Every person’s journey has stories of struggles and hope. For more than 60 years, Oklahoma Baptists have been providing hope in times of struggle through their support of the Mother’s Day Offering. Gifts that are given support the ministries of Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC) and Baptist Village Communities, as they help children and senior adults in need. Jean and Autumn are just two individuals impacted by gifts to the Mother’s Day Offering. Here are their stories.
Jean’s story is 87 years strong. She has been a resident at Baptist Village of Owasso for seven years. The Mother’s Day Offering provides financial assistance for many senior adults like Jean through the Larry and Edwine Adams Assistance Fund. At any given time, the Adams Fund assists more than 70 residents throughout Oklahoma. Over the years, hundreds have been able to live in a Baptist Village because of the generosity of God’s people.
Today, Jean lives in a residential living neighborhood at Baptist Village. “I lived with one of my daughters in Fort Worth, Texas. I moved to Oklahoma to be with another daughter in Owasso,” Jean said. “I was looking to move to a senior living community. My daughter said, ‘Mother, I found the place for you. Let’s go see it.’ We did, and I knew right away that, yes, this is where I’m supposed to be.”
Jean loves living on campus because she feels safe and secure. She enjoys the community and time spent with friends. Jean feels the people there are all in the same boat, sharing each other’s joys and challenges. Jean also enjoys the many amenities available on campus like getting her hair and make-up done in the salon.
Perhaps Jean’s favorite thing to do? “I love to laugh a lot. We’ve got a lot to be happy about here!” Jean can often be seen laughing and fellowshipping with other residents and team members at Baptist Village. She is an encourager and offers a friendly ear to many people.
Jean also uses her talents on campus. She is a wonderful artist, and many of her paintings can be found displayed in her apartment home. A capable seamstress, Jean has sewn many beautiful quilts for use on the Baptist Village campus.
Jean truly enjoys life. However, financial hardships made it difficult for her to live at Baptist Village. “My husband became very ill and passed away,” Jean said. “The situation led to financial challenges for me. If it hadn’t been for the Adams Fund, I don’t know where I’d be. It’s taken the anxiety away and has given me peace of mind. People here are the sweetest, but some of them have just had financial setbacks. I’m very thankful for the Adams Fund and those who support it. God was definitely involved in bringing me here, and I love it.”
Stories of hope, like Jean’s, have chapters that have accumulated over a lifetime, while others are just starting out. Autumn’s story dealt with disappointment and heartache while she was very young. However, God is working in Autumn’s life, and she is learning to find strength and healing in Him.
In 2013, Autumn’s mother was diagnosed with a severe illness and could no longer care for herself, Autumn or her three other siblings. In this devastating circumstance, Autumn’s family learned about OBHC, applied and was accepted to live on campus. It was here where Autumn and her siblings found a place that provided hope and stability, even after their mom passed away.
Nearly six years later, Autumn enjoys calling OBHC home. “Everyone at my house calls me ‘Mom,’” Autumn said with a laugh. “It’s because I love caring for others. I want to help my friends and family and be strong for them.” Through devotion times, church events, watching others love well and live through hurts, Autumn has had the opportunity to grow in a deep relationship with Christ and understand who He is.
“The biggest change in my life is coming to know Christ,” she said. “I’ve become a better person. I’m more tolerant of others, and I’m not as selfish as I used to be. Things began falling into place at a leadership weekend event. Through the speaker, friends and time devoted to growing deeper, I found in Jesus I can be myself. I don’t have to hide or be fake. Once I learned how Jesus loves me, I began to change from the inside out.”
Autumn is involved in many activities on campus, including leadership retreats, Back-to-School Style Shows and the Christmas pageants. “This place has been so good for me and my siblings,” she said. “I hope I can leave a legacy of kindness through my example. Even though we experience setbacks, there is always room for things to get better. You never know where it will come from, but God does. We can trust God because He has a plan to help.”
Autumn said she is seeking more every day what God has planned for her life, but for now, she is very adamant about one thing—helping others. Autumn credits the staff and houseparents, past and present, for pouring into her life without hesitation. The encouragement and love she has received while living at OBHC has made a lasting impact on her life. “There are people who have supported me when I had no one who could,” she said. “People who give and serve through OBHC are so gracious and are making a huge difference in the life of someone who has been through so much.”
One of Autumn’s favorite verses is John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” “God has used this verse to show me that no matter what darkness is surrounding me, it will not overtake me because Jesus is the light,” she said. “I want to have God shine through me and in me in the good times and bad.”
Autumn’s story of hope is not finished. She has dreams and goals. She plans to finish high school and go on to graduate from college, something no one else in her family has done. Autumn loves serving, learning and being a friend to the friendless. “One day I would love to go on a mission trip out of the country to see what others’ lives are like. I think the more hope we give people, the better the world will be,” she said
These are just two of the stories that are impacted though the Mother’s Day Offering. Those who give to the offering provide hope to senior adults through the Adams Assistance Fund at Baptist Village Communities, as well as all the ministries of Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children.
These ministries appreciate those who come alongside to help make an impact in the lives of senior adults and children. For more information about the Mother’s Day Offering, read more stories of impact, watch their video or request materials, visit okmdo.org.