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Four entities change lives by meeting needscomment (0)

November 21, 2013

By Julie Payne and Grace Thornton

Four entities change lives by meeting needs

A 5-year-old boy who entered the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries’ (ABCH) foster care program had never had limits set on his behavior. He had never been told no. 

“His foster mother had her hands full. … But she was creative and … persistent and discovered [the boy] was motivated by the opportunity to earn an allowance,” recounted Rod Marshall, president and CEO of ABCH, during the Nov. 13 morning session of the Alabama Baptist State Convention annual meeting.

So the foster mother made a deal with the child, Marshall said. Every day of good behavior she’d give the boy a quarter. He collected $2.50 and kept it in a jar in his room. 

“For him it was like a million dollars,” Marshall noted.

One day the foster mother walked by the boy’s bedroom and noticed the jar was empty. She asked him what had happened to his allowance. The boy, who had been attending Vacation Bible School (VBS) for the very first time, told her, “I gave it all to the VBS offering.” 

“I think when God saw that gift, He saw a child who had virtually nothing give everything — and that’s a changed life,” Marshall said.

Marshall and three other entity heads shared how their ministries are changing lives through meeting people’s unique needs during the morning session.

Buster Taylor, executive director of Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center in Talladega, said Shocco has seen 1.4 million people impacted by the conference center in its 65 years of existence.

Almost 70,000 decisions have been made there, he added, and in this year alone Shocco will see about 40,000 people visit and 1,500 decisions made.

Alabama Baptist Retirement Centers (ABRC) is seeing lives changed too, said Ray Burdeshaw, ABRC president.

The centers help seniors like Ava Kee, who was sleeping in her car until she heard about Knollwood Retirement Center in Roanoke, and Joyce Bigham, who lived in a leaky trailer until she moved to Hutto Tower in Dothan.

“God is truly at work in the retirement centers across the state,” he said, noting that “through your gifts through the Cooperative Program we can continue to minister to the senior adults of Alabama.”

Candace McIntosh, executive director of Alabama Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), said Alabama WMU is “focused on encouraging and equipping Alabama Baptists to live a lifestyle of missions.”

One such person, she said, is a woman named Janet who went on her first international trip with Alabama WMU nearly 13 years ago.

“Today she is preparing to go on her 15th international missions trip,” McIntosh said. “Janet’s Women on Mission leader told me that trip opened her heart to missions, and over these years not only has she gone to the ends of the earth, but she has also served her local community and state.”

She’s served in local ESL ministry and apartment outreach, McIntosh said. “A changed life changes lives.” 

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