World Changers – Making a Difference

by Belinda Smith

Just recently I heard one of our junior high boys say he wanted to make a difference in the world but he felt he wasn’t old enough to really do anything yet. We want our youth to understand that they can play a vital role in advancing the kingdom NOW. Everyone can do something right where they are, no matter their age. Three ways we are focusing on: PRAY, GIVE and GO. We can always pray, often give, and sometimes
we are even called to go. We created a visual on the wall so we can see how
Show-Me Christian School has reached out and made an impact on their family/school, community, country, and world throughout the school year: coloring on a gift sack used to encourage someone; baking cookies or raking leaves for a neighbor in the community; volunteering to help with Special Olympics or another event; giving money to help build an orphanage for those rescued from human trafficking; praying for churches, missionaries and organizations, spending a week in El Paso, Texas; or maybe even taking a trip out of the country….everyone can do something.
At the beginning of the year, the kids were asked a question: “How do you see God using you in the future to advance the kingdom?” My husband starting asking young people this when talking about the future, for the purpose of prioritizing God’s plan over our own. Also on the wall are pictures of each of our world changers next to how they want God to use them… future web designer, chef, actor, police officer, missionary, pilot, physical therapist, dog trainer, nurse,athlete, etc. Spreading the Word of God is not just for preachers and missionaries. We are all commanded to spread the Good News.

We greatly appreciate God’s provisions through our Show-Me friends that love and support us. At the same time, we don’t want our kids to ever feel entitled. It is our desire to teach our youth how to give back or pay it forward. We want them to be “others minded.” The best way to feel better is to do something nice for someone else. This has shown to be true with our students through the following comments after serving others in El Paso, TX, during our Fall break:

“I liked seeing how happy everyone was with the work we did on the church.”
– Ethan, 7th grade

“Something I’ll always remember is the overwhelming gratitude [of those we served]”
– Emily, 12th grade

“My favorite part was seeing the joy and excitement on the faces of the kids.”
– Josie, 10th grade

“Hanging out with all the kids and being a part of the VBS was my favorite.”
– Deonsay, 9th grade

When we serve others, we are both the giver and the receiver of the blessing. Service is rewarding and humbling. Our desire is to continue planning trips and projects that will give our youth experiences and perspective while reaching out to those in need but also to keep our eyes open to simply fill a need when we see it. We are raising world- changers who aren’t waiting for the future to make a difference. They are making a difference now!

By |2018-11-05T11:22:34+00:00November 5th, 2018|Categories: Child's Story, Children, Testimony|

More than Enough- Nothing is Impossible with God

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.

 

By |2018-09-18T17:20:14+00:00August 12th, 2018|Categories: Children, Houseparent, Testimony|

Jerrica’s Story: Rebuilding Bridges

For many of the 2,000 children who have called Show-Me “home,” the path that brought them here was treacherous—one filled with neglect, fear, and uncertainty. Some have been homeless, some have parents in prison, and some of the kids got in trouble with the law themselves where Show-Me was their only alternative to juvenile detention. For others, their guardians’ just felt like Show-Me could provide them with a better life than they could on their own.

Jerrica’s journey is a fairly typical case. She joined our Show-Me family when she was 14 years old. By the time she reached our doors, she had been placed in home after home staying with countless faces. Nothing seemed to work out. “My whole life was a mess. Nobody wanted me. Nobody trusted me. I had burnt all my bridges,” remembers Jerrica.

The thought of graduation and a positive future seemed an unachievable goal. “I never believed I would make much of my life,” said Jerrica. “The idea of graduating in 2012 seemed a million years away. I kept telling myself that I was never going to make it. I should just give up and drop out now.”

Life at Show-Me wasn’t easy at first. Her rebellious attitude and distrust of everybody and everything made “fitting in” difficult. In her eyes, no one seemed to want her. Searching for acceptance, she acted out to try to be “strong” and “hard.” But, her Show-Me houseparents, Jeff and Jessica Weber, would not give up on her. They accepted her for who she was, not how she acted. She became a part of their family providing her with a structure and stability she never had before. That love and guidance changed Jerrica. She began to trust others and with that trust, slowly, came change.

Jerrica has now blossomed. She is active in her youth group, loves to help with the other kids on campus, and always has a smile on her face. She finished her studies early and will not only graduate, but receive her diploma with honors after managing a 3.5 GPA.

Our new Path-to-Purpose program has helped unite her passion for kids with a solid plan and set of resources. She has earned a number of scholarships and is working this summer at a nearby Christian camp to help with school expenses. She will start college in August at Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, Missouri working toward her degree in Elementary Education. She hopes to teach Second Grade and make a difference in children’s lives.

“I don’t like thinking of where I would be if it weren’t for God. Before, I dreaded each day. I didn’t know what I would do, who I would meet or where my mom would take me. Now I feel safe and secure,” exclaimed Jerrica. “For the first time, I am excited about the next part of my life and ready to get there. I know it is going to be a bright future and I know I have a huge family who always has my back!”

 

Shambrishia’s Story: A Family of Her Own

Shambrishia Jones appreciates her family more than words can say. She knows what a blessing they are, because she knows what it is like to be separated from your family and not have a place to call home.

Born to parents who were too young to care for her, she spent the first few years of her life with her grandparents. After five years, they decided it was time for her parents to be responsible for her and her three siblings. Her mom and dad struggled to provide any stability. She remembers, “we moved around a lot, living at homes of my aunts and uncles and with people we did not know. We lived in cars at times and were always going to lots of parties.”

In 1990, nine-year-old Shambrisha, her sister and brothers were placed in foster care. While she admits foster care may have taken her out of a dangerous situation, it also struggled to provide stability. None of the homes could accommodate her whole family, so she kept being separated from her sister and brothers.

“All the foster homes that we stayed in were short term — some were for a year, for others it was only months until we had to move to a different (foster) home and begin again,” said Shambrishia.

Six years and six different foster homes later, her case worker came to her with the news she had been waiting so long to hear. She had finally found her a place where she and her sister, Yoshi, could be together until they were grown. That place was Show-Me Christian Youth Home.

“When I first came to Show-Me I was scared, but also happy. I didn’t know where I was going to be or who I was going to live with, but I knew at least I was going to live with my sister.”

Shambrishia joined the Chaney family in Camdenton. “I finally had a safe, secure and stable, long-term home,” she recounts. After a year that stable home grew into a life-long family when Shambrishia and Yoshi were adopted by the Chaney family.

“Not only did Show-Me allow me to be a part of the Show -Me family, they also gave me a loving, caring, patient, understanding family to call my own.”

After graduating from high school, Shambrishia attended Ozark Christian College, and then returned to Show-Me to provide daycare for the little ones and serve as a relief houseparent. Miss Brishia is still remembered for her big smile, contagious laughter, joyful spirit, and a hug for all the children that spent time in her home. “I wanted to show each of these kids the love of God just as I experienced it growing up here,” she said.

In 2008, God spread that love across the United States when she married Derrick Jones and moved to Maryland to start a family of her own. Their family grew and now includes a daughter, Alayna. Miss Brishia continues to help children at a local public school as an Additional Adult Assistant for children with autism.

“I learned from Show-Me how to be patient with people and make sure I show them that I care about them,” said Shambrishia. “What impacted me the most was the love that Show-Me has for each child no matter where you came from, what brought you to Show-Me, your race or disability. Show-Me accepted me and showed me love — God’s love. As a child that made me feel safe, secure and stable. It showed me that everything was going to be okay. That is what I needed.”

 

By |2016-10-24T22:32:43+00:00September 17th, 2012|Categories: Child's Story, Children, Teen, Testimony|