Amid global challenges to public health resulting in social distancing and economic concerns, God continued to seek to save the lost and care for His own. STCH Ministries remained committed to serving the children and families God brought our way as they dealt with life’s challenges. Throughout the stay home-stay safe period, the STCH Ministries family sought avenues to continue healing hearts and sharing hope.
OVERNIGHT, TRADITIONAL WORSHIP meetings converted into virtual; our pastors and church leaders needed even more prayer and continuous support. STCH Ministries Pastor Care ministry helped churches facilitate digital worship services during the continuing COVID-19 crisis. Tim Williams, Director of Church Relations, consulted with several churches and pastors as they prepared for their first-ever video worship. He led online sermons for churches without pastors and an Easter sermon online.
Family Counseling assisted individuals, couples and families who dealt with increased stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness. Counselors found new ways to work with existing clients and reach out to the general public via a new Facebook Group. The resources for the posts came from multiple sources and delivered help with anxiety, depression, family issues and many other topics related to coping with a crisis such as COVID-19.
The ministry’s professionally trained and distinctively Christian counselors continued to see current clients and accepted new Texas clients through virtual counseling. Virtual counseling utilized private teleconferencing or telephone calls enabling clients to work through their challenges and feel a sense of “normalcy”.
Faith & Work | Faith & Finances provided resources for those looking for life-management applications and Biblical money management principles. The team discovered new ways to encourage, support and train their students, leaders and ministry partners through video streaming technology and electronic communication. Regional teams reached out to students and ministry partners to identify their physical, emotional and spiritual prayer needs. Making those connections revealed one Faith & Work graduate who lost her job due to the repercussions of COVID-19. Our staff helped her connect with employment partners who offered new employment opportunities. Another long time Faith & Work | Faith & Finances volunteer found a job which suited her skills and personality perfectly through connections she made in the Corpus Christi office.
People want to know how God’s Word can help them in the areas of faith, work and finances. In response to that desire, Faith & Work | Faith & Finances launched seven online classes serving English and Spanish speaking participants in April. The response to the classes has been overwhelmingly positive and energizing.
In response to COVID-19, Faith & Work | Faith & Finances staff developed a virtual Learning Center. The website houses a repository of lessons for training facilitators. Ministry directors created video lessons and self-guided workbooks for future use.
STCH Ministries Family Support ministry blessed Maggie, a member of one of our church partners. Maggie, her husband and their three teenage grandchildren suffered when Maggie lost her job due to COVID-19 and her husband’s employer reduced his hours to one day per week. Maggie’s faith in God never wavered and she trusted God to supply their every need. Maggie thanked God for supplying her groceries through the Family Support ministry.
Families in the cottages at Homes for Children adapted to the challenges of a “new normal” with more time together. They committed to a routine of school work, chores and devotions; while enjoying more intentional time together with board game nights, movie nights, video games, dance parties and other fun activities. Houseparents provided life-skills and demonstrated how God works amidst the uncertainty.
Hope Cottage, home to five boys (ages 11-18), added a cooking class to their daily schedule. Each boy chose a day and a meal to cook each week. They used cookbooks or the internet to find a recipe. One of the students selected fried chicken, sautéed asparagus and mashed potatoes. Other meals prepared by students included meatloaf and pork chops. This served as a great learning experience and life-skill for the kids. It gave them new appreciation and gratitude for their houseparents. Besides cooking once a week, each boy led a devotional at dinner time. One of the boy’s devotion focused on “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” -Proverbs 22:1.
All of the houseparents worked to point their children to Christ. On Good Friday, two young girls at Homes for Children accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Their houseparents led them to faith and helped them know how to begin a personal relationship with Jesus. Houseparents enjoyed the wonderful chance to be a part of the biblical guidance and lessons the children learn as they come to the table, not only for dinner – but also for the nourishment of their hearts and souls.
Homes for Families, on the Marshall Ranch Campus, continued to provide single moms and their children a place to be safe. The program prepared to receive two new families who arrived in May. The moms already in the program continued to grow in their faith and life-skills, while children adapted to school work being done at home, not with their teachers in school.
To accommodate all twenty-three of the children on campus together, the childcare facility set up a rotating schedule for the kids of each cottage to spend time there while the moms worked through their daily curriculums. Older students received help with school lessons while the younger children played and enjoyed worship music and snacks. New learning opportunities created closer relationships with each other and a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
STCH Ministries International persisted in the mission of transforming lives as families in the Dominican Republic struggled with a lack of food and supplies. The shutdowns in the Dominican Republic led to a hunger crisis as ninety percent of the people lost their jobs and day laborers could not provide for their families. Our team in the Dominican Republic purchased and delivered essential food items for families in need. One father thanked us and said, “We prayed much and are so grateful for this food delivery. This is a difficult crisis. BUT God moved your heart to help us.”
CLEP (Christian Leadership Education Project) students fulfilled their requirements to contribute a minimum of ten hours a month in ministry to younger Samuel’s Fund children by helping with school work and studying devotionals. Every week, they called two to three children to build a friendship, help with homework and share devotional time. The CLEP students sent weekly reports exemplifying how the Word of God moved throughout the lives of those they served.
“I video chat with my students. We talk about their homework. I encourage their mother because she is very overwhelmed.”
“My student says she is not a Christian because she is afraid of God. I am helping her understand how to have a relationship with Him.”
The COVID -19 virus created inconvenience, change and adjustment. God enabled us to navigate these uncertain times, reminding all of us that He works in mighty ways. He continues to open doors for our ministry through the generosity of STCH Ministries’ partners, donors and prayer warriors. As you give of your time, prayers and finances, The Ministry Continues.