with her son allowed her to ultimately experience the joy of motherhood while bearing witness to many childhood milestones. This resulted from a direct partnership between STCH Ministries Homes for Children and Homes for Families. These two ministries frequently team up and step in to help mothers, children and families navigate complex situations. Both campuses work to provide a solid ground for residents to regroup, learn and launch into the next phase of life. While Stephanie’s story weaves a tapestry of God’s provision through difficult life circumstances, it began in unpredictability and crisis.

Stephanie was born with Mosaic Down Syndrome. She worked hard to graduate high school and become a Certified Nursing Assistant. Her first son was adopted after birth into a loving family, but when she found out she was pregnant again, she felt a deep calling to raise her son, Ezra.

After Ezra’s birth, Stephanie moved into her mother’s home with her infant. It was during this period of time that Child Protective Services (CPS) was called to the house following an incident. The situation was reviewed, and CPS determined that Ezra could remain in Stephanie’s care if they moved out together.

Recognizing she was at a pivotal crossroads that would define their future, Stephanie carefully considered her options. On one hand, she could allow Ezra to be adopted into the family where her first son resides. On the other, she could begin the arduous process of finding a new community and support system for herself and her son. Saying goodbye was difficult to even consider. She felt a calling to be physically present as Ezra’s mother and wanted him to grow through infancy, childhood and adolescence knowing her love each day. Stephanie preferred the thought of finding holistic support as one family unit. She was running out of time and lacked tangible resources. Waves of uncertainty and doubt were crashing within and finding reliable and immediate help seemed impossible.

The night before Ezra was scheduled to be taken into CPS custody, STCH Ministries was contacted. There were no current openings at Home for Families where both Stephanie and Ezra could seek refuge under the same roof. This was initially difficult to hear, but the team continued their pursuit of a solution. That night, Stephanie learned that the Homes for Children campus had a spot available for Ezra. “We made some phone calls and suddenly, everyone was involved,” said Theresa Klacman, Director of Homes for Families. “Boothe Campus really stepped up to go ahead and take Ezra the next morning.”

The plan was in place with only hours to spare. Ezra would move to Homes for Children with the intention of reuniting with his mother as soon as possible at Homes for Families. “From the beginning, the reunification of Ezra to his mom was the most important thing for us,” said Greg Huskey, Vice President of Homes for Children. Stephanie was at peace with this decision. She trusted the teams from both ministries and knew she had found people who were truly advocating on her behalf and in her best interest.

While Ezra was at Homes for Children, Stephanie had the opportunity to visit him on weekends while keeping an open channel of communication with his houseparents. In every interaction, she remained confident that his environment and care were loving and attentive. She received regular updates about his daily activities, growth and progress, including the day Ezra took his first steps. This was a bittersweet moment as a mother. “Ezra is my world,” Stephanie remarked. She was proud of her toddler for reaching this developmental breakthrough, but it was hard to not be physically present for the occasion. She didn’t want to miss any other firsts in Ezra’s life, and she distinctly remembers this moment as a catalyst for her continual pursuit of personal development.

A month passed, and Stephanie was notified that space was available at Homes for Families. “When I found out that I could be at Homes for Families and have him back, it made me so happy,” Stephanie recalled. The day after her arrival, Ezra joined his mother. It was an emotional reunion with her son, and she felt a sense of peace and excitement for their future. She was thrilled to return to the daily tasks of being a parent. “I have to be here, and I have to be the best I can be for Ezra,” said Stephanie.

While Stephanie remained thankful that she could stay with her son, their time spent at Homes for Families was not without struggle. There were moments where she missed her extended family and wanted to leave, but at the end of the day, Stephanie was grateful to have Ezra back in her arms. When asked about her current journey in motherhood, Stephanie said, “I cry myself to sleep, but it is happy tears, because I finally have my son back.” She envisions a bright future, raising her son while being there for the many “firsts” ahead – from the start of school, to achievements in activities and special holidays together.

Stephanie is vocal about her belief that she is exactly where God has called her to be. She sees His providence through every bump in the road, leading them to Homes for Children and Homes for Families. “I am happy to be here. It’s really helping me to grow and see more of God.” Stephanie continued, “After being here a month, I finally accepted what happened, and I believe everything that has happened has brought me here and given me a second chance at being a mom.”

When mothers ask for help, Homes for Children and Homes for Families work together with compassion and understanding to provide a place to call home. Stephanie does not shy away from noting that asking for help was scary. There were multiple unknowns and questions swirling in her mind. But the unique partnership between these two ministries prioritizes acknowledging these fears and standing in solidarity with families as they make difficult decisions together. Decisions that ultimately shine light into darkness and bring hope and joy that is only found in Christ.

Stephanie’s story illustrates the beauty that results when the entire team at STCH Ministries works together to ensure the best outcome for families. When Homes for Children and Homes for Families collaborate, everyone wins. Children find safety and love while physical and emotional needs are met, and mothers find support and resources during periods of transition. This is exactly what happened for Stephanie and Ezra, and it’s a recurring experience for many other families seeking care and shelter. Where there is uncertainty, peace finds its way. Where there is brokenness, the beauty of Christ’s love breaks through.

Homes for Children laid the foundation of stability and normalcy for Ezra while Stephanie took the necessary steps to process their brief separation. Because these campuses function as an extension of each other, the transition to Homes for Families was seamless. With combined efforts, both ministries provided a loving atmosphere grounded in Christian principles for this mother and son to build a stable and fulfilling life – one step at a time.

An Outward Profession

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” Acts 2:38-39 ESV

July 9, 2020, was a day of celebration on the STCH Ministries Homes for Children campus. Six students from Boothe Campus and one student from a local church stood together and outwardly professed faith through baptism. These decisions came after years of support and prayers from their communities. Each student recognized what it meant to be baptized at Homes for Children in front of the people that continuously loved, supported and prayed for them. Here are their stories.

CHRISTOPHER’S STORY
Over the years, Christopher’s walk with Christ developed through church, Vacation Bible School, camp, Disciple Now and the leadership of his houseparents and others on the campus. The unconditional love his houseparents showed him and others in his cottage exemplified Christ’s love for Christopher. While attending Disciple Now 2020, Christopher made the decision to surrender his life and profess faith in God. He remembers the moment, saying, “I was shaking, and I just felt different.” A leader at the event helped him open his heart to Christ, and he felt a true, life change in that moment.

Christopher wanted to show everyone that his life had changed. The opportunity to be baptized on campus in front of friends and mentors was special to him. Since giving his life to Christ, Christopher feels different. Despite his young age, he knows that he can be an example to others. Christopher is working to become more respectful and caring toward those around him. He prays that he will continue to grow in his relationship with Jesus and be a leader within his community.

COLBY’S STORY
Colby’s walk with Christ began before coming to Boothe Campus. He attended church with his grandparents and loved listening to the pastor’s sermons. When Colby arrived at Homes for Children, he started growing closer to God and took steps toward deepening his relationship with God. He engaged in a weekly Bible study with one of the summer interns, learning verses that spoke directly to his current situation and experiences. Colby felt his faith maturing and decided to rededicate his life to Christ and follow through in baptism in front of friends and mentors who supported his journey.

As the summer progressed, Colby was ready to take this next step. He recalled his houseparents’ reaction to the decision, saying, “They were excited. They were proud of me because they knew I stepped over the line of faith with Christ.” The opportunity to be baptized in front of people who care about him made the occasion memorable. “God has a plan for me,” Colby emphasizes. Being surrounded by people that want to see him succeed helps Colby face the difficult days and makes the good days even better.

MOEMOE’S STORY
Recent graduate, Kimani (MoeMoe), grew in his understanding of the gospel while at summer camp with Homes for Children in 2019. During worship one evening, he became overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit and started crying. “I heard someone say, ‘I’m watching over you every day, all the time,’” MoeMoe remembers. His housedad approached and prayed with him. MoeMoe quickly turned around, and they embraced in a hug. In that moment, he was not fully ready to surrender his life to Christ, but God continued to work on his heart.

The following year, MoeMoe continued in conversation with the adults at Boothe Campus about Christianity. He attended Bible studies and built a foundation to fully open his heart to God. At the end of the 2020 school year, he fully surrendered his life to Christ and prayed to become a Christian. He wanted to make an outward declaration of the internal decision and asked to be baptized. MoeMoe shares, “Everybody at STCH Ministries played a big part in my life leading me to Christ. It meant everything for me to be baptized here.” He knows that as he moves forward, the decision he made to accept Christ will change his life for the better.

JOSH’S STORY
Josh lived at Boothe Campus until he graduated in 2018. Before coming to STCH Ministries, some of his friends invited him to church, and he started attending the youth group. At this point in his life, Josh had never heard the gospel. Attending church became something that Josh looked forward to, and he started to learn what it meant to be a Christian. One night at a special worship service, he prayed to accept Jesus into his heart. A few months later, Josh and his siblings moved to Boothe Campus. “That’s when my relationship with Christ really started to grow. Here you have all these leaders that genuinely want you to have a relationship with Christ and want you to grow in your faith,” Josh recalls. During the three years he lived at Homes for Children, his relationship with Christ evolved.

Josh is now a leader within the Baptist Student Ministry at college, and he works to help others grow in their faith. During the summers, he either works at Camp Zephyr, a Baptist encampment, or stays at Boothe Campus to mentor children. When Josh heard about the baptisms on campus, he felt called to take the next step in his faith. “STCH Ministries is basically home for me, so growing in my faith and walk with Christ just made it complete to be baptized there as well,” Josh said. He looks forward to helping others in their spiritual walks just like so many did for him.

C.J.’S STORY
C.J., another STCH Ministries alumni, believes he would not have found God without the relationships he built while living at Boothe Campus. When C.J. first arrived at Homes for Children, he struggled to navigate the complexities of his life. He rejected God and did not feel like he needed a Savior. As the weeks progressed, C.J. opened up to those around him and encountered Christ. Deray, another student on the campus, talked with C.J. about the Christian life. One night, Deray asked what was holding him back, and C.J. shared that he did not know how to become a Christian. In that moment, Deray led him in the prayer to surrender his life to Christ, and C.J.’s life changed forever. “It was so beautiful. It was gorgeous, and I have to give it all to God. God gave Deray the strength and courage to help guide me through the prayer,” C.J. shares.

After giving his life to Christ, C.J.’s life changed for the better, gaining hope to face each day. He knows that even when he messes up, God forgives him. “He says that ‘I am here for you.’ That’s the most beautiful thing that God has ever done for us,” C.J. exclaims. C.J. wanted to share his decision with others to demonstrate how far he had come. He was ready to get baptized and knew the best place to experience this was at Boothe Campus. In front of his friends and family, he shared his love for Christ and truly surrendered it all. Following the transformation in his own life, he decided to share his newfound hope and joy with his younger brother, Ian. Little did he know the impact it would have.

IAN’S STORY
Much like his brother, Ian never thought he needed God. When they first arrived at Boothe Campus, he made fun of the children who believed. He wanted to do life on his own. When given the choice, Ian decided to move back home with his family instead of staying at Homes for Children. He thought his life would be better there. As his happiness slipped away, he became angry. This is when he decided to move back to Boothe Campus. Before leaving for Boothe Campus, C.J. talked to him about how God changed his life. Ian listened and realized that he needed Jesus.

After being back on the campus for a few months, Ian decided to talk to some of the housedads about a relationship with Christ. He looked forward to going to church and learning more about becoming a Christian. One day, he approached a housedad about giving his life to Christ. The housedad led him in the prayer to accept Jesus into his heart. Ian wanted to get baptized right away at Boothe Campus and share his decision with those around him. Knowing that his brother was going to be baptized at the same time made the moment even better. “As I prayed the prayer, I felt this cold breeze, and my body just lit up. When I was baptized, I felt the same thing. It was amazing,” Ian said.

While each story can stand alone as a distinct and unique experience, the through-line is the involvement of a mentor. Mentors walk alongside students and discuss what it means to fully surrender their lives – the initial prayer through the outward profession. STCH Ministries is thankful for the houseparents, interns, staff, other children and local pastors that feed into the lives of the students at Boothe Campus. Ultimately, we give all the glory to God for working in the lives of the children that we serve. We know that His plans are greater, and we pray for each of these students as they continue to walk with the Lord.

Where Healing Happens

In the early 2000s, Catherine led a fairly normal life. She was married, lived in Dallas and her family was growing. In 2004 she was pregnant and overjoyed to welcome a new baby to their family. Catherine gave birth in a c-section delivery and was moved to her postpartum hospital room for continued care. During her postpartum stay, Catherine needed intervention for sustained pain, and the doctors prescribed medication to alleviate the discomfort. When she returned home, addiction ensued.

The dependence on the medicine overshadowed her life for 14 years. Throughout this period of time, Catherine checked in and out of rehabilitation facilities. After each visit, she made big promises to herself and to her family that she would stop taking the drugs, but a relapse always followed. With minor life modifications, Catherine hoped she would just get lucky enough to reclaim her vitality, but a predictable pattern developed. This rehab cycle repeated eight times. She was physically and emotionally drained, and her family was exhausted. Catherine was numb to life, and it seemed like nothing could change that.

A moment came where she reached her breaking point. Catherine attempted suicide in April 2018. The family was devastated by the attempt, and her actions drove a wedge between herself and her loved ones. Terrified at the near loss of their mother, her children experienced anger and fear as a result.  Throughout this season of life, Catherine missed out on the daily joys of motherhood and marriage from an inability to form secure attachments. Their familial bonds were so severed, and her husband questioned if their relationship was salvageable.

One day, the mental fog lifted. Catherine clearly recognized the damage from her choices and distanced herself from this lifestyle. It was time to get clean. She distinctly remembers the date June 18, 2018. She said goodbye to her chronic addiction, ready for lasting change. After the drugs left her system, she surveyed the wreckage of her life — from repeated family theft to the loss of their home. The relationships with her husband and three children were completely detached. Catherine lost her husband’s trust, and her children vocalized their doubts.

She reflected on the years with a numb body and mind to keep the pain at bay, but now there was nothing standing between her consciousness and the reality of her personal life. Was this rock bottom? Faith in God was not a priority, so there was nowhere for her soul to turn for comfort or rest. On July 4, 2018, the family moved her to Houston to live with her sister. This was a wake-up call.

Upon arriving in Houston, Catherine was determined to turn her life around. She did not have the tangible tools or resources to execute this life change, but she finally had the will power to do whatever it takes. Within two months of living in the Houston area, she encountered Christ and gained lasting hope, freedom and grace. “God has come into my life and is leading me down the right path,” said Catherine. She was disconnected from her immediate family, but she held to the promises of Jesus – a friend who will never leave. 

Catherine soon found work at The Learning Experience where she discovered purpose and fulfillment while caring for infants. She credits her job for propelling her forward into her healing journey. After experiencing the unconditional love of God through her church, it was a blessing to spend time with babies who show love in a similar way. She was able to bond with families at the daycare and left work each day feeling connected and inspired.

From here, Catherine pursued professional counseling. She was new to Christianity and wanted to be guided by someone with faith-based principles. Her sister suggested STCH Ministries Family Counseling. Their team officed within a local church, and Catherine jumped at the opportunity to engage in counseling that was distinctly Christian. At this point, Catherine had been sober for more than six months. Her sessions began in early 2019, and she was expectant for personal growth. She needed her journey to deliver strategies for compassion and kindness toward herself while clearing the path for restoration in her relationships with family.

Catherine was relieved to learn that STCH Ministries Family Counseling does not assess the client’s ability to pay during the intake process. Each location within this ministry accepts and appreciates donations toward the program, but ongoing fees are not collected after each session. This policy allowed Catherine to breathe a sigh of relief and solely focus on healing without the burden of excessive financial strain.

She quickly learned that her counselor was able to create the right environment for tremendous breakthroughs each time they met. Instead of breezing past the heartache with empty positivity that is often prevalent in mainstream self-help movements, they sat in her grief. This allowed Catherine to feel and process all emotions associated with the loss of her family. From here, they focused on biblical accountability, relevant scripture and her identity in Christ. She felt hopeful again, living a life that looked radically different than before. “I am in a better place now than I have ever been,” Catherine explained. She was in a new city, living a new life and finally seeing herself in a new light. There was hope.

A big takeaway from her counseling sessions was a confidence to have difficult but restorative conversations about her past. She learned practical strategies for apologizing as she worked toward mending the relational wounds within her family. The STCH Ministries counselor gently reminded Catherine that her family wouldn’t become whole overnight, but in each interaction, she was putting in the work for tangible progress to occur. Catherine is proud to say, “I am not the same person I was two years ago. I am a totally different person, and I am happy!”

Catherine spent time working at Academy Distribution Center, enjoying her responsibilities and feeling equipped for each day. Her emotional skillsets, rooted in techniques from counseling, trickled into all aspects of life – including professionally. She was prepared to reach big goals, but when COVID-19 took aim at the U.S. economy, Catherine was laid off from her job. While this was understandably difficult, she referenced strategies from counseling to combat the anxiety and once again held to the promises of Jesus.

Time often brings the necessary space to process tough situations, but healing transpires when people make the choice to seek reliable help. “STCH Ministries counseling saved my life,” Catherine notes. “They helped me heal.” Catherine recognizes that a controlled environment in Houston is integral to her success as she continues to process her past, live in the present and plan for the future. With this in mind, she realizes she cannot move back to Dallas yet. Even from afar, her family sees the positive strides each day, and she is thankful to be on the right track. It brings joy to know that her children grasp the extent of her healing and cheer for continual progress.

Through counseling with STCH Ministries, Catherine learned that Jesus cares about her emotional, physical and spiritual wounds, and He is where healing happens. She is thankful to have a caring support system for when life’s burdens are heavy. “I want to share my story and help change lives,” she says expectantly. Catherine is eager to tell others about God’s grace and the effects of counseling on her life. While she found freedom from addiction before engaging with STCH Ministries, she credits her counseling experience for accelerating her personal development and guiding her family toward healing. With hope for the future and faith in God, Catherine now has the confidence to claim autonomy of her life and love herself again.

Trusting God

In early March 2020, we said sweet goodbyes to our Dominican family. We expected to return in a few weeks for summer mission trips. We had no premonition that the COVID-19 devastation lurked around the corner. At first, we held our breath, certain that life would shortly return to normal. 

Gradually, reality burst our idealistic bubble. The United States locked down. The Dominican Republic locked down a few weeks later as COVID-19 spread like wildfire from the resorts and airports. Airlines cancelled all flights. There would be no summer 2020 mission trips. Long-awaited projects at orphanages and Christian schools were frozen. Hopes for new sponsorships, needs for beds for children, training and supplies for teachers, evangelism and discipleship opportunities—all cancelled. Caught in the same whirlwind of fear and confusion that swirled around all of us here in the United States, our Dominican partners faced overwhelming needs and cries for help. Without the support of mission teams, there were no extra resources. No hands and feet to help. No physical presence with words of cheer and inspiration.

“The Ministry Continues,” became a rallying cry beginning with Eron Green, STCH Ministries CEO. Holding high the banner of faith in God’s promises, we prayed, “God use us. Direct our steps.” The Dominican government mandated a total lockdown, which prevented most of the population from working. The government also lacked resources to provide any kind of income or social services. The priority became, “Feed our children, families and ministry partners.” Our staff on both sides of the Caribbean rallied and worked together as a team. They developed innovative ways to address what became a crisis. From buying huge palettes of food from the Bravo grocery chain and storing it in the Koinonia mission housing, to scheduling families and delivering food safely to ministry sites while observing the required curfew. The safety of our staff and wise stewardship of resources were paramount. As we marched forward in faith, we experienced a miracle similar to the five loaves and fishes. God’s supply lines were already in place. Generous donors supplied the needed funds.

In August we sensed God’s leading to make a return mission trip to the Dominican Republic. COVID-19 numbers were abating. Boots-on-the-ground information from our Dominican partners indicated that we could safely make a trip to the Dominican Republic. Donated school supplies and backpacks had accumulated in our home office while equipment, replacement parts and other provisions were desperately needed. We wanted to encourage our staff and partners by participating with them in feeding families, building beds and assisting directors and teachers with distance learning. Importantly, we also sought to determine if mission teams using face masks and appropriate distancing could safely and effectively do ministry. We sent out an invitation for a Mercy Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic.

The goals to deliver resources and share in ministries were safely accomplished! Twenty-five children’s beds were built. Thirty-five families received a packet of food. Twenty-two teachers and directors from our Christian schools received training. More than two-hundred and fifty backpacks filled with school supplies for the Samuel’s Fund sponsored children were delivered.

To determine how the Dominican partners felt about the mission week, and to hear from the trip participants, could I invite you to take an imaginary trip to the Upper Room at the IBQ Dominican mission site? It was the morning of the last day, and the ten trip participants with our Dominican partners gathered to worship and reflect on the experiences of the last four days. Pastor Rudy began,

We know God is faithful…God is great…because you are here. We didn’t think anyone would come. You are a gift, like a miracle. Thank you very, very much. The world changes, our lives change, our families change, everybody changes but God does not change. God is always the same. That is our hope. ‘Nothing is impossible with God.’ You increase our faith by coming on this mission trip. God bless you. Thank you for all.

Pastor Rudy then handed a verse to every team member and asked, “Why did you come on this trip? What has this trip meant to you? How did God speak to you?”

Dr. Francisco spoke up. He talked about his role as a doctor and that he considered the worst-case scenario when he knew a small mission team was coming. He communicated to our office that participants would have to wear face masks and strongly urged no comorbidities. Reflecting on the trip, Dr. Francisco concluded that we have to take precautions, but we also have to rely on God. 

We can do whatever we want, but it is God who is backing us up, who is in control. In this very moment, in anything we do in our lives, He is the one who says, “this is what is going to happen.”  Most people don’t want to come because they are afraid. They don’t want to get out. It took courage for you to come. But you are for us a beacon, showing us that even if there are obstacles, you still have to obey God.

Our other Dominican partners added their thoughts.

Thank you for coming. We didn’t think we would have a mission team to help us during this time. I’m glad we have the God that we have. We know we can trust Him in every circumstance. That is our greatest hope.

Through this coronavirus crisis, we have learned to trust God’s Word. We know that it doesn’t matter the situation, doesn’t matter how hard it is, He will always be there. God will continue to do great things through us. The best thing is—you hear the voice of the Lord; you obey and take action. That’s the important thing to the Lord.

Tina is a schoolteacher who has been on several past mission trips. She spoke about the pervasive fear in the world. She shared that when she received the mission trip invitation, she immediately heard, “Go!” Then she thought about her job, her family. She read on the internet the U.S. embassy recommendation not to travel. She sat on the back porch and read Psalm 91. She recounted the experience:

I heard a voice. “Do you trust me?” A scene flashed across my mind from the movie, Aladdin. Aladdin flew on his magic carpet, held out his hand and invited Jasmine to go with him, saying, “Do you trust me?” I pictured the carpet, and I thought, “That’s the thing. You are stepping out on that carpet, hoping God will hold you up.” For me, that hope was my faith. Of course, I have the fear…but, can I trust Him? At that moment I knew if I didn’t go, I would be missing out on the blessing.

Becky is a pharmacist, and most days she works in air-conditioning with a great team. She remembered that when COVID-19 hit, everyone was terrified in spite of masks and shields. She would have patients hold their prescriptions up to the window because she feared to touch them. But God spoke to her heart about this mission trip. Her college-senior daughter was available to come, and they had really missed the opportunity to serve last summer. She responded, “I will serve doing anything I can do to help.” In the Dominican construction yard, she sweated and got so covered in sawdust that she was almost unrecognizable. But as she hammered, screwed, sawed and sanded those twenty-five beds for children, she said, “I knew I was right where God wanted me.” Becky’s daughter nodded, “What’s the difference between going to the grocery store and coming here? Besides, I felt we did so much more than we did the last time we came.”

Tania is one of our front-line workers. As a nurse, her potential COVID-19 exposure is greater than most. However, she shared that fear was never a consideration for her.

I had a rough beginning during my teens, and I could have been dead a long time ago. But God had a purpose for my life. Because of the COVID-19 fear, all the ministries where I usually help in the United States had been stopped. So, I prayed, “I want to serve you, God. What am I supposed to do?” When the email invitation came for the Mercy Mission Trip, I knew that was for me. Jehovah is my provider, my comfort, my protector. So, whatever He called me to do, I needed to trust. Just get up and go. He would provide. He would protect.

Jeny, a STCH Ministries employee out of Houston, her husband, David, and high school senior, Noah, came as a family. David asserted that others tried to impose their fear on them. They prayed strongly as a family and felt the shield of the Lord was around them. 

We had to serve. We needed to be Jesus’ hands and feet. We determined that whatever others said to us was not going to get into our hearts and minds. And we prayed that God would give us the strength. I’m glad that we were able to live out God’s Living Word—’Go! Be my hands and feet.’ That’s why we are here. And that’s what we did.”

Jeny emphasized that for believers, it is about finding our truth in the Bible. We need to seek God’s wisdom, not the world’s perspective. When we trust God and follow His Word, we are not normal. We are not supposed to be normal. Jeny went on to say, “I expected my usual trip to the Dominican Republic. I knew STCH Ministries was not going to put us in danger. Joanna or Mark would not say, ‘It’s dangerous, but come on in!’” The mission team group laughed in agreement as Jeny concluded,

I got out of this trip just what I expected. I expected to see our Dominican family. I expected to see smiles on them. I expected to be filled up with joy and love. I expected God would provide, and He has. And that’s what we have received. We haven’t been working as intensely, but it’s been great. It’s been refreshing. We have gotten to spend more time with our own family and with our Dominican family. It’s been an amazing blessing.

Summer 2020 did not look like the summer we had planned. Life often happens that way for all of us. But God still has a plan and will use us in Kingdom work. In the midst of adversity, God used STCH Ministries to touch countless lives in new and innovative ways. We came together as a team with our Dominican partners in ways we had never thought possible. The participants on the Mercy Mission trip stepped out in faith—their own magic carpet of hope—and traveled in spite of the COVID-19 virus for the opportunity to change lives and meet needs. We are optimistic for what the future holds in the next few months and as we head into 2021. Circumstances and plans often change. We know God is always the same, for “Nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

Ministry Updates

San Antonio Office
We are excited to announce that we have a new office in San Antonio. This office houses our Family Counseling, Faith & Work and Faith & Finances ministries. Our counseling offices throughout San Antonio and the surrounding area will remain open, and our Faith & Work and Faith & Finances ministries will continue to facilitate classes throughout San Antonio. The office will allow these ministries to expand their reach in San Antonio as they work to heal hearts and share hope.

iCare

On August 6, STCH Ministries Family Counseling hosted their annual iCare Conference. This is a conference for people who help people. Due to COVID-19, the event moved to a virtual platform. Approximately 150 people attended and received training from a large selection of topics including: burn-out for those in ministry, understanding the impact of trauma and potential long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Being virtual provided the opportunity to reach more participants, and we are privileged to provide training to those serving in professions and roles which help others.

Terry Wilkins
On July 21, Terry Wilkins went home to be with the Lord after a long illness. Terry’s heart was in serving Christ through ministry. Eleven years ago, Terry and Virginia moved to South Texas to work for STCH Ministries as houseparents on Marshall Ranch. Later they moved to Barnes Cottage on Boothe Campus where they became Mimi and Papa to everyone who stepped foot on the campus. Terry will be missed dearly, and we continue to pray for his family and the STCH Ministries family


Remaining Vital and Green

“I WANT TO BURN OUT, NOT RUST OUT!” my missionary father often said. Tongue-in-cheek, he added, “Retirement means re-tire—get a new set of tires for the journey.” He may have been inspired by David’s perspective in Psalm 71, “Now that I am old and gray, let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.” David affirmed again in Psalm 92, “Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.” (NLT)


Reaching mature adult years with the prospect of retirement; glowing with promise or gloomy with fears? If work and productivity mean worth and value, does retirement mean loss of purpose and identity? Have dreams of freedom and rose-gold sunsets darkened with the possibility of declining health, loss of income and loved ones?


On the positive side, maturity can alleviate the stress of competition, and the ego drive to excel. More time for reflection gives us courage to evaluate ourselves. We can pan the gold out of the silt and pebbles of our mistakes. With the benefit of bonus years, we can dedicate our efforts to more Kingdom work with eternal value.


Since the beginning of STCH Ministries International, family mission trips included senior adults. They led classes in finances, business, Bible classes for all ages. They contributed their skills in medical clinics. They adapted Americano methods to Dominicano realities for construction. As we began “visioning” with President/CEO, Eron Green, about the possibility of mission trips uniquely focused on senior adults, God directed our steps.

Semi-retired, Larry and Carol Westfall proposed, “We would like to come during January, stay in the mission housing at Koinonia, cook our own meals and volunteer for a month.” They had served with their church, Trinity Baptist in Kerrville, for several summers. Although they spoke no Spanish, language was never a barrier. They painted, did maintenance projects, taught English and communicated love and acceptance with smiles, open arms and patience. One month grew into two, and then three months.

In 2018 we received a phone call from James Dickey, a retired optometrist. Passionate about missions, he read about the international work of STCH Ministries on the website. Jim wanted to inspire seniors to leave a legacy. “God has invested a lifetime of skills and experience into us. Now is not the time to quit and sit.”

In God’s perfect timing, in 2019 we received inquiries from San Antonio First Baptist Church and Shearer Hills Baptist Church. They were interested in a mission trip for their senior adults. Assured of God’s leading in this venture, STCH Ministries hosted two weeks of senior adult teams in the Dominican Republic, in February 2020. Although many were inexperienced in missions outside the USA, they possessed a wealth of experience in their walk with God. They were also equipped with willing hands and open hearts to share God’s love with children and families through a large variety of ministry opportunities.


Pre-trip planning allowed each group to collect supplies for sewing projects; pillowcases, curtains and tote bags for schoolteachers. Together, American and Dominican ladies cut, stitched, pinned, ironed, turned and top-stitched. Since sewing machines function in the same way irrespective of their location, they discovered that sewing is a universal language. One person remarked, “Even though we could not speak the same language, we connected through God’s grace and shared our hearts and hands to honor Him through our work together. They even taught me how to say ‘God bless you’ in Spanish!”

While the ladies sewed, others worked in the shop sawing, sanding and drilling. Russell Jerez and his staff had carefully analyzed the group’s capabilities and prepared construction projects accordingly. Although many participants had tackled projects large and small in the past, there were legitimate questions about this kind of activity. “What kind of construction would senior adults be able to do?” The group reported being pleasantly surprised. The projects of building beds, bookcases and desks were easily within the abilities of both groups.

The volunteers found delivering beds for the staff at the Higuey orphanage, installing curtains in their new home, and providing their first-ever pillows and pillowcases immensely rewarding. The blessings overflowed onto two schools as they installed new bookcases and teacher desks, and gifted the brightly colored tote bags filled with school supplies. Wood, screws, paint and sewing efforts communicated to the teachers, staff and children, “You are valuable, and God loves you.”


STCH Ministries vision states, “We desire to show the love of Christ to every child and family…meeting their needs in creative and innovative ways.” Accordingly, both senior mission trips offered multiple opportunities to bless the children in orphanages, schools and in the Samuel’s Fund sponsorship program. Their activities included: building and decorating bulletin boards, installing ceiling fans and painting railings at a school. They surprised the children with a mid-morning snack of apples and frosted flakes. At the Monte Plata Homes, one group created planters out of brightly painted cement blocks. Later, the children were surprised with ice cream after lunch; a rare treat when every penny is pinched to provide essential food and education. One participant stated, “I enjoyed working at the orphanage. It was great to get our hands dirty and work with the kids planting flowers around the trees.” Another couple shared that their favorite activity was taking a group of children to the Children’s Museum. “Their wonder and excitement were a joy to witness.”


In the afternoon, one of the groups dramatized Bible stories for the VBS class. A narrator told the story of Daniel through a translator. Daniel courageously prayed in spite of the threat of lions. Villainous men costumed in white paper robes grabbed Daniel and took him to the king, royally robed with a gold foil crown. Others with paper-lion masks crouched behind benches and growled fiercely in anticipation of their prey. The children watched fascinated, and later could recount every detail of the story.


Some participated in the Medical clinics. Working with Dr. Francisco, they helped package and hand out medication. With the help of young college-age translators, they enjoyed interacting with those who came. As the Spirit opened hearts, they also shared the Gospel. Many patients, especially the little children, came with misery and fear reflected in downcast expressions. Their medical concerns were heard with love and compassion. After prayer with each one, they received needed medications. Eyes crinkling at the corners, and a wide smile spreading across their dark faces, they responded, “Gracias, Dios te bendiga. God bless you.”


In addition to the diverse ministries that these senior groups accomplished, they enjoyed time for fellowship, building new relationships with Dominican brothers and sisters and strengthening bonds between the team participants. “One of my joys was getting up early and drinking coffee under the mango trees on the patio,” one senior reflected. “The trip to the beach was fun and the sunset was just beautiful,” shared another. “We stayed in the Koinonia house on the premises of the IBQ church and enjoyed hot water and air conditioning. The food was always delicious and no one ever went hungry.”

Throughout the trip God spoke to each heart, impressing them individually.

As a person reaches the later years, we want to be productive and follow God’s calling, but we question our worth and our physical abilities. The senior adult trips proved we still have much to give and gain by sharing God’s love at home, in the DR or anywhere God calls us to go.

Everyone in our group felt great about what we were able to accomplish in the short time we were there. We think that we had an impact for the DR people; but we know they had an impact on our lives.


Senior citizens have lots of experience and knowledge that we want to share for Christ. Our DR mission trip with STCH Ministries enabled us to share from our years of experience.

In the DR, when God puts a project on their hearts, they start doing knowing that God will provide in His perfect timing. I felt that they were willing to put their feet in the water as the priests did, carrying the ark across the flooding Jordan River before God acted. They have a faith that knows when God is guiding, He will provide. I pray that I will take this attitude of the DR people to my heart the rest of my days.


We are partners not sponsors. These people do not wait for STCH Ministries or Americans to pay for things. If God has told them to do something, they get started doing it, then watch to see how God will provide. I am thankful that we were able to go on this trip. It was much better than I had anticipated!

For some, it was their first mission trip. Others have served many times. Yet each one was impacted by the love of Christ given and received. Age has no bearing on that truth.

We had dinner with a local family one night. I was in awe of the work God is doing in this young woman’s life through her school that began in a chicken coop and now, through her faithful journey through cancer. Her testimony is one that touched my heart and inspires all who meet her.

It was amazing to see God fit each of us into something that maybe challenged us, and let us use our God given gifts.

As the trip ended, Priscilla Fisher from San Antonio echoed the feelings of many, reflecting on her mission experience,

“Going on a mission trip with seniors was not unlike going to youth camp when I was 16! You travel together, eat together, talk, laugh, pray, worship, work and follow the schedule, while remaining flexible! As a group of mostly retirees, we were very energetic and accomplished all that we planned to do, with the excellent guidance of the STCH Ministries mission team. Everyone stepped up to the plate when needed, which was easy to do for the loving people of the Dominican Republic. We were treated like royalty by our hosts, within a very comfortable, safe environment. The food was absolutely outstanding! This is a wonderful opportunity to live out Christ’s commission to ‘go ye therefore unto all nations…’”

The apostle Paul, the first missionary, encourages all of us no matter where we are in life’s journey, to stay vital and green when he wrote,
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2Corinthians 4:16.
STCH Ministries International invites many more seniors to consider a missionary journey in 2021. Find more information and dates at www.STCHM.org/INTERNATIONAL.

Finding Purpose

Thank you for taking time to read our Messenger! On May 1st, we celebrated our 68th anniversary as an organization impacting the lives of children and families. What a blessing it is to look back and see how God has led and blessed through the many years. Throughout those years, we have always used crisis situations and scenarios as an opportunity to engage with those in need.


If you reflect back on our roots as an organization, we were solely committed to providing healthy homes for children that needed them. The crisis was clear; children without a healthy place to call home and the need was great. This crisis, and a great deal of prayer, caused Laura Boothe to donate the property for our Homes for Children campus. This crisis, and again prayer, also caused Jess Lunsford to accept the responsibility of leading us as an organization into existence.


Merriam-Webster defines the word crisis as a difficult or dangerous situation that needs serious attention. Interestingly enough, when we face crisis situations, we have two responses; fight or flight. In other words, we can do something about the crisis or we can turn our eyes away and act like it doesn’t exist.


We are all currently looking eye-to-eye with the crisis called COVID-19. This virus has taken lives and livelihoods, not only here in the United States, but around the world. We have had to temporarily adapt all of our ministries to keep our staff and those we serve safe from this pandemic. But I can proudly say, through it all, we have persevered and The Ministry has Continued! In fact, we have flourished and grown. We have created new and innovative ways to conduct ministry.


As we look at the greatest leaders and organizations, crisis has always been a catalyst to find purpose, to ACT! Our purpose or mission statement is very clear and COVID-19 has not changed it: honoring God, reaching hurting children and families with His love and truth and enabling others to join us in this ministry. Our operations may have temporarily adapted because of COVID-19 but children are still being provided safe and healthy homes to live in and all our other ministries are flourishing as well.

I pray for us all that this time of crisis is used as an opportunity to find or reinvigorate our purpose. I pray we all commit in a new way to live our lives in a manner that would please our heavenly Father. So much good can and is coming from this crisis. Take this opportunity to reset and make the changes that need to be made. What will you do?