Twenty-one years ago, as a single youth minister in Pittsburg, Kansas, God shook up my little world. I admired the work of Show-Me Christian Youth Home since my college days, as a volunteer with the Christian Campus House at Mizzou, and as an intern one summer. I intended to return “one day” to serve – “one day”, when married and with parenting experience. But, that day had not yet arrived. Nevertheless, my Father showed me the “multitudes” of children who needed a home and a family. They
longed for someone to invest in their lives, love them now and prepare them for a stable future. They were like shepherd-less sheep. Many prayers poured out for those kids, prayers for their provision and their security, prayers for them to have the home and families they deserve. I remember pleading with God. “Father, I see so many kids struggling without a home and family.” “Yes, I do, too.” “God, please provide them a home with a family who loves them.” “You do it. You take care of them. You provide their home. You become their family.”
“Me? I don’t have what it takes. God, those kids need a home with a father and a mother.” “A home with a father is better than no home at all.” At the end of a long list of excuses, He spoke tenderly to my heart: “Give me all you have and I promise I will make it more than enough.”
A Bachelor to the Rapture
A few months later, four boys started calling me “Dad.” God allowed me to be a father to some of the neatest kids I ever dreamed of meeting. I also served as Children’s Services Coordinator (aka “caseworker”) for all the kids at Show-Me. Gale and Karen Culler took me under their wings. I quickly caught their passion for this dynamic ministry.
I continued to long for the day I could provide these kids with a mother in the home. I prayed for her often, to have a passion for God and His work at Show-Me that rivaled my own. However, I started to accept the fact that I may be a “bachelor to the rapture.” With six boys in the home, I didn’t appear to be the most eligible bachelor in the world. And I was okay with that; God used single people to accomplish His purposes.
A Delivered Bride and 42 Children
Two years into ministry, a beautiful young lady interviewed for an internship. Admittedly, I’m not a “romantic type,” but there were some sparks! Jennifer started her internship in January 2000; in May I asked her to be my bride; we married in August. My Father gave me a wife beyond what I ever asked or imagined! In 2007, after Gale retired, Karen chose me to be an Associate Director. I questioned God again,
whether I had the “right stuff.” Again, He said, “Give me all you have, and I will make it more than enough.” Unfortunately, I would have to end our houseparenting role in order to make it work. In 2008, God opened up a window for us to depart from parenting at Show-Me. In ten years, He had blessed me to be “Dad” to 42 children!
In 2011, the Board readied to choose a new Director, as Karen retired after 34 years. Many people assumed I would be the natural choice, but the ambition to be the Director never enticed me, personally. After all, my business cards lacked those fancy extra letters after my name. Plain ol’ Chad Puckett doesn’t have what it takes to oversee
this incredible ministry.
Knee Patches & Big Shoes
After a time of prayer and fasting, essentially begging God to find someone else, I submitted my resume. God trumped my long list of self-identified disqualifications with that simple phrase, “You do it. Give me all you have and I will make it more than enough.” After two rounds of interviews with some impressive candidates, the Board chose me to succeed the Cullers in directing Show-Me. Terrified, I stepped into some really big shoes, relying on God like never before. The past seven years as Director seems like a few months. Tough days, long nights, successes, failures, and many
worn patches on my knees, I continue to remind God that this is His work, and I’m only here so He can get it done. Many times, I felt completely inadequate to do what
He asked me to do. Each time, my Father reminded me of the only miracle recorded in all four gospel accounts: Jesus feeding the 5,000. Jesus’ disciples saw the need: a hungry crowd. They suggested a solution: send them away to fend for themselves.
Jesus directed them: “You give them something to eat.” They focused on their limitations: “We don’t have what it takes.” Jesus assured them that if they
give what they have, He will make it more than enough. He showed them the problem and invited them to become part of the solution.
How Can We Send them away?
I’m standing here again. I see more children who need homes and families and all the opportunities to face a great future and excellent eternity that Show-Me is set up to provide. Every program and procedure has been evaluated to assure successful
results. Tough decisions have been made, programs have been developed and refined.
I look back through my life, and the last 50 years of Show-Me Christian Youth Home, and clearly see His fingerprints all over the place. I look at the lives of kids who benefited from Show-Me and the ways they are contributing to our society today. I look at the kids who currently call Show-Me “home” and see their potential and determination, rooted in the security and support they receive today.
Amazing. Satisfying. Inspiring. And, all the credit goes to God working through His people.
Each day, I still see the multitudes of little faces of children who have yet to find “home.” Instead of asking my Father to send them away to fend for themselves or to fill their needs elsewhere, I am trusting Him to take what we have and multiply our resources so we can meet their needs. And, with eager expectation, I look to my Father– this time without excuses — but with full confidence knowing He can take whatever we have to offer and make it more than enough.
Dear Friend of Show-Me,
PROGRESS. It is an essential ingredient to transform STRUGGLE into SUCCESS. If we are ever to leap from “what is” to “what could be,” progress is the small steps we must continuously make. As Winston
Churchill said, “continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking our potential.”
Recently, the smallest of lives reminded me of this truth. As we heard “Timmy’s”* name called out at the school awards ceremony, most of us in the audience began to tear up. Our cheers turned into a standingovation as he proudly made his way across the stage. His notable smile widened as he received the “Mr. Progress” award, a special honor given to the student who makes the most progress in a school year.
What an inspiring moment for a child! The opportunity to see his struggle turn into success! It was the culmination of an eight-year battle to overcome his continuous behavioral and learning issues. His teachers and Show-Me parents had exhausted many great ideas to try to help the
little guy. Nothing seemed to work to control his anger and hyperactivity. Timmy seemed to cause so many “problems” that it was easy to lose sight of the many problems he was trying to solve in his young life.
One Child’s Story: Timmy
Only three years old, Timmy, with his Mom and five young siblings, fled an abusive home and ended up at a women’s shelter. Knowing it was no place to raise kids, the ministry counseled Mom and told her of Show-Me. She hoped to place her children there for only a short time while the shelter helped her get back on her feet. Soon, that plan unraveled and mom ended up in jail. Not the ending we all hoped for, but at least the children could remain together. In the safety and stability of Show-Me, they discovered their academic, artistic, and athletic talents. They continuously earned Honor Roll and achieved numerous awards.
Each of the siblings found a way to thrive…except Timmy. He began to believe that he might never overcome his struggles. His “problems” were interwoven. Struggles in school led to acting out at home. The only way to solve one problem was to help him understand and deal with them all.
We approached his issues together from all angles.
• Counselors helped him to understand and talk about his past.
• His houseparents created an environment in which he could thrive with consistency and routines. Breaks were added to his studies so he could go outside and run out his extra energy.
• Our self-paced school gave him structure to focus and minimize distractions.
Feeling the love of so many people who believed in him and his future, something clicked! With an amazing attitude, congenial spirit, hard work and determination, Timmy is now embracing a new role for himself and finding success.
How can a child transform struggle into success? The number one factor is a team of support that never gives up. And, that’s exactly what Timmy had in his corner. A team, including YOU, who believes in each child’s potential and is ready to invest in their success. To challenge YOU to be a part of the next child’s team, an anonymous donor has offered to match your gift to Show-Me this summer. Every gift received by July 31st will be DOUBLED – up to a total of $20,000!You can make your donation here! So, let’s create more moments like these for the “Timmy’s” who haven’t had that moment, yet – a moment that makes an impact for a lifetime.
Thank you for believing in each of these young lives and being part of their team. With your support, together, we can turn their STRUGGLE into SUCCESS!
Awaiting the next moment,
Chad Puckett, Director
The past few weeks have been busy for the students and teachers of the Show-Me Christian School. We have celebrated both their academic and athletic accomplishments from the past year. Nearly all of our students participate in organized sports here at our main campus in La Monte. This past year, we had teams that competed in Girls Volleyball, Boys and Girls Basketball, Archery, Track & Field, and Girls Softball. Our annual athletic banquet honored all of the hard work each of our athletes put in throughout the year. Some of our feature awards were: giving out six new varsity letter jackets, scholar athlete awards, given to students who participated in three sports while maintaining a 3.0 grade average, and we honored our Girls State Champion Track & Field Team from 2017 with a special commemorative plaque.
We also honored all of our students at our annual academic banquet. During this banquet, each student is recognized with a Christ-like character trait. Teachers evaluate each student’s performance throughout the year, choosing the trait that the student most showed throughout the year. Each student really looks forward to hearing the trait each of their teachers sees in them. Some of the other honors given throughout the evening include: Supervisor’s Student award, given to the highest performing student in each classroom, three new inductions into the National Christian Honor Society, given to high school students who achieve not only high grades, but maintain high character, and Bible Memorization medals are given to students who memorized every monthly memory verses. 41 out of 45 of our students earned this medal.
We are proud of all of our kids, and all of their God-given talents! We cannot wait to see what the next school year holds.
Watch our newest video, showing you a glimpse of the children and families that call Show-Me Christian Youth Home- “Home”
Many young lives have been touched by our VBS videos, Cowboy and Mr Blaine. They continue to be a great way for kids to learn about Show-Me Christian Youth Home and learn some great lessons about the love of Jesus.
We are excited to announce our new series – The Adventures of Mighty Man– the five-part series will be available for the 2018 camp and VBS season. The video series will take your kids on a fun, action-filled video series where they can find their own super powers to make a difference in the world through missions.
Each of these young adults have earned their Path to Purpose diplomas. By achieving this milestone, each graduate will have access to $500 in emergency funds, assistance in purchasing their first vehicle, and whatever ongoing support they need to keep their momentum moving in the right direction.
Name: Destin McMurray
Years at Show-Me: 4 years
Graduate of: Show-Me Christian School
The Next Chapter: Attend State Technical College of Missouri in Linn, to specialize in Biomedical Engineering Technology. “I will help people by fixing the machines that are used to save their lives.”
Impact Show-Me had on his Life: “When I came here, I didn’t talk to anyone. I was shy and kept to myself. But, I learned how people think and what their actions mean. I have learned the confidence to be a leader.”
Name: Emma Novak
Years at Show-Me: 5 years
Graduate of: Grundy County High School
The Next Chapter: Become a PreMed student majoring in Biology at The College of the Ozarks. After college, I plan to continue onto Med School to become a Pediatrician and eventually travel as a medical missionary.
Impact Show-Me had on her Life: “Show-Me planted a seed in me for loving children and a yearning to help those in need.”
Name: Grace Brodersen
Years at Show-Me: 6 years
Graduate of: Show-Me Christian School
The Next Chapter: Major in Social Work at Missouri State University. “I want to help kids in foster care who don’t have a voice. I want them to feel loved, safe, and know someone is watching out for them.”
Impact Show-Me had on her Life: “I learned to forgive and love the people who hurt me. I had real control issues that I learned to let go. My biggest challenge was finding self-worth and knowing I am loved, but I know God overcame that for me.”
Name: Jenna Watkins
Years at Show-Me: 6 years
Graduate of: Show-Me Christian School
The Next Chapter: Attend Missouri Southern State University majoring in Early Childhood Education to one day become a Kindergarten teacher and Volleyball coach.
Impact Show-Me had on her Life: “Show-Me really is a family. It is all about family. You have lots of siblings, so you never feel lonely because there is always something going on.”
On May 7, Show-Me Christian Youth Home (SMCYH) ceremonially started the construction of its new Reed Home at Drysdale Farm in Barnett with approximately 60 in attendance to make the occasion.
The addition of this new home will mark the first major step in expanding the current Drysdale Farm facility into becoming a campus community for the non-profit organization as modeled at the main campus in La Monte, Mo.
SMCYH is a faith-based organization aimed at helping young lives by providing a safe, stable, loving home to young people struggling because of circumstances in their current home environment, according to their mission statement.
“We face a challenge to rescue and restore even more young lives,” explained Director Chad Puckett. “The need exceeds our capacity. The Reed Home is the next opportunity to meet this challenge.”
The Reed Home will serve as a residential home for a new Show-Me family of up to eight children. Located just north of the current house at 19314 Jones Creek Road in Barnett, this second home will be approximately 3,500 square feet and will have six bedrooms.
The main construction will begin this summer and is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2018. Like most of the homes at SMCYH, volunteers will assist in much of the labor.
“Show-Me’s story is our story: one person will tell me about how their church helped to put up the roof, another how they built the porch,” Puckett said. “The Drysdales or Reeds may have set aside the funding and dream, but it takes the whole community before a child can find safety under its roof. ”
The new home is named in honor of Ned and Louise Reed, who donated their property in Camdenton, to start the Camdenton Unit in 1988. Due to the close vicinity of the new highway directly next to the unit, it was closed in 2008. Funds were set aside to establish this new home at Drysdale.
Over spring break, this past week, our high school students had the opportunity to serve others. They loaded up the vans with four of our house parents, and traveled to Chicago. Throughout the week they served at Pacific Garden Mission, a ministry that serves the homeless in the downtown Chicago area. They helped by making hundreds of beds, serving hundreds of lunches, and resetting the dining room for dinner each day. The mission does not only function as overnight housing for guest, they also have long-term programs that help people get back on their feet. These programs include intense Bible studying and teaching basic life skills to those in the program. The kids worked each day with men who are in the New Life program. These men oversee almost all the functions of the mission and supervised our group during our time there.
Each day we began with a devotion, led by the students. As the week went on, all of the students expressed how impressed they were with the men we were working with. Most of them shared how fortunate they felt to have a place like Show-Me that has stepped in to help take care of their needs. They realized that with out Show-Me their life could have taken a very different path, probably not much different from many of the men we encountered. Through serving these men, women and children the kids had the chance to experience something they will remember for quite sometime. We hope to give our kids many more opportunities like this in the future.
Turning to a new chapter brings mixed emotions – the confusing culmination of loss with anticipation. But, face a new chapter we must from time to time, as the “Author and Perfecter of our faith” continues to write our stories.