Doing His Best
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
Humble and pleasant, eighth-grader Marquese is focused on two things, pleasing his mother and overcoming his anger issues with God’s help. Although he has only lived at Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children for eight months, Marquese has already made great strides in the pursuit of both goals, the cocoon of committed and caring OBHC adults that surrounds him being a deep and strong one indeed.
“I used to be in a group home before here,” Marquese begins, “and I liked it. When I learned more about what other kids my age were going through, it helped me deal with my own stuff better. When I got home, I told my mom that I wanted to go to another place like that where I could be around kids my age, but in a family environment, and she found this place for me.” Marquese smiles, his gratitude evident.
“It’s helping a lot,” Marquese continues. “My houseparents, the Reynolds, are great. When I’m about to get angry, they give me advice about what to do and how to handle it. When you are thirteen and in school, there’s going to be a lot of drama. They said that when someone makes me mad, I should go find a teacher or come to them before I react.”
Marquese’s teachers are in full cooperation with the Reynolds and have made themselves available to help solve conflict before it escalates. “Miss Amaya said, ‘Marquese, I can’t help you if I don’t know what’s going on,’” he explains. “So, when I had a problem with another student a few weeks ago, I told her about it. We went to the office and got help from the counselor, and the problem got solved.”
Learning practical problem-solving techniques has helped Marquese process emotion and handle conflict effectively, but meeting Jesus has changed his heart.
“Recently, I accepted Jesus into my life,” says Marquese, his expression joyful. “I wasn’t exactly a bad kid before, but I would get off track easy. Jesus has helped me get control of that. When I do what the Bible says to do, I can see it makes a big difference. Like, I learned at church that if we want God to forgive us for the things we do, then we have to forgive others for the things they do. I also learned if we do something wrong, we can’t just keep going that way. We have to make it right and do better. Like, if I lie, I can’t just pretend I didn’t lie or keep on lying. I have to go ask for that person’s forgiveness and then stop lying to them.”
Marquese continues, “Lately, my teachers have been telling me that I’m a leader.” Marquese smiles at the wonder of it. “I stopped a fight and everything. Even the adults here at OBHC tell me that I work hard and they are proud of me. I don’t argue. I just take my time and get my stuff done.”
A little emotional at her mention, Marquese smiles when discussing his mother. “She is proud of me, too,” he says. “I’ve always had pretty good grades, and that’s because of her. When I was back at home, every day before school, she would give me my medicine that helps calm me down and ask me, ‘Marquese, what are you going to do today?’ I would always answer, ‘My best!’ I still remember that every morning before I go to school. I think, ‘What am I going to do today? My best!’ and I do.”
When he is all grown up, Marquese would like to be an artist like his mother and have a family of his own. “They’re getting me ready for that here,” says Marquese, glad for the help. “I’m learning how to keep my room and bathroom clean and how to get along with others. Right now, I think it’s mostly about showing happiness and joy when not very many people in the world are showing that. When people who want to do well in life look around for real friends, they are going to choose ones who are calm and joyful so they can learn to be that, too. I want that to be me.”
Although he misses his mother and sister terribly, Marquese isn’t in a hurry to return home. “I’m getting the help I need here,” he says, tearing up. “I miss my mom so much, but I don’t want to go backwards. If she hadn’t let me come here, I probably wouldn’t have accepted Jesus, and He’s had a big effect. Without Him, I would still be letting one mistake build up into more mistakes, and that might have affected my future.”
Marquese is grateful to those who support OBHC financially so that he can continue to grow, learn, and develop into the man God intends for him to be. “Those people are a big help to everyone around here,” he declares. “They probably don’t know what a difference they make, but I do. They taught me that something as little as money can change other people’s future. Last Sunday, I put some money in the plate, too.” Marquese shrugs. “I thought that since God has been blessing me with other people’s money, he could use my money to help others. It was the best way I knew to thank Him.”