Yesterday my wife and I along with my two oldest boys delivered all the items we collected during VBS to Show Me Youth Home in Lamonte, Missouri. It was my first formal visit to the campus, and I received the full tour with an hour of explanation. It was amazing to see this ministry that our Church supports financially. Honestly, my wife and I woke up talking about all we had seen and heard while touring the facility. Here are my initial thoughts for those who know this ministry or one like it.
1. The Need is Great. Seeing the buildings and hearing the stories of success are compelling. I can easily see how they need lots of money to keep this ministry going. The hard side is that they are sometimes forced to turn children away. They do not just need our physical and financial support to stay afloat but also to thrive and grow. The impact of this ministry is great, but they could always do more.
2. The Children are Precious. Walking around the site, we stopped at one of the homes. The kids were so excited to see us. They wanted to talk and share their lives with us. In talking to my boys afterward, it was hard for them to imagine not growing up with a “normal” family. These kids have it rough, some of them have been bounced around from house to house. It is great they have a place like Show Me for them to learn and grow and be loved.
3. Remember the House Parents. In talking to our guide, he said the house parents at Show Me usually last 4-5 years. The national average is ten months. It is hard for the kids to learn to trust and feel love when their house parents are always changing. I would encourage you to pray for the parents of these kids in every way.
4. Prayer & Money Help, But They Need Other Help Too. The home could use all kinds of donations. They need food, clothes, school supplies and even furniture. Think of all the things you get from your parents in life, even as an adult, and then imagine you have no parents to provide them. Show Me was very excited when we dropped off peanut butter, toilet paper, notebooks and outdoor toys for the kids from VBS. All donations are important. The other side of that issue is that they can always use physical help. They love to have people come over, especially as a group and take on a summer project. This year they have torn down their old pool and reinstalled a new one with a beautiful deck. Volunteers and private donations did all of that. There are always ways to help.
5. Keep Listening to God and Dreaming. The one other thing that came up in our discussion with our guide is the future. They would love to build more homes at all five of their locations. They would love to do more. I quickly started dreaming about how wonderful it would be to have our Church save up money to buy and build an entire home. Sometimes we dream about traveling overseas to help someone when there is a powerful ministry in our own backyard. How might God be nudging you to help the kids at Show Me?
These are some of my initial thoughts. My family had a wonderful visit and are discussing ways we might be able to help in the future. I am already excited about buying Christmas gifts for the kids this winter, but I am sure there is so much more that can be done.