A Word from the President
As we look ahead into 2018, I find myself reflecting on how good God is and wondering about the new opportunities that He has for each of us and the ministry of Holston Home. It is so exciting to see how He will use His family to serve the least of these and reshape young lives for a better future.
On December 14, 2017 Megan changed her name to Logann Campbell when her adoption finalized just before she turned 18 years old. The adoption occurred as she was being cared for by one of our amazing foster families in Virginia. We love these kinds of endings, but I want to back up and share how God took all of the good and all of our human limitations to bring His perfect plan together.
Megan was one of the youth who went to Guatemala on our mission trip in May. She was very mature and a hard worker who quickly volunteered to work with the other adults responsible for all of the meal preparations for our entire trip – certainly one of the most demanding assignments but not one of the coolest or most prominent.
On the very first night one of the pastors from another group gave the nightly devotion. Although his intentions were good, he missed his point and singled out our kids as being different from the other kids. I could tell he didn’t intend to communicate what he did, but the toothpaste was out of the tube and there was no way to get it back in. Some feelings were hurt and some new relationships were strained. There we were face to face with our humanness, and let me remind you that this is day NUMBER ONE!
The next day he came to us and apologized through tears for what he said and earnestly explained his intent and how sorry he was that it didn’t come out that way. All was quickly forgiven and forgotten as we had an amazing day of serving and experiencing new things with our kids.
From there different leaders brought the devotions each night. By the end of the trip it was this pastor's turn to bring the message again. I must admit that I was a little apprehensive, and then I heard that he wanted to do a foot washing service. My apprehension went into just shy of a panic attack as I imagined the awkwardness of such an intimate experience with a group who had only known each other less than a week, who were dirty and tired from a long day of manual labor, and who were made up of several unchurched teenagers that were already trying to balance the insecurities of adolescence and feeling different. I wished I would have reminded myself how God uses inadequate people in doubtful situations to do incredible things, but I sat there dreading every minute and waiting for the wheels to come off. Instead, it was powerful; it was revealing, and; it was amazing! Our kids were so moved, and afterwards they were crying, hugging, laughing and praising. Only God could have pulled this experience off for us, and He used the least likely guy on the trip to do it.
Meanwhile, Megan was not worshipping with the other kids when it was over. She was sitting by herself quietly crying. One of the staff approached her to see what was wrong, and she opened up her heart saying that she would never have a family. She shared that she had told her foster family that she didn’t want to be adopted and that she always just pushed people away. She said that she tried to be perfect so people would like her but that she wouldn’t let anyone get too close because they wouldn’t like her if they really knew her. The staff didn’t know what to say except that she was a kind, smart and beautiful young lady who would likely have her own family one day even if she didn’t have one right now. They prayed with her and asked God to fill her heart and to bring her a family according to His perfect plan. She seemed to feel better but it was hard for all of us knowing that she was going through this pain and that she saw herself so differently than the rest of the world.
We came back home and shared Megan's dreams with her foster family. The family prayed about what to do as they were in the process of adopting a sibling set of three young girls which were Megan’s foster sisters. A few months later they had planned a huge adoption party for the little girls with their family, friends and Holston staff. Megan was setting up, decorating, and serving refreshments to make her foster sisters’ day as special as she could. Near the end of the celebration, the foster dad asked Megan to go and sit with the other girls as he was going to ask her foster sisters to be their daughters and present them with a rose in front of all the guests. Megan resisted and said that this was their day and she just wanted to celebrate it like the other guests. He insisted and she reluctantly complied in all of her discomfort. After he presented the third girl a rose, he still had one left with one final proposal for Megan to be their forever daughter. I couldn’t make out her answer from the video because of the squeals and the crying, but I think the embrace I saw meant she accepted.
As we think about this beautiful story and the countless others that God has scripted at Holston Home since 1895, I pray that we are encouraged to see how God uses each person, flaws and all, to make amazing differences in lives, including our own. As you have been faithful in your prayers and gifts for this ministry, you are a key player in these stories too. We don’t have to be perfect just perfectly willing for God to use us. I am so thankful for you and your willingness to serve such a vital role in this mission. I pray God's very best for you and your families in 2018!