“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters…” Psalm 23:2
A fiery redhead with blue eyes that snap, sixteen-year-old Chelsea is an individual with a strong sense of self. Although she was more than a little nervous about the idea of coming to live at Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children when her aunt mentioned it to her three years ago, Chelsea has adapted well to her new environment and appreciates the experiences and opportunities that living here affords her.
“We go out to eat and play mini golf and stuff like that,” Chelsea explains. “We have bikes. There’s fishing and a pool in the summer. It’s nice.” Chelsea also enjoys traveling with other OBHC residents. “My favorite was probably the PLC trip we took to the Shepherd of the Ozarks. There were kids from all the other campuses there, and we got to hang out and talk and get to know each other and stuff.”
It was on one such trip that Chelsea developed a fascination with glass blowing, just one of the many unusual future career choices she is considering. “I may do that,” she muses with a faraway look, “or I might be a voice actor or a professional diver, like the ones that take tourists snorkeling. I’d love that! I love fish. Besides, I’d get to live in Hawaii and wear a wet suit to swim. That works for me. I burn easily.”
Fortunately for Chelsea, she has plenty of time to decide how she will support herself as an adult. For right now, she is enjoying the security and stability that come with living under the tender, vigilant care of OBHC adults like her houseparents.
“They help me a lot,” Chelsea confesses with raised eyebrows. “They make me keep track of my stuff and everything I have to get done and are teaching me about self-discipline. You’ve got to work hard. When you do something, there’s no excuse for doing it halfway. I know that now. I’ve also learned that there are better, more creative ways to discipline your kids than just spanking and grounding.” Chelsea plans to use those discipline techniques with her own children someday.
Chelsea’s houseparents have also been diligent in teaching her the Truth of God’s Word and modeling authentic faith. Although Chelsea prefers to keep the details of her personal experience with God to herself, as she is still deciding how to respond to the Gospel she has been taught, she is willing and eager to talk about the Christian example that her houseparents have set for her. “I see evidence of God in their lives,” she explains. “They’ve helped me understand how relationships are supposed to be. They’ve taught me that the world is not as right as it tries to make itself seem. They’ve given me a good perspective on what’s really wrong and what’s really right.”
To those who support OBHC financially, Chelsea has this to say. “I feel really grateful. You have allowed me to do things that I could never have done even in the very best living situation I had been in before coming here. Most kids in America don’t have what I have here or get to do what I get to do because of you. It’s true. You’ve given me a healthy family experience. You’ve kept me safe and let me see what it’s like to live in a stable environment with no physical violence, no fear.”