RESIDENT & ALUMNI TESTIMONIALS
REFLECTIONS OF A RESIDENT
“Through the whole process of preparing to return home, the same questions: ‘How do you feel? Are you nervous? Do you think you are ready?’ are frequent in my daily conversations. But a few nights ago, while talking to my godmother, I was asked for the first time, “What was it that caused everything to change?” This was a question that I was not expecting, but I was completely prepared to answer it.
Before I came to the Children’s Home I felt the need to cut myself nearly everyday. I had gone from therapist to therapist to work through 7 years of sexual abuse. I became so depressed that I didn’t even want to decorate our Christmas tree. The slightest criticism made me feel worthless and soon I felt that I didn’t deserve to live. I was a mess. I had over 2,000 scars on my body and spent a total of 4 months in different hospitals. My GPA dropped from a 4.2 to a 0.3. But that was before I came to live here at the Children’s Home. That is not to say that I didn’t have my ups and downs, and there were a lot more downs in the beginning – just ask my houseparents. But through all the crap I put my family and my houseparents through, I finally learned to give up and let go.
And just as easy as it sounds, one day, everything completely changed. In a heap at the bottom of my shower, mascara smeared across my face, I sat and cried and talked to God until I had told Him everything I wanted and needed in this life. Then I told Him what I was going to do to get there. That was the moment when everything changed. I had given my life to the Lord and I let go of all my anger and sadness and moved on.
I have never been so happy. I only thought it had been a year or so since I had been happy, but feeling this way made me realize it has been many years. Just like the saying… it takes more muscles to frown that to smile… it takes more energy and stress to fight within yourself and put up walls than to just be free.
There have been many changes and “firsts” during my time here at the Home that I never expected to experience while living here. And as I become closer with the Lord I feel more and more compelled to work in the ministry field.
There are a few times in a person’s life when they are completely surrounded by absolutely amazing people. Living at the Home is one of those rare and lucky times. Whether it was my houseparents or other cottages, someone was always there for me to fill the void when I longed for my family.
To all the girls in my cottage, you have taught me so much, and it has been a blast. Looking back even the drama was fun. Among the hundreds of important things my stay here at the Home as taught me is that there is a plan for every life, a purpose and meaning for everything and for what it’s worth, I am sadder to be leaving here than I was to be coming here just 8 short months ago.”
COMMUNITY, STAFF & TRUSTEE TESTIMONIALS
E-mail from Church Member following A Day On Campus Event
As a long time member of the United Methodist Church I sometimes become a little frustrated and even a little disenchanted with how the church manages its resources and directs its ministry. All it takes for me to put away those disappointments is a Day on Campus event, like the one I participated in yesterday. Only 30 minutes of seeing and hearing the children present their music and dance program is more restorative to me than witnessing a hundred baptisms. I can see and hear the results of the church's ministry to these young people, and I am rejuvenated in knowing that any support we give to the Florida UMCH is more than well directed, and even ought to be increased.
There was one song that the children sang, which had the lyrics projected on the screen, and which was very touching to my heart. It was toward the end of their songlist, and may have been entitled "Gone, gone, gone". At least those words were in the lyrics, dealing with the hurts a child experiences at the hands of their abusive parents and others. To me that song expresses the essence of what the Children's Home is all about, in that, along with the restorative love of God, the children have had replaced in their lives the hurtful times in their abusive homes with the love and kindness of those around them at the Children's Home.
Is there a way you can send me by e-mail, or otherwise, the full lyrics of that song? I want to use it as the focus of a program I will be presenting to our church about the activities of the Home. By the way, my wife, Lilla Moye, is the LCR for our church, the Southwest United Methodist Church of Gainesville.
I want to thank you and all of the staff and volunteers for hosting us yesterday. It is a visit that had an impact on me beyond just acquainting me with the activities of the Home. It was a true inspiration.
Blessings to you and all of those there,
Southwest United Methodist Church
E-mail from LCR, Foster and Adoptive Parent
I want to tell you that I am very excited about being an LCR!
Our youngest son, Chris, was adopted and the whole process started with the Methodist Children’s Home in 1992.
My husband and I wanted to adopt and we spoke with our pastor, Rev. Jayne Nell Hickman. She connected us with Rev. Tom Derrough who was at the Children’s Home at that time. Chris had been at the Home since he was 4 and Tom had taken him into his home as he was withdrawing.
We set up a day to come for a visit and go on a picnic with Tom, Ginny and Chris as friends of theirs. We made the trip from Melrose to Enterprise with our oldest son, Brad. We had a wonderful visit with many more to come. On that day, on our way home, Brad said he wanted to bring Chris home with us.
That was the beginning. We made many trips back and forth over the next couple of months. My husband Gary and I took foster care classes in Gainesville. Once we completed them, Chris came to live with us and about 18 month later the adoption was final.
We made many trips each month to DeLand for family court as required. For Gary, Brad, Chris and I it was a long and sometimes frustrating two years. But he was finally ours. Thanks to the Children’s Home for being there.
We keep in touch with Tom and Ginny and our retired pastor, Jaynie Nell. Chris is now 22 and a very responsible young man. His life has left a mark on him still. But we love him and help him the best we can.
This is why I am so happy to serve my church as the representative for the Children’s Home.