Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

 

Mentor in the Making

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:13

EvaArticulate and charming, sixteen-year-old Eva seems uniquely made for the teaching career she’s chosen to pursue. From constant playful hand gestures to the occasional half-sung sentence, her manner is engaging and calls to mind characters like Miss Frizzle, Maria von Trapp, and Mary Poppins. Her future students will be blessed indeed to learn under someone so bubbly and bright.

Although Eva has endured her fair share of heartaches, this mentor in the making is determined to move past them, leaning heavily on the strong relationships she’s formed with OBHC residents and adults for support.

“About a year and a half ago…well, I realized I needed to be somewhere else besides home,” Eva explains, flashing a careful smile. “My mom and I found this place, and after interviewing, I knew it was where I needed to be. I guess they agreed because I got to move in a week later. Woo hoo!” Eva throws up celebratory hands. “It’s really more than I ever thought it would be. I’m absolutely thrilled to be here. There are just so many opportunities! Next year, I get to take concurrent classes and try out for jazz choir—that’s a prestigious singing group—and pursue other dreams I never thought I’d have the chance to pursue. Pretty stinkin’ awesome if you ask me!”

Although challenging at times, Eva has found life with a cottage full of girls her own age to be a real blessing. “I’ve made some good connections,” Eva says. “The girls are like sisters to me. It’s nice to be around other people who, even though they haven’t gone through the exact same things, have similar backgrounds and can encourage you. Autumn, in particular, has been a big help to me. She’s my age and the best friend I’ve ever had. I don’t know what I’d do without her!”

Eva’s houseparents, the Hummels, have done much to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the girls in their care. “They are both really good at listening,” Eva says with a nod. “When there’s a problem, they’re there to offer a clear outside perspective. They are good mediators, too. Even though some of the rules are difficult to accept, they keep things fair between the girls, and that helps. They’re really good at calming drama and knowing what’s really going on. They teach us to stop and think before reacting and help us understand that we don’t always have to be right—even when we are!” Eva laughs.

“Mrs. Hummel is a good cook and a real teddy bear,” Eva continues, “but she can also let go and have fun when it’s time to do that. One time, we talked her into going on a roller coaster by telling her how slow it was. Well, it wasn’t. She screamed, ‘You lied to me!’ the whole time, but when it was over, she laughed and wasn’t mad.”

Eva recently accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. “I thought I was saved in fourth grade,” Eva explains, “but as time went by, I realized I was just trying to live up to the expectations of others and that nothing had ever really changed. I tried to push through. I thought if I worked hard enough and kept rededicating myself, I could be saved somehow, but I never felt good about it. Then, at a retreat, a guy asked me, ‘Do you really know Jesus?’ I was so relieved! I said, ‘No. Tell me how!’ He did, and I got saved. The Hummels have been really good about helping me grow spiritually. Right now, I’m learning that I need to show other people love even if they haven’t shown me love.” Eva’s smile falters. “It’s hard sometimes, but God forgave me, so I have to forgive others…even those who have hurt me.”

Blinking away tears and sitting up straight, Eva continues, “Becoming a Christian has made a huge difference in my life so far. I have really bad depression. Having Jesus is reassuring to me because I know that even when I’m by myself, I’m not really alone. He gives me hope, and I’m learning how to get up and live life even when all I want to do is stay in bed and sleep.”
With Mrs. Hummel’s help, Eva is taking steps to work through her depression and finding happiness and inspiration in the little things. “My goldfish Clara, for instance,” Eva offers with a deep laugh. “She’s just a dumb little fish, but so cute. You turn the light on and she starts swimming really fast like, ‘Oh! I’m awake. I’d better get to swimming then!’ I just love her!”

Eva is grateful both for those who donate to OBHC and for those who go the extra mile to pray for her and her OBHC family. “They’ve made a huge difference in my life,” she explains. “If it weren’t for them, I’d be stuck, stuck in my depression and stuck in my situation with no hope of ever accomplishing the dreams I’m dreaming now. Those people—all of them—they’re the reason I’m living this present life and the reason I’m able to plan big for the future. I can’t thank them enough.”

May 2017


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