Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

 

Working Hard

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…” Ecclesiastes 9:10

FernandoJust three months into his stay at Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, seventeen-year-old Fernando knows that this will be the last “fresh start,” he’ll ever need.

“I struggle with anger issues,” Fernando says with an endearing smile that makes this statement very hard to believe. “They started getting bad back when my dad left—I could show you a file—but things are much better now that I’m here. I still have flare ups sometimes, but they’re not like they used to be. I’m working hard at it. Living in a stable environment really helps.”

Unlike many of his new friends, Fernando chose to become an OBHC resident on his own.

“I followed my dad to Oklahoma and lived with him for a while, but it wasn’t the best environment for me,” Fernando explains. “He tried hard, but it wasn’t working. I had been to the campus with my youth group to do a mission project, and I remembered it being a cool place, so when I knew I needed to live somewhere else, I asked my youth minister to help me get in here. He did, and it’s been great!”

Fernando grew up with sisters, so living in a cottage full of boys is a new experience for him, one he’s enjoying even more than he thought he would.

“Things are actually really chill in our cottage,” says Fernando with another smile. “These guys really grow on you. We all mess with each other equally, but it’s just for fun. We’re like brothers. One of the boys couldn’t remember my name when I first got here, so he called me Big Bubba. He still does sometimes.” Fernando laughs. “I like that.”

Even more than fun and free time with his friends, Fernando enjoys working with his hands. “It helps me,” Fernando says, “I don’t know how to explain it, but it makes me feel good. I like the process and the outcome, knowing that you’ve accomplished something you can look at. Plus, when I’m angry, it gives me time by myself to work through what I’m feeling and thinking.”

Fernando has found an outlet for his itch to work in the horse program. “I can ferry a horse,” says Fernando with pride. “That’s trimming the hooves. I learned it from my dad. It can be a really useful trade. When I got here, I told Miss Kate I knew how, so she watched me do it. Now that I’ve been here a while and she knows I can do it, I’ve earned her trust, so she said I could go down there and ferry whenever the horses need it and I have time.”

Someday, Fernando would like to be a diesel mechanic and just ferry horses on the side. “I’ve always liked tinkering with things,” says Fernando. “I thought I’d go to college and get a business degree, and then I could open my own shop.”

In the meantime, Fernando is learning all he can from his house parents, Sandy and Sherry Embry. “Miss Embry is a math teacher, so she helps me with my homework, and Mr. Embry is a good cook, so he’s teaching me how to do that. Right now, I’m learning how to sweat the aromatics, you know, the onions and celery and jalapenos? They’re also helping me get my driver’s license.”

Although Fernando has been a Christian for a long time, he’s learning much about what it means to follow Jesus from Mr. and Mrs. Embry.

“They make sure we all get to church and do devotionals with us every morning,” says Fernando. “It’s really interesting. Right now, we’re working through a book that goes back in history to see what Bible thing happened on that date. Plus, they’re just nice people. They have a lot of self-control. Mr. Embry is a laid back guy, but he still gets his work done. I want to be like that.”

To those who’ve provided Fernando with his third and final fresh start, he offers sincere and heartfelt thanks. “Because of you, I have a better chance of going to college, having a family, and building a future. For me, having electricity all the time and being able to keep food, or being able to read and do my homework without worrying if the flashlight has batteries, that’s a big deal. Having water and not having to shower at a neighbor’s house, that’s awesome! A stable environment makes all the difference. You’ve given me a chance at a better future.” Fernando offers a warm smile straight from his heart. “Thank you!”

December 2017



For privacy and safety reasons, some residents' names and/or photos have been changed.

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