Submitted by philip on Fri, 10/03/2014 – 10:38
Following a recent meeting of the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home & Family Ministries trustees, a re-dedication ceremony was held for Hope Cottage. The home built in the 1970s was renovated with new flooring, updated kitchen and elimination of paneling inside the home. A nearby apartment for cottage parents also was updated. Those photographed at the ribbon cutting were, from left, Perry Hancock, Children’s Home president, Bobby G. and Sandra McCullin (donors), and William L. Smith, chairman of the LBCH board of trustees.
By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
MONROE – Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home & Family Ministries staff members understand the value of having the proper living arrangements for residents on their campus and what effect it can have in a successful and changed life during their months and years there.
“It’s a warm and inviting environment,” said Perry Hancock, CEO and President of the Louisiana Baptist entity. “When they can move into a place that looks like a home, it helps our children to be acclimated more easily.”
Since 2013, quite a bit of activity has occurred on its campus in Monroe for renovations and construction of cottages – a home for up to 6-8 children and two houseparents – that aim to achieve that purpose.
Recently, after its board meeting in which Hancock updated trustees on this news, the staff held a re-dedication ceremony of Hope Cottage, a home built in the 1970s that was renovated with new flooring, updated kitchen and elimination of paneling inside the home. A nearby apartment for cottage parents also was updated.
This was the fourth cottage to receive such updates. Renovations on the Grace and Feazell cottages were completed in 2013 and the Joy Cottage this year. The remaining cottages – Rucker, Faith, Love and Peace – all will have renovations finished in the near future.
In addition to renovations to its cottages, construction should begin within a few months on a cottage and apartments for women transitioning from a homeless lifestyle to one of job readiness.
Started in 2011, HomePlace provides the homeless women and their children a place to stay for six to 12 months at no cost to the residents. While there, the women receive a high school equivalency degree and life and employment skills training through the Christian Women Job Corps.
The new cottage is expected to be complete by late 2015. Two additional cottages are expected to be built in the near future, as funds come in from the proceeds of the Roy O. Martin Fall Golf Tournament, which pays for construction of HomePlace cottages.
Construction is expected to be complete by the spring of 2015 on the four two bedroom-two bathroom apartments for women who have completed the first phase of HomePlace but need additional time on campus.
“We are trying to offer a complete package for them,” Hancock said. “It would be one thing to give them a home, a place to stay. But we are also trying to provide them with life skills to enter the work force.”
In addition to hearing news on renovation and construction projects on the Children’s Home campus, the trustees also were updated on the progress of efforts to build a Louisiana Baptist-sponsored ministry center for orphans and those seeking medical care in Haiti. Hancock is hopeful a 10-acre property to house the center will be purchased in 2015, at which point construction would begin.
The Haiti project is an effort sponsored by several Louisiana Baptist churches and LBC.
Haiti was devastated by a Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake that killed more than 250,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Louisiana Baptists were among those who provided disaster relief soon after the earthquake and that effort has continued with the partnership.
Over time, several churches have been involved. In addition, the Children’s Home has committed to the partnership network.
Louisiana Baptists have partnered with Haitian Pastor Jean Odvald Louis, who has a strong church in Croix-Des-Bouquets. He is a discipler and church planting pastor, having started 17 additional churches, according to Wayne Sheppard, Louisiana Baptist Convention executive assistant to the executive director.
“A goal of the network is to establish a Louisiana ongoing presence by having at least one team in Haiti every month of every year,” Sheppard said. “We desire additional Louisiana churches to join the network.”
Ministry efforts there have included construction, pastor training, medical clinics, evangelism and children’s Bible clubs (Vacation Bible School).
The vision, according to Sheppard, includes the creation of a Children’s Village. Along with the Children’s Village, a housing community will be developed. Micro businesses and trade schools will be established. It will also include a hotel, operated by Haitians, and a school for educating the children. A church plant will be a part of the work.
“Even years after the earthquake, there are so many homeless including children,” Hancock said. “Some of those don’t even know where their parents are. The need is so great even years after the earthquake.
“Where are the children who need us?” he continued. “There are children by the thousands who need us in Haiti.”
The Children’s Home has sponsored several mission trips to the country, including a team of 52 traveling to Haiti Oct. 18-24. Another trip to Haiti is scheduled for Oct. 17-23, 2015.
In addition to the Haiti trip, the Children’s Home also co-sponsoring a mission trip to Guatemala May 30-June 5, 2015, and Nicaragua Aug. 1-7, 2015.
Further information on all of these mission trips can be obtained by contacting Rhonda Hensley at 318.366.2952 or Rhonda@lbch.org and Beth Green at 318.343.2244 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connecting with adoption, foster care parents
One other item Hancock updated trustees on was an upcoming foster care and adoption conference on Nov. 8 at Calvary Baptist Church in Alexandria. Sponsored by the Children’s Home, the Connect 1:27 Conference will educate couples and churches interested in the foster care and adoption ministry while providing encouragement for current adoptive and foster care parents. Couples who attend the conference also can receive credit for orientation hours required to become foster and adoptive parents.
While the cost to attend the conference is free and childcare is available for children up to age 12, registration is required by Oct. 31. To register, visit connect127.org.
Hancock is encouraged by those who choose the ministry of foster care and adoption.
“We have a generation particularly of young couples who are understanding that God is calling all of us to be a part of taking care of orphans,” he said. “He calls some in particular to care for children in their homes. They are taking God’s call seriously to care for the orphans.
“They are answering that ministry call,” he continued. “To take a child, particularly those who are true orphans and in many cases have been abandoned, and to give that child a forever family. Then to have them in a Christian home. That couple is a model of the love God has for the children. And once they experience that love with a Christian family they can experience the love of Christ.”