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 another baptism, one of four on our campus just this month! In story #25 of our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series, Campus Pastor Tim Hartzler writes about Brent, a young man who outwardly expressed his newfound faith by getting baptized before leaving CCHO. We will share more campus baptism stories here.
I first met Brent when I worked in our older boys’ cottage and responded to a code called in his cottage. Upon arriving, I found an angry Brent leading a crew of youngsters in rebellion against, in his words, “stupid staff”. This would become a common occurrence in the early months of Brent’s stay at CCHO. Most of my interactions with him were a result of being called to assist when he was enraged and violent. Slowly these exchanges decreased, and nearly stopped altogether, as Brent engaged in his program and his behaviors improved.
About this time, I was promoted to the Campus Pastor role and got to spend more time with Brent one on one. He was incredibly intelligent for his age and had the ability to be kind and gentle. Brent enjoyed memorizing Scripture verses and expressed an interest in getting baptized. There was a joy I had not seen in him before.
Brent was working hard to leave CCHO. The problem was, he had no place to go. As the realization set in that he was not leaving anytime soon, Brent began to feel that his efforts were wasted. He pushed people away and struggled with behavior. He no longer showed an interest in baptism or the Bible.
Finally, the day came when Brent had a home to go to. He was ecstatic! He excitedly told me the details, and I praised him for sticking it out when it was hard.
A few days later, as I was walking with one of his peers that was going to be baptized later that day, Brent asked to talk. That was the first time I saw Brent cry tears of sadness. He expressed regret that he would leave CCHO without being baptized. I wasn’t sure what to do, but then his peer spoke up, “That’s no problem. You’ll just get baptized with me!”
Three and a half hours later, I had the privilege of baptizing Brent and, as he came up out of the water of our baptismal, I saw nothing but pure joy in his face.
More from our newsletter
Brent’s story was featured on the cover of the Summer 2019 issue of our All Things newsletter. Learn more about CCHO and our family of ministries by checking out past All Things editions online, or sign up to get a print version in the mail each quarter!