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Children’s Homes ‘answers the call to serve’comment (0)

November 25, 2010

By Kristen Padilla

Twin girls around the age of 8 stole several people’s hearts as they smiled and waved at the people gathered for the morning session of the Alabama Baptist State Convention on Nov. 17.

They were 67 people — men, women and children — who filled the stage area of the sanctuary at Hunter Street Baptist Church, Hoover, for the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries (ABCH) report.

The people represented ABCH social workers, counselors, houseparents, foster families and administrators.

“Are you willing to continue to protect, nurture and restore children and families?” Paul Miller, ABCH president and CEO, asked them.

“We will,” they replied in unison.

For Mary Williams, one of 13 social workers present, her role with ABCH allows her to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.

“I answered the call to serve because all children need a voice, and I feel I can speak loudly for them,” she said. “We receive referrals of children who have been physically, emotionally abused. The children have no voice. We can stand in the gap for these children. We as social workers can make a difference in the lives of these children even for a short while.”

Jimmy Harris, who, along with his wife, serves as a houseparent, said his desire to serve came from a challenge his grandfather gave him — to be a living sacrifice.

“We should reflect God’s love and not absorb it selfishly,” he said. “With Christian love and gifts from you (Alabama Baptists), we try to help [the children] … physically. But not only that, we give them the opportunity to meet our Lord and … have a relationship with Him.”

According to the Book of Reports, because of Alabama Baptists’ support through the Cooperative Program and annual ABCH offering, in the first six months of this year, ABCH has

• served 232 children in foster, group and emergency shelter homes,

• served 49 mothers and children through Family Care Homes,

• garnered 73 foster families out of a goal of 85 and

• seen 1,801 clients for 5,653.25 counseling hours.

While those on the stage said, “we will,” in answer to God’s call, Miller said it does not have to stop with them.

“This call to care for these hurting children is not just for these down here,” he said. “Is He calling you to do some of the things that these people are doing? Is He calling you to respond?

My challenge to you is this … pray and ask God [for] Him to tell you where you need to be serving in children’s and family ministries.

“Let the redeemed of the Lord out here that are willing to ask God what He’d have you to do in serving and doing what the apostle James called true religion say so,” Miller challenged the audience.

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