Laura Duprie recalls STCH Ministries as a household name in her family for decades. She remembers Christmas parties on Boothe Campus from her childhood. Her heart holds a special place for the early STCH Ministries leaders, friends of her parents, whose kindness still impacts the way she lives life. She tells of her dad, Dale Pogue, working to build what is now the STCH Ministries Family Counseling program with gladness. Laura credits a presentation to the ladies group at First Baptist Church Goliad with sparking her interest in volunteering at Homes for Families.
After hearing the director of Homes for Families, Theresa Klacman, talk, Laura remembers wanting to help. “Theresa quickly invited me to teach and I love it.” Laura teaches Bible studies and gives lessons to help the ladies succeed after leaving the campus – like computer skills, smart shopping tips and parenting classes. She appreciates how well thought through each phase of the ministry has become. “There’s no doubt that prayer covers that whole ministry – which is why it is succeeding and growing.”
Laura remains engaged and involved in the ministry because of the changes she sees in the ladies who work through the ministry phases to find healing. The difference God works not just in their hearts, but also in their faces, inspires her. Often, when ladies first move to the ranch, their eyes reflect bitterness and their shoulders slump beneath the weight of the pain they carry. As they move through the phases and allow God to transform their situations and modify their thinking their outward appearances transform too. “To see them when they come in and watch their countenance change – that’s the most exciting thing,” Laura explains. She feels as if the Bible comes to life through the transformations she witnesses when laughter returns and their eyes begin to sparkle. The evidence of their testimonies encourages Laura to persist in prayer for her family and friends when they go through hard times. “There have been times when I needed that encouragement to know there is hope for somebody that I was praying for. I love what I do as a volunteer, but it may be selfish in some ways because of what I get out of it!”
Laura’s commitment to helping the moms in the ministry fulfill their personal goals reaches beyond teaching classes. She forms genuine friendships and cares for each of them. Debbie, one of the ladies in Phase III needs help purchasing a car, and Laura helps her decide which vehicles to look at in person. The current owners for one option live in Corpus Christi. Laura does not hesitate to reach out to her one contact there, a friend’s father. The retired Navy mechanical engineer has the expertise to determine the car’s condition and plans to meet Debbie when she goes to look over the car. Laura encourages Debbie, “He’s going to be there to help you, listen to his advice.”
Laura’s friendship and dedication for each lady continues after they leave Marshall Ranch. Whether they leave early without finishing or graduate from the ministry, Laura stays in contact with them. She prays for them and follows them on social media. Online ordering and delivery make it possible to provide a pizza dinner as a reminder that they are not alone. “I do whatever I can do to show them that just because they are out there in the world and live in another city, they are not forgotten.”
From her own experience, Laura understands that following the Lord is a daily choice. “No one gets fixed and stays fixed. In the time it takes to snap your fingers, the habit you worked a whole year to develop can be gone.” Laura recognizes her happy, stable childhood enables her to make healthy decisions today, and sets her apart from most of the ladies living on Marshall Ranch. However, many of their stories reveal one person somewhere who invested in them enough to plant a seed of hope. She knows that God places signposts to remind them, “There’s something better.” Often, those memories lead them to find Homes for Families and give them the courage to make difficult changes in their lives.
Those stories encourage Laura showing her that what she does matters. “Maybe even the smallest act of kindness can affect someone, down the road they’ll remember that and consider looking into the option of God.” The Bible’s promise that the Word of God doesn’t fall void (Isaiah 55:11) compels Laura to continue helping people however she can. “I love STCH Ministries; it is an amazing, God-driven ministry. I have known since I was a kid that STCH Ministries is full of people who love Jesus. As long as God wants me to continue, I’ll be there,” she promises.
Homes for Families encourages volunteers to pour into the lives of the women and children God brings to the campus. The friendships formed while working through the ministry’s curriculum often provide a mom’s first glimpse of the difference good decisions and dedication to doing right can make in a changed life. If Laura’s experience intrigues you, please contact our staff to discover ways you can volunteer. Teachers, mentors and host families top an expansive list of ways you can take part in healing hearts and sharing hope to single moms and their children. https://www.STCHM.org/care/#families