Mya Hudgins, Faith Editor
When trying to define the word “home” it can be hard. Everyone’s home, parents and situations are different. A home to many people is where they find safety and comfort, surrounded by family and love. On the other hand, many people do not find these things when they go home. Instead, they go home to some place they hate or are uncomfortable with.
Victoria Widener, a junior at Oklahoma Baptist University, is a part of a ministry that helps young youth as things at home might not be good at the moment.
“Hope House is a youth shelter in Shawnee for kids who are either waiting to get placed with the foster care system or for their parents’ situation to become more stable,” Widener said. “In addition, the shelter functions as a non-profit organization that welcomes a Christian influence.”
As this ministry is found locally in Shawnee, it gives students at OBU to help be mentors and show the love of Jesus.
“The most important thing we seek to do is love on the kids,” Widener said. “Every night looks different depending on the amount of kids there or what they’re going through at that moment. We get to know them on a personal level and try to show that we care whether that’s joking around with them, playing card games or basketball, or listening to their stories. At some point in the evening we come together for a student-led Bible study and snack and end with praying over the prayer requests they give us.”
This shelter has been a home to many Shawnee kids, and it is the students at OBU that have not only given up time but want to be an impact on someone’s life. When sadness is seen in the eyes of the kids, new knowledge is gained in students own life.
“First of all, I would say, it’s not about what you can get but what you can give, and when you are giving that is when you realize what a blessing it is to your own life spiritually to be involved in the ministry,” Widener said. “You also gain a new perspective on your own life when you see what other kid’s that are younger than you are going through.”
Loving on someone can go a long way. When a child comes from a home that is broken, they might not receive that love that they desire.
“The staff at Hope House has told us on multiple occasions how much the ministry and Bible studies have influenced the kids there,” Widener said. “We’ve seen kids go from being completely closed off to the gospel to actually asking us questions about salvation. But even if you don’t ever get a positive response from a kid, you are planting the seed of the gospel in their hearts and being Jesus to them in a hard time.”
The group meets on Monday nights at 6:15 p.m. in the lower GC to carpool to the shelter. Widener says the community needs people to share Christ and encourage these kids.
“Hope House provides an immediate solution in emergency situations in the community involving kids,” Widener said. “The shelter is also a tremendous opportunity to reach kids who are hurting with the love of Jesus right in our own backyard.”
As the Bible talks a lot about helping others, Widener shared Matthew 25:35-40, which she believes goes best with helping at the Hope House.
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
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