“Drop a pebble in the water: just a splash, and it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Spreading, spreading from the center, flowing on out to the sea.
And there is no way of telling where the end is going to be.”
– James W Foley
A MOMENT IN TIME, an action by one person can change the trajectory of a life and cause a ripple effect, much like a pebble in the water, with the lasting impact unseen. For Christina, a moment in October 1994 changed her life forever, but the impact would span decades to reach multiple lives, families and generations to come.
From a young age, Christina faced many difficult situations. Child Protective Services separated her and her four younger sisters from their parents. After spending years moving from foster home to foster home, the state legally terminated Christina’s parents’ rights to all of their children. The girls were then given a big decision to make, go to their aunt’s home in Ohio or remain within the foster care system in Texas. Christina, age 16 at the time, asked if she could stay in Texas even if that meant moving to a different home, away from her sisters. After making this difficult decision, Christina was told she would move to STCH Ministries Homes for Children.
While driving out to Boothe Campus in Pettus, Texas, Christina realized how remote the campus was and how it felt like they were putting her in the middle of nowhere to keep her out of trouble. However, as they pulled onto the campus, her thoughts shifted. “I remember pulling up and thinking, ‘Wow! This is beautiful.’ But I was still apprehensive. This was much nicer than any home I ever lived in,” Christina recalled. Upon her arrival, she moved into Faith Cottage with her houseparents, the Thompsons. Christina instantly felt welcome in her new home, but she still had fears and reservations.
Once settled in, Christina started to let her guard down, she recognized no matter what, she was going to remain at Homes for Children. “I realized I could either be happy about being here or I could be grumpy about being here. And if I am grumpy about being here then I am just making everybody’s life really bad,” Christina shared. As time went on, Christina observed as her houseparents handled situations in the cottage with love, and she watched as they prayed before every meal and again in the evenings. She noticed something different about them and wanted to see the difference in herself. After much prayer and conversation, Christina chose to give her life to Christ and was baptized at New Life Church in Beeville. Her life was now marked with new meaning.
After her baptism, Christina considered how she could change herself to reflect Christ but not change herself so much that she became unrecognizable. Sports and friends were important parts of her life and, at that time, priorities. Although finding a balance between her existing life and new faith was a challenge, Christina found a way to juggle both in a way that glorified God and reflected Jesus through her actions. Although she did not engage in personal Bible studies, she cherished the cottage devotionals her houseparents led. As Christina matured, she realized the importance of studying the Bible as a household. Even in the moments when she swayed from God, she found peace in these practices that were instilled in her; she even incorporates these devotional times with her family to this day.
In May 1996, Christina graduated from Pettus High School and started the next chapter of her life. She moved to Corpus Christi and began attending Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. There she studied psychology with plans of opening her own counseling practice to counsel foster youth. While in school, she met her husband, Jerome. Eager to begin their lives together, they were married only a few days after graduation. Christina often reminisces about how important it was to her that her housepop from Homes for Children walked her down the aisle at their wedding; even after leaving Boothe Campus the relationship between Christina and her houseparents continued to deepen.
Shortly after their wedding, Christina and Jerome found out they were expecting! Christina was elated to start a family of her own where she could hand down the love she received while at Homes for Children. It was important to both Christina and Jerome to share with their children not only the love they have for them but also the unconditional love that Christ has for them.
After starting a family, Christina continued her education at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and received her master’s degree in counseling. Soon after finishing her counseling certification hours, Christina realized that counseling was not the path God was calling her down, and in turn, she started working for Lutheran Family Services in Corpus Christi as the director of the Preparation for Adult Living Program for foster youth. A few years later, Christina and her family moved to San Antonio where she started working for Alamo Colleges. This became a great way for her to impact the lives of foster youth in their next stage of life. Through this process, she decided she wanted to further pursue her own higher education and began attending Lamar University. In August 2023, Christina received her doctorate degree in educational leadership.
Today, Christina is the Director of Alamo Colleges District Welcome Center and District-Wide Onboarding. She and Jerome have three beautiful children: a son and two daughters, and faithfully attend and serve at Journey Church in San Antonio. Christina uses her past experiences to speak to children in foster care and those who have aged out of the system. She frequently shares with them that their circumstances do not define who they are or who they will become. She recognizes that much of her success in life is due to the life change she experienced while at Homes for Children and the relationship she built with Christ; she strives to enact the same change within the lives of foster youth that she encounters every day. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without my houseparents. I would say that that came from the Biblical principles which STCH Ministries fostered to create a solid foundation for who I am,” Christina shared.
Christina does not share her story seeking accolades, rather she shares it to bring light to what the impact one pebble dropped in the water can have. In Christina’s own words, “I really want people to understand the impact of what they’ve done to change a life because they didn’t change one life, they changed my husband’s life, they changed my kids’ lives, they’ve changed lives of people I’ve interacted with, and they’re going to continue to change people’s lives. Thank you to the staff at STCH Ministries. Thank you to my houseparents. Thank you to the people that donated to make sure we could function, and we could have the commissary. You didn’t realize the lives that you’ve changed due to that one little pebble that you dropped.”
Throughout her childhood, Christina faced many decisions that could have drastically changed the trajectory of her life. She thanks God for placing her on Boothe Campus because, as she explains, in one of the roughest moments of her life she received the greatest blessing.
Christina is still very close with her houseparents, whom she calls “Mom and Pop,” as well as her Child Protective Services caseworker. Christina thanks the three of them for believing in her, supporting her and pushing her to be the best she can be; she will never stop sharing her story and reminding people that what you do today can impact someone for generations to come.