Raising Highly Capable Kids

STCH Ministries Family Counseling is pleased to announce a new 13-week course to help parents excel at one of life’s hardest jobs. “Raising Highly Capable Kids” will begin Wednesday, September 12 at Grace Point Church Medical Campus in San Antonio, and the class will be led by Dosely Antongiorgi, regional counseling director for San Antonio.

The curriculum was developed by RezilientKidz in partnership with Search Institute. Their “40 Developmental Assets” include attributes such as honesty, integrity, parental involvement, self-esteem, and religious community. According to the publisher, these essential building blocks “not only help parents raise healthy, caring, and responsible children but also equip kids with the power to make healthy life choices.”

Parents who have graduated from the course are highly enthusiastic about their experience. “The classes helped me learn how to treat others; how to treat my wife and children better. And now I’m another person; a good person. My life has changed completely. It’s an excellent program.”

“It helped us to interact and communicate with our children better. It allowed us to understand about their homework needs, and it was really enjoyable to change our daily routine and have ‘parent time’ to talk with other parents.”

Our mission at STCH Ministries is to care for children and families, and one of the ways we do that is by coming alongside families before they get into crisis situations that are unrecoverable. This class will empower more San Antonio families for success!

The Gift of Eternity

Go into all the world and share the Good News. Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. These mandates “blow our minds.” It seems unachievable and beyond our imagination. That perspective, however, discounts what God can do—the God of all power and wisdom, who loves the world and knows when a sparrow falls.

There were many examples during the mission trips in the Dominican Republic this summer of God’s power to use Samuel’s Fund to share the Gospel and to love children in His name. One of the many blessings of a sponsorship is the opportunity to connect personally with a child—sharing emails, Facebook messages, letters, pictures, and above all a personal visit.

Mark is a sponsor who was able to visit his sponsored child, coincidentally named Samuel. He is an angry little boy, acting out at home and in school. Samuel’s dad has moved to another country in search of a better job and he knows that frequently fathers never return. “Do you have a Bible?” Mark asked. When the answer was no, Mark purchased a children’s Bible in Spanish. As he gave the Bible to Samuel, Mark asked, “Would you like another gift?” Mark shared the gift of God’s love and Samuel opened his heart to receive that gift, too. Mark comforted Samuel with the knowledge that no matter what happened, he had a heavenly Father who would NEVER leave or forsake. And a sponsor who would always love and never forget him.

Through Samuel’s Fund, we have seen how God is able to take a sponsor’s support and love for a child in a distant land and multiply the “little” we can do into the fulfillment of His mandate to each of us.

Licensed Professionals Provide Affordable Counseling at FBCC

This article highlights our counseling office in Castroville and was written by Ginger Carnes. It originally appeared in the FBC of Castroville “Connections Newsletter” in August 2018.

Is your marriage in crisis? Do you have a concern about one of your children or your spouse? Has your family been fractured and you need help moving on?

Your church has a convenient and economical counselor available to help. Counseling can help parents be better parents and can help children communicate with the parents. The counselors also help couples with problems in their marriage and those who are going through separation or divorce.

Through STCH Ministries, a South Texas affiliate of the Texas Baptists that originally was called South Texas Children’s Home, a Christ-centered counselor is available every Tuesday and meets with individuals, couples, and family members in an office in the Chapel building.

But isn’t there a stigma associated with people who need counseling? What if someone sees me going to meet with the counselor? You might say, “I’m not crazy, so why do I need to go to counseling?”

But Dosely Antongiorgi-Green, Regional Counseling Director for the San Antonio area, says, “First, I’m going to send you back to Christ. Second, the counselor is going to teach you some coping skills, so when you have a situation that you’re dealing with that’s going to be difficult, you’ll have a toolbox and you can pull out the tool you need and use it.”

The current counselor at First Baptist is Maritza Garcia-Pulido. She will meet with you every other Tuesday so she can serve more people. During those two weeks, you work on assignments so you can practice the methods – “tools” – she has provided for you.

“We encourage people to pray, to stay in the Word, to spend quiet time to help them understand where God is leading them,” Green said.

Although STCH Ministries does not turn away anyone who needs help, the organization does appreciate donations, large or small. To help you understand the value of this counseling, a counselor who does not accept insurance could charge up to $150 per session. STCH Ministries does not accept insurance or government funding “because we would like to remain Christ-centered in the delivery of our counseling services,” Green said.

Make appointments by calling the STCH Ministries office toll free at 1-833-83-STCHM. The church does not set up appointments or know who is receiving services. Counseling is available to members of the surrounding communities, too. As more people express a need, they could add another day to the counselor’s schedule.

You can read more about STCH Ministries at www.stchm.org.

Summer Interns

The summer intern program at Boothe Campus has been a major component of the activities calendar for over 40 years. Just before school lets out each year, three to five college students move to Boothe Campus for the purpose of becoming extra hands for Joel Bowden, Director of Student Ministries. The young adults remain on campus for 10 weeks, until just before classes are back in session again in August.

Joel began his career at STCH Ministries as a summer intern in 2012, serving three consecutive summers, and took on his current role once he graduated from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. Joel is responsible for planning all student activities as well as coordinating volunteers. He describes his job as “a combination children’s and youth pastor – for kids who are here 24/7.” Summertime brings many volunteers to Boothe Campus: church groups spend days or even a week at a time leading vacation Bible school, hosting sports camps, and carrying out work projects. With so many things happening on campus, having the interns as extra help is beneficial.

Being a summer intern is hard work. The hours are long but the schedule is flexible, and there are so many things to do that no one gets bored. The most important work of all is the spiritual investment they make in the lives of children. The interns are encouraged to seek out friendships with the children and even lead Bible studies.

But it’s not “all work and no play” for the interns. The opportunities for residents and interns are plentiful: horseback riding, swim days, game night at the gym, and “dive in” movies at the pool are just a few of the options.  Off-campus activities this year included Hooks baseball games, summer camp, and even a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.

The team of interns includes members from across Texas. Each year two summer missionaries from Go Now Missions, a ministry of Texas Baptists, join the team. This summer, Jaci Fulton from Telephone, Texas, and Israel (Izzy) Pereyra, from El Paso, Texas, felt called to STCH Ministries.

Izzy says that God has given him a heart for young people. “To see so many kids and youth who have been hit by life at such a young age, and be able to show them the love of a Heavenly Father, is an amazing opportunity.” What impacted him the most, he says, was “the love the kids show you…even though they have every reason to shut out the world.”

Some interns have a personal connection to STCH Ministries that keeps them coming back, such as parents who work at the children’s home.  Intern Mark Nauman is the son of houseparents at Marshall Cottage. Benjamin and Leah Brewer are the son and daughter of a staff member from the development office. All three have served as summer interns previously and were welcomed back eagerly by the children on campus.

Leah says that being an intern has been a wonderful experience, and these experiences are what keep her coming back. “Living on campus gives me the opportunity to actively disciple the kids, to truly model the character of Christ,” she says.

These committed young adults have now completed their summer-long marathon of ministry. But even though they have returned to their college studies, they have left countless memories in the hearts of children in care at Boothe Campus.

Better than Light and Safer than a Known Way

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”  And He replied:  “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
– From “The Gate of the Year” by Minnie Louise Haskins

How many times have you and I stood at the “gate” of the unknown?  “Lord, give me light and wisdom for the future.”  Not so long ago we “stood” at the gate of our summer 2018 mission trips—myriads of details unknown.  Great opportunities accompanied possible obstacles and concerns.

This summer many teams left the “known” for the “unknown” to spend the night closer to the orphanage sites—different food, different beds, sometimes no A/C.  Building trust and sharing God’s love with traumatized children required more time invested. How would that work?  By God’s grace…

  • Teams consistently shared that the time spent with those children was the most rewarding.

Our teams had higher number of participants than ever before. Could our staff manage the additional pressures and sacrifices required?

  • Additional Dominican translators were recruited, plus five American and Dominican interns.
  • Staff enjoyed good health for the entire summer.
  • Coordination between staff improved with additional staff meetings and the “WhatsApp” communication app.
Would the teams come prepared for more complex ministry opportunities?
  • Teachers, seminar and leadership presenters were of the highest quality.
  •  Medical and dental personnel, accompanied by an unprecedented number of Dominican personnel, had their best clinics ever.
  •  Artistically gifted members on several teams painted beautiful murals at the Santiago orphanage to brighten the children’s play area.
Construction tasks were daunting—with volunteer labor, unpredictable weather, and design-as-you-go building plans.
  • Experienced engineers, contractor, even an architect, were among our mission team volunteers.
  • Young summer interns stepped up and gave 110%.  Although not what they expected to do, they gave their best—a living sacrifice—to get the work done.
  • Completed projects included playhouses at one orphanage, painting roofs and ceilings at another, and rebuilding four homes for our Samuel’s Fund children’s families, in addition to beds, tables, and more.
We can joyfully share a smattering of results.
  • 346 participants from 17 churches and organizations
  • Over 450 prayed to receive Christ
  • More than 1,136 children were reached through VBS classes
  • 1,844 patients in our medical and dental clinics
  • We spent 22 days with orphanage children, compared to 10 days in 2017

We give God all the glory for what He has done.  We celebrate with you what can be accomplished through partnership between STCH Ministries and American and Dominican ministries.

Today the 2018 summer mission trips are behind us.  Now we stand at another “gate” as we plan for 2019 in the DR and continue to explore the possibility of ministry expansion into Peru, Costa Rica, or wherever God leads.  The future is unknown.  God’s hand and your prayers, encouragement, and ministry support are “better than light, and safer than a known way.”

Grief Brings Joy

This article was written by Karen Knowlton, Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Play Therapist at STCH Ministries.

You would think that this title is an oxymoron, but I will explain this title as I go on with my story. Grief Share was introduced to me about two years ago. I had to participate in order to lead a group through the course. During that time, I was able to deal with some of my own unresolved grief. I had lost my Mom, my Dad, and then my brother-in-law that I had known since I was about eight years old. He became family when I was about eleven.

Going into this group I did not think that I had unresolved grief. I quickly discovered I could not deny my feelings. That group was the beginning of my grief journey. I didn’t start out my counseling career thinking I would focus on grief! As I sat there I thought to myself, more people need to be able to find the relief I did through this program.

Here are three stories from the Grief Share groups that I have led. This program has now served people from numerous communities in South Texas.


Doris joined Grief Share 14 days after her husband passed away from cancer. Doris was angry. Doris was very angry. The people in the group poured love into Doris every time she would lash out her anger at God, at the doctors, and at the hospital. Several told her that she may not be ready for Grief Share, but Doris insisted on staying and made every session. At the end of the Grief Share experience, Doris was mildly better and had her anger somewhat under control.

Doris came to the next round of Grief Share and during this time she was amazed that she did not remember seeing the videos or remember many of the discussions.  She was saved when she was young but had strayed from her relationship with Christ. Through Grief Share, her relationship grew deeper as Christ began healing. Doris was finally beginning to deal with the death of her husband. During this group she gave the testimony that if it weren’t for the previous Grief Share group she probably would have wrapped her car around a tree to end her misery. But, she wanted to come back to Grief Share and tell us that we were wrong and she was right in her anger! Doris admitted at the end of the second round of Grief Share that she was the one that was wrong and that she still needed help in dealing with her feelings of grief. She needed to learn how to move forward with her life, as she has a thriving business to continue to run and her only son had kept it afloat during this time.

Doris returned for the third round of Grief Share and was open to learning and sharing and helping others in the group deal with their feelings and anger. Doris just completed her third round of Grief Share and stated that if it wasn’t for Grief Share she wouldn’t be able to function in life.


Mona & Jenny are sister-in-laws who had both lost their husbands within a year of each other. One lost hers to a long illness, while the other discovered her husband in the fields where he was working, dead from a heart attack.

Mona was suffering from severe anxiety and could not drive without becoming hysterical. Jenny would drive her sister-in-law places and check on her, and then her own husband died unexpectedly, leaving the two women to depend on each other and God. The pastor of their church had heard about Grief Share in Beeville and suggested they contact FBC Beeville to find out about classes. They showed up during the 6th session and fit right into the group.

After a few weeks Jenny related a story about having trouble with her children and processing all the legal ends of the death. One day after a particularly arduous day, she was driving home and pulled over to the edge of the highway. She pulled a gun out of the glove compartment that she always kept there and sat for two hours contemplating using that gun. Jenny felt as though she lost her husband and now was losing the relationship with her daughter and life just felt too hard to live anymore. She remembered her dog that she got when her husband died to help keep guard of their place in the country and wondered who would take care of her dog. She placed the gun back in the glove compartment and continued home that evening. Jenny stated that Grief Share has shown her ways to deal with her feelings, shown her that there is still purpose in her life.  She is now active at her church.

Mona testified at the end of the 14th session that she was finally able to drive in the daytime and had begun volunteering to help keep her mind off of her problems. She continues to be active in her church as well.

Both ladies now feel that they are ready to face their lives without their husbands, knowing that God isn’t finished with them yet. They say they are still lonely but have dealt with the underlying anger of being left behind by their spouses.


Destiny came in on week 7 of the group. She had lost her mother nine months previously and her husband three months earlier. Destiny was feeling lost and lonely and was angry that she was alone. Destiny committed to Grief Share and opened up each time, sharing through tears of all the things that she was experiencing not having her husband to come home to every night. She talked through her feelings each week, with the other ladies sharing their similar feelings, and began her process of healing.

Destiny came to the celebration of Grief Share ending and stated that she had a story to tell us. She shared that before she came to Grief Share that she sat on the side of the bed one night with a gun in one hand and a bottle of pills in the other, trying to decide which was the best route to take to end her misery. Destiny was a dedicated Christian, and knew that this was not the right answer, but she was so lonely she couldn’t see going on any longer. She finally went to sleep and the next morning called the hospice group that had handled her husband’s case and they referred her to our Grief Share group. Little did any of us know that Destiny was that close to ending it all, and that our group was her last reach to God for help in her situation.

Destiny plans to return to our next session of Grief Share to continue her journey of healing.

* Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.

I share these stories with you to tell you that I have learned two things:

1. Grief is every bit as life threatening as cancer and if left unresolved it can destroy a person.  Anger plays a huge part of grief.  Anger also destroys relationships.  Depression is also a part of grief and has a negative impact on the person who is grieving.

2.  Obeying God’s lead is so important.  When God plants that desire in your heart to do something, whether it is teaching a Sunday school class or volunteering for VBS or whatever the case may be, God has a plan and a purpose that is beyond your knowledge and following Him could save someone’s life.

The first time it was shared with me that one of these ladies almost chose death over life and gave credit to Grief Share and my leading the class, I took it with a grain of salt and thought it was coincidental. But God has always known that I require more confirmation than a one-time story.  He has allowed me to hear story after story.

Last night when I heard Destiny’s story, I shared it with my husband and I just broke into tears as he told me it was due to my obedience to Christ that these women are looking to me, trusting me, and listening to God again.  It was such a moving realization of the impact we have on people when we follow God’s lead and are obedient to His will.

Trust me, after working a full day in counseling and then adding three more hours in the evening, I have thought I’m not doing this again, but if you noticed, two of three of these cases came into group mid-way and needed to go through the course again.  Knowing that kept me going.

I feel so blessed by hearing, and finally believing after last night, that maybe I did make a difference in someone’s life today.  And that my friend is where I find that grief brings joy!

To find out more about Grief Share, contact STCH Ministries Family Counseling at 1.833.83.STCHM.

Mental Health Training Surpasses Expectations at iCare Conference

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.

When Golf is More Than a Game

Golf can be many things: relaxing, challenging, thrilling, or infuriating. It is a pastime for some, a way of life for others. But at the STCH Ministries Golf Classic, golf takes on a new dimension. No longer is it just a game; it is a “game-changer” for the lives of children and families in need.

Every year, dozens of teams gather for some friendly competition on the golf course while at the same time raising funds to support the work of STCH Ministries. All of the children in care benefit from this event, but the ones most impacted are the young people who attend the event as ambassadors for the children’s home.

“Normally we take six to eight kids,” says Greg Huskey, Boothe Campus Administrator, who notes that aside from the occasional teen who has played on the high school golf team, this sport is a “foreign concept” to most of them.

“They may see it on TV. Rarely does anybody have a golfing background, and that’s primarily because of the background where a lot of our kids come from.”

Huskey says the teens have several responsibilities at the tournament. “It may be to carry the bags. It may be to pass out lunch. It may be helping with registration.”

And these interactions give the young people one of the most important experiences of the day: coming face to face with people who care about, support, and believe in them. Just as the golf course is a new world to the kids, the Golf Classic event shows them a whole new world of people who are committed to their success in life.

“For me it’s great to see them interact with those people,” says Huskey. “They’re genuine people. They care about kids and what we do in this ministry.”

If you haven’t yet signed up for the 2018 STCH Ministries Golf Classic, we invite you to register online today. No matter your score on the golf course, this is one tournament where you are always on the winning team.

Communicating with Love

Mary is a young mother in Phase I of Homes for Families who recently got into a disagreement with another resident. After staff intervened, she felt the need to get her Bible and looked up ‘communication’. This led her to James 3, which talks about it only taking a spark to start a fire.

Mary recognized that God was telling her that she was that spark, and went to the other resident to confess that she was wrong. Mary heard something that didn’t sound like herself, knew it was God speaking, checked it with scripture, and took action!

We are amazed by the work that God has done in Mary’s life, and look forward to seeing her continue to mature and grow closer to Him.

* Names changed for confidentiality.

Sponsoring the Future

“My goodness, how you have grown!” How many times have we said those words to others whom we knew yesterday as small children? Days melded into months and years so quickly, and it seems overnight that the child has become a young adult. We have experienced similar moments with our sponsored Samuel’s Fund children, especially during the mission trips this summer.

It seems only a short time ago that we carried food and resources to the home of a Samuel’s Fund child. How their eyes widened and glowed at the sight of bread and milk, and special treats like peanut butter and cookies! Now some of these same children, grown into young adults, have joined our mission teams as translators. They assist in delivering food and resources to other sponsored children and their families and help with construction projects, orphanage ministry, and VBS classes.

Recently we asked Harold to share his testimony with a missions group. He is married to Sara, a lovely Christian girl, and works for Fed Ex. He expressed his gratitude for the sponsorship that paid for his schooling and allowed him to learn English. Today he is a leader in the IBQ church and pastors another “daughter” church during his off time.

“Samuel’s Fund sponsorship enabled me to get an education and learn English. That is the reason that today I have a good job and can support my family and my church,” he says.

Harold is just one of many examples of the impact of the Samuel’s Fund sponsorship program. It is an investment in the future of churches and families in the Dominican Republic.