A Word from the President
I hope you and your families had a blessed and Merry Christmas. Thank you for helping to make Christmas at Holston UM Home amazing. There were so many special events, parties, lights and smiles on kids’ faces. It was a celebration fit for The King!
I have several special memories from Christmas that I want to take into 2017. In particular one stands out for me. As many of us were inviting our neighbors to be a part of our Christmas festivities, Nick and I were walking back to campus talking and laughing by ourselves. I knew that he had run away from group homes where he had lived before, so I asked him if he liked it here. He said that he did, and I asked him why. He first said, “Because we do a lot of fun things!” but as we walked on, he thought for a minute, and then he said something a little unusual. “The people here pay attention,” he responded. I asked him what he meant, and he said that staff are always around and checking on them, which he liked. He quickly moved on to another topic, and we enjoyed the rest of our walk home.
Nick paid our staff, volunteers, and our donors an incredible compliment that day. Whether they show it by anger, outbursts, withdrawing, or attention-seeking behavior, our kids are longing to feel like they matter to someone and that someone sees them as special and worth getting to know.
Through the years I have seen our youth from toddlers to young adults believe a lie that, “they don’t matter.” They hear this when a parent walks out or chooses a boyfriend, girlfriend, or an addiction instead of them. They feel it when a teacher or coach lights up around the high-performing kid while taking a deep breath to mask their disappointment or frustration with them. Perhaps, most heart-breaking, is when they are alone with themselves trying to make sense of all the hurts. Satan, the great liar and destroyer, whispers something like, “And you know you don’t matter because God didn’t care enough to do anything about it either.”
The child finds himself at Holston United Methodist Home for Children. And it’s as if God clears His throat to interrupt this lie and get His child’s attention to say, “It will be OK and I’ve got some people I want you to meet.” They see caring people who work with them and hear about people who pray for them and who give financially so that they can experience good things. Nick said it best, “People here pay attention.” For Nick, who is five foot nothing, it may be paying attention to make sure no one is picking on him; for Rob it may be Ms. Ella’s serving “Rob’s Chicken Alfredo” using his own recipe; for our preschoolers it may be Ms. Joyce’s making them their own scrapbook with their pictures all through it; and for kids at Christmas it may be parties, sweets, gifts and living at a place that is lit up so bright you can see it from the space station. Regardless of the example, youth hear the truth that their Heavenly Father loves them as much as any kiddo on this planet, and He uses a whole family of His people to prove it. In 2017 my prayer is to see more young people realize that they matter because of the work we do. I am so privileged to serve with people like you who pay attention -- thank you and I pray God’s best for you and your family in the new year!
Bradley S. Williams
P.S. Our fundraising revenue is at its lowest point in the first few months of the year. Would you consider making a gift in honor or in memory of someone who “paid attention” and helped you become the person you are today? Not only does your donation help our ministry but it is a wonderful way to appreciate the special people in your life.