WHEN CHILDREN ARRIVE on STCH Ministries Homes for Children campus, they receive a safe place to call home with warm beds, hot meals and clothes, if needed. More importantly than meeting the physical needs of the children on campus, Homes for Children is helping provide for their spiritual, mental and emotional needs. Caseworkers, houseparents, counselors and other staff work to help the children in care find true healing from their past. In 2022, STCH Ministries saw 193 people accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior through our nine ministries. On the Boothe Campus alone, we saw 14 children dedicate their lives to Christ, and Savannah was one of them.
Savannah moved to Boothe Campus for the first time at the age of 7. Like many children arriving on campus, she did not know what to expect or how her life would change over time at Homes for Children. Over the years, Savannah left and returned to the campus a couple of times and ultimately arrived back in 2021. This time was different for Savannah; she was older, more mature and knew what to expect. There was also a foundation started in her walk with Christ.
Something that makes the Boothe Campus unique is the ability to share about Jesus with the children on the campus. Each cottage attends local churches on Sundays, while Awana and chapel are hosted on campus on Wednesday evenings. More than that, the houseparents work to lead devotionals in the cottages and pray with the children. They live out daily what it looks like to have a true relationship with Christ.
Before coming to Homes for Children, Savannah did not have much knowledge about Jesus or what it meant to have a relationship with Him. “I definitely didn’t know Jesus back then,” Savannah shared. When she returned in 2021 at the age of 12, she was placed in Marshall Cottage. Her houseparents, the Fishers, shared, “When Savannah first came to us, she was enthralled with the world and the pull to follow the lost world’s standards.” Because of this, she acted out and sought attention in unhealthy ways. She needed to find her voice and discover healthy ways to communicate.
Savannah pushed the boundaries set by her houseparents in the cottage. She wanted to make her own path instead of following the one God planned for her. As time progressed, she opened up to her houseparents and their biological daughter, Ruby. Savannah started listening more intently during devotional times and asking Ruby questions about Christ and what it means to become a Christian. She could see something different in the lives of those around her and wanted to know more.
During the summer of 2022, Savannah attended Camp Zephyr, which became her favorite memory while at STCH Ministries. She started to feel God working in her heart during the week. “It was a really good experience, especially worship time, it just really hit me,” Savannah shared. Then, a few months later, Savannah made the life-changing decision to give her life to Christ.
While attending church one Sunday with her cottage, Savannah knew it was time to pray and ask Jesus into her heart. She asked Ruby to walk down with her. As Savannah prayed, Ruby stood there as a supportive friend and cried as she watched her new sister in Christ dedicate her life. “I think that’s just really sweet,” Savannah shared, “she just really helped me through everything.” Before coming to Homes for Children, Savannah struggled with making friends. She never had a true friend to support her, so Ruby being with her in that moment meant the world to Savannah.
At the time, Savannah did not realize how much prayer could truly impact so many different aspects of her life. For the first time, she felt free. “It felt like freedom like I wasn’t held captive anymore,” Savannah shared. “I can definitely do a lot more things now.” Since the day Savannah surrendered her life to Christ, not only has she seen a difference in herself, but her houseparentsand friends have also seen a difference. She now lets people in and shares her feelings, which allows her to heal from past hurts. “I am definitely a lot more honest,” Savannah shared. Savannah struggled with honesty before giving her life to Christ and would lie out of self-preservation. She no longer feels like she has to hide behind a mask and allows people to see her for who she really is, a daughter of the King.
In March 2023, Savannah’s housepop was able to baptize her at their church on a Sunday morning. It meant a lot to Savannah to feel the support of her houseparents and her friends. Savannah no longer feels like she has to be a follower of the world. She is stepping out as a leader in some areas, while in others she is following what is right and just. Most importantly, she is following Jesus wholeheartedly. “I enjoy being a better person and a better influence to other people, it’s better than who I was before I knew Jesus,” Savannah shared. “It’s just a good feeling.” Savannah’s housemom shared, “She is in the process of sanctification like all Christ followers and each day we see her growing more and more to be like Him.”
During the 2022-2023 school year, Savannah decided to show goats as a part of the 4-H program on the campus. She showed her maturity, honesty and determination during the season and because of this, Savannah received the opportunity to raise and show a steer for the 2023-2024 school year. This opportunity is not extended to all students, and it is an honor to be able to do so. This is just one example of how Savannah’s new identity in Christ is affecting other aspects of her life. She is excited to be a leader in her cottage and an example to the younger children on the campus. She wants her life to be an example, just like her houseparents and Ruby were to her.
Savannah is forever grateful for the many relationships she has built over the last seven years because those relationships led to the greatest relationship of all. She is especially thankful to her houseparents and their daughter Ruby for walking with her through this time of her life. STCH Ministries is thankful for the dedication of our houseparents, who work daily to help heal the hearts and change the lives of the children in their cottage. Ultimately, we give God all the glory for the work He is doing not just on our Homes for Children campus but throughout STCH Ministries.