Baptism – Christian Children’s Home of Ohio

Baptism

Baptism joy (Story 25 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 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!

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

Trading worthlessness for faithfulness (Story 10 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’re thrilled to be able to share this baptism story from Tim Hartzler, our Campus Pastor. Story #10 from our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series celebrates Mia’s transformation and baptism!

I met Mia last summer when she first became a resident in our Young Girls Cottage. I was working as a treatment specialist in a different cottage at the time, so I only got to see her every so often. I was immediately struck by Mia’s kindness, openness and her bright, vibrant personality. She was the type of kid that made you feel warm inside just being around her. I remember thinking, “Why is a kid like this even here in a treatment facility?”

It didn’t take long to see just what was really going on inside Mia. She began to display anger, violence and rage. I remember her telling me that she felt broken and worthless. She shared details of a past full of hurt, pain and trauma. I felt helpless and my heart broke as I could see this amazing child of God, but felt unable to help her to see the same.

I thank God for the amazing staff that work in our Young Girls Cottage. Through their dedication and daily example, Mia saw the love of Jesus Christ. They tirelessly poured love into Mia to combat the feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness she carried with her. One day, after talking to Miss Cindy, one of our incredible treatment specialists, Mia accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior!

Over time I began to see changes in Mia. She began working hard to overcome her past and the feelings she had about herself. Shortly after I became the Spiritual Coordinator and Campus Pastor at CCHO, Mia began faithfully attending Bible studies in her cottage, asking more and more questions about Jesus and what it meant to be a Christian. I could see her confidence in herself and what God was doing in her grow. One day, we talked about baptism and Mia immediately asked if she could be baptized. I explained that baptism was a public declaration of our faith in Christ Jesus, and I asked if she was ready to tell the whole world that she loved Jesus and was choosing to follow Him. Mia emphatically said yes!

On April 26th, 2019, I had the privilege and great honor of baptizing Mia. I can say with pride and confidence that Mia is a completely changed person from the girl I first met last summer. She knows the road ahead won’t be easy, and she still has a lot to work on (as we all do!), but I am confident that she is on the path to hope and healing, and by the grace of God, will get there.

We are thrilled to be able to share, with her permission, the testimony Mia wrote and read for her baptism service:

“When I was young, I constantly moved from house to house, never knowing where my next home would be. Sometimes I had to steal food so I would have something to eat.

My dad drank alcohol a lot and was in and out of jail most of my childhood. I didn’t really know my mom growing up, and I ended up living with my grandparents.

I became very angry and one day I threatened to hurt someone in my family. As a result, I was taken from my grandparents and placed at Christian Children’s Home of Ohio.

It was at CCHO that I met miss Cindy, who taught me about Jesus. I now choose to get baptized and have asked Jesus to come into my heart to save me from my sin.

I want everyone to know that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, and I commit my life to following Him.”

After reading her testimony, Mia then shared one of her favorite verses: Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

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