Christian Children’s Home of Ohio

Answering a community calling (Story 23 of 50)

CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). These five decades of ministry would be impossible if not for the incredible support we have received from partner churches. Story #23 in our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry was graciously submitted by Nate Shultz from Fairlawn Mennonite Church, one of many cherished churches that volunteer their time and talent to impact the lives of the young people on our campus.

Our group from Fairlawn Mennonite Church in Apple Creek, Ohio has been regularly volunteering with CCHO since June 2018. We have been coming one or two Saturdays each month to spend time playing with the kids and sharing devotions and prayer with them. We love supporting CCHO because we are able to see the growth in the kids from month to month, and we know they are seeing Christ in the work of the staff and volunteers. We appreciate knowing that CCHO is carrying out the commands of Jesus to care for one another and provide for those who do not have a place to call their own.

We have seen several children work their program to reach personal goals and set themselves up for success after their time at CCHO. Most recently, we were able to celebrate the baptism of one of the kids that we have known for almost the entire time we’ve been volunteering at the home. It is awesome to see these kids take steps to personally own their faith and make it a commitment in their lives.

We believe that it is the responsibility of local churches to care for the community around them. If they evaluate their calling and realize that CCHO should be a part of their ministry, then they should carefully select a group of people willing to work with kids who deserve grace and understanding. Do not walk into the opportunity as “world-changers,” but as servants who are ready to be the hands and feet of Jesus. It isn’t always easy or pretty, but the results are eternally satisfying. Working with CCHO has shown us the world’s great need for committed believers to step out of their comfort zones and be a part of God’s work in the lives of those around us.

Volunteer Opportunities

We are always looking for new volunteers who want to help more young people experience their worth in Christ. Do you have a heart for volunteerism? Head over to our volunteer portal to see what opportunities are currently open. We would love to hear from you!

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

This story is part of our "50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry" retrospective. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing 50 stories about the broken hearts, broken people, and broken families that have been made new by a loving and redemptive God. Have your own story about CCHO and our family of ministries? Click the button below to share it with us.

Read more

Getting close enough to listen (Story 22 of 50)

CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). Today, Rebecca Ryder (MA, NCC, LPCC-S), Managing Clinical Supervisor with Encompass Counseling, looks at the transformational role stories have played in her personal and professional life. Entry #22 in our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series encourages us all to embrace the privilege of hearing someone else’s story of growth, healing and change.

Once upon a time…. Probably the most famous opening line of a story.

I have always loved stories. There were many nights as a kid that I was the last one asleep in the house because I couldn’t put my book down. I was the kid who could block out the rest of the world by getting caught up in a story – much to the frustration of my parents or siblings when they wanted or needed my attention. I always carried a book with me everywhere I went so I could read any time I had a free moment.

You may remember that a couple of decades ago, one of the major morning news networks aired a Friday feature called “Everybody has a Story.” I loved this segment so much because it focused on some obscure person who may have never been given a spotlight otherwise to share their personal journey. There was never a time when the person chosen didn’t tell an amazing and inspiring story! At the end of the segment, the reporter would blindly throw a dart at a map of the US to select the next town or city where he could find his next story. I couldn’t wait to see what would be shared the following week.

Since then, I have been moved by the fact that Everybody has a Story – we just have to get close enough to hear it.

Recently, I have realized that all of the major jobs or ministries I have ever done have placed me in the role of witnessing stories. I was made for that. To be a container, an encourager, a keeper and validator of the story. To journey alongside someone as the story unfolded. Changed. Healed.

My first career was in education. My first teaching job was in an inner-city middle school in Kansas City, MO. There was a steep learning curve in finding ways to reach and teach students who came to school daily despite the circumstances and obstacles in their individual worlds. Most days I became a nurse, mom, mediator, social worker, counselor or referee before I ever had a chance to teach them something. I learned quickly that I had to make an intentional effort to know each student if I wanted to gain any trust and have any hope of helping them overcome barriers to learning and growth. Spending extra time with many of them by taking advantage of an after-school program earned me the right to know their stories and unlocked a passion for one-on-one work.

Later, a desire was born for counseling. A lot of that came from the 1:1 experiences I was having with people and their stories. Counseling involves the ability to listen and be a witness to someone else’s story and pain. For me, it is teaching…but in a different way. I teach coping and communication skills, probe for insight, and help people find their identities in Christ. But mostly, I get to become a container for stories.

At Encompass, our work surrounds the whole person. It is built on what the client already knows. We celebrate the courage it took to walk through the door and bravely share their stories. On my office wall, I have a quote from one of my favorite authors, Ann Voskamp. It states, “Shame dies when stories are told in safe places.” I want to be a safe place for clients to share their stories and unlock steps to growth. I can’t do that without God’s strength and Spirit working in and through me. I rely on Him to help people reframe and reshape the stories of their lives so they can bring glory to God….

  • Like the kiddo who went to church on Easter with a friend and announced to me the following day that she gave her heart to Jesus. And just this week I got to explain to her that Jesus is with her wherever she goes and that she can pray to Him at any time. You see, this summer she has to go live with her non-custodial parent who has been abusive and scary in the past.
  • Like the client who has worked so hard to overcome the effects of multiple traumas only to recently be given a serious cancer diagnosis. I have witnessed her faith and identity grow strong and confident to the point where she now regularly prays herself during sessions.
  • Like the grown woman who is learning to find her voice that was taken away repeatedly as a child. Watch her make decisions without worry of what others will think, change jobs to pursue the kind of work she only dreamt of before, and begin to learn how to play for the first time in her life.

Witnessing growth is a privilege. As a supervisor, I get to work with interns and counselors as they hone their skills and develop discernment and wisdom with their own clients. I get to teach them and pass on wisdom I have gained through my own training and experiences. I appreciated my own supervision and ongoing consultation with colleagues, because one of my fundamental beliefs is that, ‘If I’m not growing, I’m dying.’

Most of the stories I have witnessed don’t have a “happily ever after” ending. At least not like you see in the movies or read in books. Growth? Yes. Progress? Yes. Healing? Yes. God showing up and doing what He does best? You bet. He transforms what we cannot. He becomes the wisdom, and power, and glory. He makes beauty from ashes. I just get a front row seat.

You don’t have to be a counselor to know someone’s story. You just have to get close enough to listen.

Ashley's Story

Rebecca shared these words at our 50th Anniversary Benefit Dinner on June 8, 2019. After Rebecca spoke, we debuted the beautiful story of transformation that Ashley, an Encompass client, was generous enough to share with us. If you missed story 17 in our series, watch Ashley’s video now. And catch up on our anniversary festivities by reading our 50th Weekend Recap.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

This story is part of our "50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry" retrospective. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing 50 stories about the broken hearts, broken people, and broken families that have been made new by a loving and redemptive God. Have your own story about CCHO and our family of ministries? Click the button below to share it with us.

Read more

Fifty years in one big weekend (Story 16 of 50)

CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). As our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series continues, we look back on our first five decades of ministry with a new video that was part of our big 50th Anniversary Weekend Celebration. Read on to watch the video and to read our full weekend recap.

What a way to commemorate five decades of ministry! More than 1500 people attended our three-day celebration on June 7-9, a weekend-long series of events designed to look back on all the ways God has blessed CCHO through 50 years of ministry while looking ahead in anticipation of what may be next. Each day was memorable in its own way, helping to make for one unique experience for everyone involved!

FRIDAY

Our 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend kicked off on Friday, June 7 with the ribbon cutting for our new Children’s Leadership & Recreation Center. This new complex on our Wooster campus consists of a middle school-sized gymnasium, a commercial kitchen and cafeteria, therapy spaces and several classrooms.

Click here to read more about the ribbon cutting, including our guests for the day, and to see photos from the event.

SATURDAY

Our 50th Anniversary Benefit Dinner on Saturday, June 8 proved to be a beautiful evening filled with incredible stories of God’s grace in action. Special guests included Gary Porter, CCHO’s Executive Director for 33 years, and his wife Bobbie, foster/adoptive parent Julie Kandel and her (large) family, and former CCHO resident, Pastor Louie Pantelis. The evening featured a powerful time of worship led by a team of incredibly talented CCHO employees, the sharing of some compelling stories from 50 years of ministry, an inspirational spoken-word performance by CCHO’s own Brandon Jurkovich, and many other highlights.

Throughout the night, we debuted several videos to look back on CCHO’s 50 years of ministry and to look ahead at what may be in store. The first video of the night celebrated our agency’s history, featuring conversations with Gary Porter, CCHO’s current President & CEO Kevin Hewitt, the daughter of one of our original board members, and longtime employees.

Click here to read more about the 50th Anniversary Benefit Dinner and to see all the photos from the evening!

SUNDAY

Our seventh annual Great Grill Off proved to be the perfect grand finale to our 50th Celebration Weekend! With 11 grill teams doling out more than 5000 sliders to nearly 1400 people in attendance, this was our biggest and best Great Grill Off yet. While the competition was stiffer than ever in our burger competition, Spoon Market took home the crown for the third-straight year.

Read a full recap of the Sunday festivities, along with all the stats from the day and a slew of photos, at greatgrilloff.com!

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

This story is part of our "50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry" retrospective. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing 50 stories about the broken hearts, broken people, and broken families that have been made new by a loving and redemptive God. Have your own story about CCHO and our family of ministries? Click the button below to share it with us.

Read more

A ceremonial start to our 50th Anniversary Weekend

Our weekend-long 50th Anniversary Celebration kicked off on Friday, June 7 with the official ribbon cutting for our new Children’s Leadership & Recreation Center (CLRC). Consisting of a middle school-sized gymnasium, commercial kitchen, cafeteria, classrooms and therapy spaces, the CLRC on our Wooster campus was made possible by generous Promise Project donors.

Many of those Promise Project donors joined us for the ribbon cutting Friday afternoon to see the unveiling of our major donor artwork. County Commissioner Becky Foster, the Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce and a handful of CCHO staff members also were in attendance, and we read proclamations from Representatives Anthony Gonzalez and Scott Wiggam, and Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown. The afternoon was capped off with the presentation of the personalized ceremonial ground breaking shovel to Kevin Hewitt, CCHO’s President & CEO, and lunch in the Leadership Center.

This ribbon cutting symbolized our commitment to the continued development of our programming, staff and facilities as we enter the next 50 years of ministry. The CLRC gives our residential team the necessary space to deliver the vital therapy our young residents need as they overcome the trauma they’ve experienced while also allowing us to provide educational support and healthier eating options right here on campus.

If you would like to tour the CLRC or learn more about our campus in general, please contact Dan Franks at franksd@ccho.org or 330.345.7949 ext. 2336.

Photo Gallery

Click the thumbnails below to view larger photos.

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Leading with kindness (Story 13 of 50)

CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). Today, we recognize a community partner who has gone the extra mile to help our youth heal. The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office is the subject of story #13 from our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series.

Helping meet the needs of our residential youth takes a lot of hands and partners. We are especially grateful for the kindness of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. There are good days and growing days in our children’s residential center. With the often unpredictable behavior of youth with trauma, there are times when the sheriff’s office makes frequent visits to campus. They have come out many times in the last month but continue to protect and serve with a positive attitude.

One officer in particular has visited a few times just to check in with kids and bring them gifts. Deputy Kirk Shelly brought the younger girls of cottage 3 some stuffed animals several weeks ago. He also stopped out more recently to visit a teen boy who he had interacted with the previous weekend during crisis. He remembered that this young teen was sad because a peer had broken his ear buds, and so he delivered a new pair of ear buds just for him.

These positive interactions help our youth feel known and valued by a caring adult. For the majority of our residents, their experiences with officers have occurred in times of crisis. A uniformed officer often represents loss, separation, abuse or neglect. We are most appreciative for law enforcement officers like Deputy Shelly, who help break down negative impressions through acts of affirmation and respect.

Thank you so much Wayne County Sheriff’s Office for demonstrating leadership in such a powerful way with our kids.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

This story is part of our "50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry" retrospective. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing 50 stories about the broken hearts, broken people, and broken families that have been made new by a loving and redemptive God. Have your own story about CCHO and our family of ministries? Click the button below to share it with us.

Read more

Life lessons learned (Story 9 of 50)

CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). This next story comes from a former teen resident of cottage 1. In story #9 from our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series, Amanda shares how her life has been deeply influenced by the kindness of residential team members at CCHO.

I was 16 years old when I came to CCHO. I was a lost, angry teenager, but the love and support of CCHO helped mold me into the woman I am today. I was a resident of cottage 1 for almost a year. I made friends that I’m still friends with today. I learned how to ride horses and clean stables as well as saddle horses and clean hooves. To this day I still remember how to do those things. I remember the joy of riding and the comfort of being around the horses.

While I was a resident I had tough days, but the house parents (as we called the cottage staff at that time) always helped me smile again. Sarah and Dwayne were one set of parents who made an impact on me. They were caring and fun and loved all of us individually. They tried to connect with each of us to help us the best they could. Sarah and I used to play SingStar when I needed cheering up. We used to make jewelry too. She was the best.

The other house parents Tim and Jenny were just as amazing. They loved with a gentler technique yet still as effective. If it wasn’t for CCHO, I would most likely be hooked on drugs or dead. But because I was blessed to have them, I am a mother and have a happy normal life.

Each of our house parents had a dog. Theirs was Maggie, a little schnauzer who was the sweetest cuddle bug. While I was there we went on a missionary trip to Noblesville, Indiana to help restore a historic landmark. The experience was more fun than it sounds 🙂 Afterward, we spent the next day at Kings Island. Best day of my life!

I may have left CCHO on not-so-good terms but everything I’ve learned from them has helped me grow and mature in ways I didn’t think possible. I’m now a 27-year-old mom who has a good life and still goes to church and uses the life lessons I learned from CCHO.

Thank you, CCHO, for everything you have done for me. I would still be a lost, angry person without you.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

This story is part of our "50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry" retrospective. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing 50 stories about the broken hearts, broken people, and broken families that have been made new by a loving and redemptive God. Have your own story about CCHO and our family of ministries? Click the button below to share it with us.

Read more

A faithful foundation (Story 8 of 50)

CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). Today, we celebrate the life and ministry of a man who helped lay the foundation upon which our agency is built. Dennis Bowers, CCHO’s first executive director, is the subject of story #8 from our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series.

Fifty years ago today, on a Tuesday evening at Rittman First Church of Christ, 12 men were selected as members of the interim Board of Directors for Christian Children’s Home of Ohio (CCHO). Several months later, one of those men would become CCHO’s first executive director while also serving with his wife as the organization’s first set of house parents.

Dennis Bowers and his wife Dorthea faithfully served CCHO for its first decade of ministry. Dennis and Dorthea, along with their three daughters, Debbie, Denise and Darlene (above), lived in the original house on CCHO’s 175 acres of farmland from 1969-‘79, providing faithful guidance and leadership to the fledgling ministry while serving as foster parents to the organization’s first young residents. Dennis and Dorthea also were charter members of Parkview Church of Christ in Wooster. Sadly, on Wednesday, April 3, 2019 – nearly 50 years to the day that he accepted the nomination as one of CCHO’s first board members – Dennis Bowers passed away at the Sycamore Run Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Millersburg, surrounded by his family.

In honor of his life and his service during those first day’s of CCHO’s existence, we wanted to share the official minutes (read below) from that first meeting on April 22, 1969 at Rittman First Church of Christ, along with a photo of Dennis and his family from their time with CCHO. We’re so grateful for people like Dennis, Dorthea and our original board members, whose heart for children in need helped lay the foundation for 50 years of ministry at CCHO.

Original Board of Directors

Ken Bliler (Sherman Church of Christ, Barberton)
Dennis Bowers (Parkview Church of Christ, Wooster)
Paul Carr (Jackson Christian Church, Massillon)
Rev. Paul Carson (Rittman First Church of Christ)
Charles Deitrich (Welcome Church of Christ, Millersburg)
Paul Hubacher (Church of Christ, Orrville)

Rev. Ed Hughes (Parkview Church of Christ, Wooster)
Rev. Bill Keever (Millersburg Church of Christ)
Joe Noll (West Akron Church of Christ)
Rev. Don Scott (Lakeview Church of Christ, Akron)
Mahlon Sommer (Millersburg Christian Church)
Earl Taylor (First Church of Christ, Rittman)

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

This story is part of our "50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry" retrospective. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing 50 stories about the broken hearts, broken people, and broken families that have been made new by a loving and redemptive God. Have your own story about CCHO and our family of ministries? Click the button below to share it with us.

Read more

Perfect love casts out fear (Story 3 of 50)

CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). We hope you will enjoy story #3, courtesy of Encourage Foster Care, from our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series.

It’s not easy being a foster parent. In fact, many foster parents would say opening their hearts and homes to children in need is the hardest thing they’ve ever done.

Gwyn would agree. When she took in a terrified four-year-old boy and his baby sister nearly five years ago, Gwyn’s whole world was turned upside down. The siblings’ two-year-old brother had just died as the result of suspicious injuries allegedly inflicted by their mother’s boyfriend. After months of praying over the beds in an empty room in her house, Gwyn watched God answer her prayers in an unexpected way.

The transition was incredibly difficult for everyone, especially early on. The little boy, who insists he also had been abused by “the bad guy,” bombarded Gwyn with questions, trying to figure out if he was finally safe. Fear and anxiety ruled him, and he wondered why he hadn’t died too. His anger sent him into intense “fight mode,” repeating the words and actions that he endured from his mother’s boyfriend.

Gwyn says she believed that God had placed this little boy and his baby sister into her home for a reason, and she knew she had to love them in return because “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). “I couldn’t guard my heart if I was going to love them and give them what they needed,” she says. “I had to make them feel safe…. So I just said, ‘Okay, God, I’m going to love them while I have them. While they’re in the circle of my arms, my family, my home, you are giving them to me to invest, to love, to nurture, to do my best with.’”

Breakthroughs began to happen during the boy’s trauma-informed counseling, and six months later, he started praying that Gwyn would adopt his sister and him. That prayer was answered two years later.

Today, the nine-year-old boy has a new name – Joshua, which he chose because he wanted to be as strong and courageous as the Joshua he learned about one day in Sunday school. He’s a big baseball fan who loves camping, fishing and riding his bike. “He’s just my outdoor kid that wants to go wander the woods all the time,” Gwyn says. And after starting this school year two full grades behind in his reading level, Josh has nearly caught up with the other kids in his class.

Meanwhile, Josh’s sister, Lena Rose, is now named after Gwyn’s grandmothers. While she tries to make sense of her big brother’s grief and anger, Lena hasn’t been as impacted by the traumatic events as Josh because she was so young when she was placed in Gwyn’s home. She loves reading and will be starting kindergarten next year. “Lena would swim every chance she gets,” Gwyn says. “She’d grow a tail if she could, so we love mermaids now.”

Gwyn, Josh and Lena Rose

We featured Gwyn and her beautiful family in a recent video for Encourage Foster Care. To learn more about this ministry, please visit encouragefostercare.org.

While the initial trials and immediate turmoil have passed, Josh still has days when his emotions get the best of him. However, his overall progress, Gwyn says, is remarkable. He sometimes struggles understanding other people’s boundaries but he has become much more empathetic toward others.

“He definitely puts himself first,” Gwyn says, “but he’s able to recognize he’s doing it and he can come back and apologize (in those moments). I never saw that at all from him at first.”

In particular, Josh still wonders how “the bad guy” could do what he did. “I told him people can only do that if their empathy is broken,” Gwyn says. While Josh’s sense of empathy was damaged by what happened to him, Gwyn says she has explained to her son that they are rebuilding it. “I said…‘we’re teaching you to look at what is happening to others and how others feel, and you’re learning to care about other people.’ And that made sense (to him), and he took it and ran with it.”

Gwyn’s prayer for her children is that they would “love Jesus ridiculously,” that they would both grow up being incredibly strong and courageous, just like Josh’s namesake, while using their gifts to impact God’s Kingdom. As for herself, Gwyn has been reminded that God is big enough for everything she has faced, and that He will be big enough for anything she, Josh and Lena will face in the future.

When asked what advice she would give to herself at the beginning of this emotional five-year journey, Gwyn says, “Hold on tight because you’re in for a wild ride.” She pauses before adding, “It’ll be really hard, but it’ll be worth it. It’ll be worth it.”

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

This story is part of our "50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry" retrospective. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing 50 stories about the broken hearts, broken people, and broken families that have been made new by a loving and redemptive God. Have your own story about CCHO and our family of ministries? Click the button below to share it with us.

Read more

“I don’t want you to love me” (Story 2 of 50)

CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). We hope you will enjoy story #2 from our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series.

Each day, employees of our family of ministries aim to uphold our three core values: relentless commitment, selflessness and kindness. We believe our interactions with the children, adults and families we serve throughout our three ministries, as well as our interactions with fellow employees, should be infused with these values.

Of course, living out these values day-by-day can be challenging. That’s why we love to celebrate moments when employees show relentless commitment, selflessness and kindness with our quarterly COMPEL Awards. Inspired by 2 Corinthians 5:14 (“For the love of Christ compels us…”), COMPEL is an acrostic for:

Christ
Others
Me
Possibilities of
Extravagant
Love

Each quarter, employees send in their COMPEL Award nominations by sharing short stories about ways they’ve witnessed fellow staff members show the love of Christ to others. We typically receive upwards of 50 nominations each quarter from all corners of our agency, and every nomination is read aloud and celebrated at our All Staff luncheons.

We will be including other COMPEL nominations in our “50 Stories for 50 Years” series, but today, we wanted to share one of the most powerful nominations ever submitted, from our former campus minister in 2012:

I saw Jesus that night…. Several weeks ago, on a Wednesday night as I was leaving one of the (resident) cottages, I heard loud yelling, swearing and profanity. Although it was dark, I could see the form of an animated youth and what looked like two staff members attempting to redirect the over-stimulated girl. I heard her (the youth) yell, “Get the *!%@ away from me…I DON’T WANT YOU TO LOVE ME….” The youth began to alternate between sobbing and screaming. After a while, the youth laid down on the cold pavement in front of cottage one and continued to sob.

By the way, it was freezing cold that night and although I was standing with my thermals, sweatshirt, coat and boots, I was STILL FREEZING out there!

Then, I saw Jesus lay down on the hard, cold pavement with that (girl) and stroke her hair and calmly reassure her…five minutes later, still on the ground but sobbing softly…10 minutes later, both still on the ground, no audible crying…15 minutes later, still on the ground…. I felt the need to help them get out of the freezing cold, so I asked the other staff who was there…if he could get some blankets from the cottage and cover them up!

When I left the scene, Jesus was still lying on the ground next to the youth, comforting her…. He was disguised as (former treatment specialist) Mary Fishburn.

On that bitterly cold night, Mary proved to this former resident that she was relentlessly committed to her by showing her kindness and selflessly putting the resident’s needs ahead of her own. It was exactly what that little girl needed, precisely at the moment, to discover some peace in the midst of her emotional turmoil.

What a great reminder of just how transformational Christ’s love can be for people who have experienced so much pain.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

This story is part of our "50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry" retrospective. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing 50 stories about the broken hearts, broken people, and broken families that have been made new by a loving and redemptive God. Have your own story about CCHO and our family of ministries? Click the button below to share it with us.

Read more