|Ed and Taniqua at a Hope|
Children's Home fundraiser
with a 1920s theme
I loved the idea of guest bloggers and thought this might be an opportunity to share my Beast writing skills with the world! I offered and there was a drop-out so I jumped at the chance. Thanks, Esther, for the vote of confidence, love you!
I have been reading along this month and have really enjoyed the pieces shared. I especially enjoyed my mother’s origami story. Because I never quite understood why she was so interested in paper folding, this back story shed some light on a part of my mother’s life that otherwise I may have never known.
I would like to tell a short story of how my life has been changed over the past few years. Seven years ago my wife and I were living a basically normal life. We were relative newlyweds, first time parents, and first time home buyers. Our jobs had plenty of upward mobility and promised comfortable salaries in the upcoming years. It seemed we were at the cusp of being able to fulfill the American dream.
Something was missing though; I couldn’t put my finger on it exactly, but could tell it wasn’t there. With this feeling in mind we decided that a change was necessary and indicated that to our bosses. In one year’s time, Taniqua (my lovely wife) would become a stay-at-home-mom, and I would look for work with a larger salary and better benefits. Little did we know, God had other plans for us.
At the time we were attending Cornerstone Baptist Church in Crossville Tennessee, which is an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church. For those of you who don’t speak church, that means we are not affiliated with any larger church organization, and we believe the Bible is the infallible word of God. There are IFBC churches all over the United States, and we send missionaries to all corners of the globe to reach the world for Christ.
Once a year our church holds a missions conference where we spotlight a few potential missionaries and decide whether we will support their mission. That year my schedule was in such a way that I was able to attend one night of the conference.
That night I heard a man preach about how little the average Christian was actually doing for the Lord. This hit me hard, and reminded me of a time years prior when I had a heard a preacher say that if God called someone to work in his service, any other life would amount to nothing more than a miserable existence. I headed to the altar and prayed God would use me any way he saw fit and give me the boldness to follow his plan.
That evening, I could tell that Taniqua had been affected by the sermon as well. As we drove home in silence, I could not stop thinking about the prayer I had offered up and the magnitude of what I had agreed to do.
We were nearly home when I looked over at my wife and said, “I think we are supposed to be missionaries.” She smiled the biggest smile I had ever seen and said, “Good! I thought it was just me being crazy again!” She then told me of a place in Tampa, Florida called Hope Children’s Home. As soon as we got home, we laid the baby down and pulled up their website. There were videos that told the story of the home’s beginnings, its mission “to rescue the next generation” and their needs. Then I clicked a tab that said, Positions Available.
To make a long story short, in less than a year, we sold nearly everything we owned, paid off all our debt besides our house, and moved nearly 700 miles away from home. We were hired to be boys’ dorm houseparents, a position that involves the day to day care of boys from all walks life.
We have been in this position for six years now and have seen incredible things happen. I have seen firsthand as lives changed in dramatic ways. Little children living in the woods with no bed to sleep on, no meals to look forward to, no life at all speak of, come here and find a place to call home. I’ve seen children so neglected and abused that they can’t even smile or play, and they turn into some of the happiest kids on the planet. I’ve watched as boys grow into men and start their lives in a way that would never have been possible without Hope.
The changes here are incredible but the biggest change I have seen is what God has done in my life. I am in no way perfect, but my way of thinking has been drastically altered. I see God’s grace and mercy everywhere, and I know that He will provide for us when we follow Him. He has taken the selfish, prideful, unforgiving boy that I once was and changed me into a man that understands that but for the grace of God I could be in a situation worse than any of those that come here for help. He has shown me that through prayer and faith, incredible things can be done.
Realizing that this has gone long I want you to know the biggest change I have seen in my life. God has given me a compassion that was once foreign to me. I read news stories almost daily about parents neglecting or abusing their children in horrific ways. I hear stories of parents using their children for self gain at the expense of the little ones’ innocence. The worst may be those that - rather than ask for help - end the lives of their children because they see no way out.
After hearing these, I always find myself asking why? Why couldn’t we have crossed paths? Why wouldn’t you have brought your children to a place like Hope? Why wouldn’t those parents have just given me a chance to give their little ones a chance to live?
If you find yourself in such a position where you feel helpless to do right by your child, I beg you to reach out, find help, find someone, and find hope for your little ones. You can access our website www.hopechildrenshome.org or call (813) 961-1214 to learn more.
This blog post was curated and/or edited by The Ardent Reader, Esther Hofknecht Curtis, BSOL, MSM-HCA. The views expressed in this blog post are those of the guest blogger. Visit Esther's page at www.parrotcontent.com for more information.