Challenging and rewarding (Story 43 of 50)
Updated: Feb 5
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). Laurie Steiner, a former employee who served as a teaching parent with her husband Randy, recalls her time with CCHO in story #43 of our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series.
It’s been quite some time since I first set foot on the CCHO campus. A lot has happened since then. To say I had some anxiety when I arrived at CCHO would be an understatement. There I was, stepping into a place that would be my home for…well, I wasn’t sure. For most, it was a year, maybe 18 months. So many new people to get to know and learn to trust. Emotions were so mixed. Sad about leaving what I was familiar with, even if it wasn’t ideal. Scared that I wouldn’t fit in or be successful at “working my program.” But here I was, nonetheless.
I was told that this was a place where I would feel loved not just by the staff, but by God. Individual therapy sessions, group therapy, wish circles, rules to be followed (and broken at times), boundaries to be aware of, sharing a cottage with eight teenagers. Some days — many days — it was more than I could handle. Many tears were shed and more often than not, I questioned my ability to survive another day.
Yes, my first five years at CCHO were some of the most challenging days of my life. At the same time, some of the most rewarding. You see, along with my husband and three kids of my own, we had the privilege of serving as teaching parents and investing in the lives of kids. And CCHO is definitely a place of love and healing, growth and new life. A place where the staff has a common goal of being God’s instruments of love and hope to hurting kids and families. Where we cried with them in their pain and rejoiced with them in their successes. Witnessed them experiencing and accepting unconditional love. Watched and rejoiced as those that “completed their program” got to leave and be reunited with their family. Wept when we had to come to grips with the fact that CCHO was not the right facility for some.
No doubt there have been hundreds of families touched by CCHO in one way or another. Expansion of programs, enhancements of physical facilities and campus. It is undeniable that God has and continues to work through His ministry and His servants. Prayers are continually lifted up for God to protect and guide the steps and decisions made. Praise be to God for the victories at CCHO. There were, are, and are yet to be, many wonderful people who have served on the staff and board of CCHO. But it’s only by His hand that this ministry has been successful.
Congratulations on 50 years and praying for many more yet to come.