TWELVE STONES

Life is full of celebrations!

Whether it’s an anniversary, birthday, graduation, or some other significant event, we like to remember these moments because they mark important days in our lives. As believers, there are spiritual markers in our lives as well. These spiritual markers often represent significant life events that are burdensome, difficult, and seemingly hopeless. Many of these experiences become etched in our minds and allow us to look back and see where God was actively working to carry us through those times.

TWELVE STONES

The first few chapters of Joshua tell the story of the Israelites crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land. We are told of a desperate moment where the people literally had to step out into overflowing waters on faith in order to see how God would provide. When they obeyed, God held back the waters of the Jordan and enabled his people to cross the river on dry ground. To commemorate that miraculous event, Joshua took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan riverbed and placed them at Gilgal as a memorial of God’s provision. Joshua 4:21-24 says, “In the future, when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘what do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over.”

As of July 4, 2017, exactly 100 years ago, 20 families in White County risked home and farm to raise $3,000. That money was used to purchase 40 acres of land in Carmi, which they deeded to the Illinois Baptist Association so the Baptist Children’s Orphanage could be built. As Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services enters our 99th year of ministry, it is amazing to think about all the lives that have been touched because of the faithfulness of those 20 families and the many others who prayed for and contributed toward the establishment of the Baptist Orphanage in 1918.

Just like the twelve stones that Joshua placed at Gilgal so that “all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful”, BCHFS stands today as a testament to God’s plan, purpose and provision. From 40 acres of dirt, God has grown and used the ministries of BCHFS to reach thousands of children and families who find themselves in difficult, challenging times. It is with humbled gratitude and awe that I consider the work of the LORD through this ministry and the provision of faithful Illinois Baptists who continually support His work.

In 2016, the Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services provided care for 1,237 children and families in Illinois and beyond. Through the Baptist Children’s Home in Carmi, our Angels’ Cove maternity center in Mt. Vernon, our adoption and foster care ministry, Safe Families homes across Southern Illinois, Cove Connection in Mt. Vernon, 11 Pathway offices across Central and Southern Illinois and our orphan ministry in Uganda, these 1,237 individual lives were impacted by our mission to provide Christ-centered services that protect, heal and restore. During 2016, we also were able to rejoice in the expansion of God’s Kingdom with 8 professions of faith!

Last year, we were able to complete several capital improvement projects including the paving of half of the campus drive. In addition, we purchased a car and a van, which were desperately needed. Throughout the year, our staff worked hard to control expenses in order to accommodate for a decrease in projected gifts.

On a personal note, in 2016 I accepted the call to serve as your Executive Director at the Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services. To see the LORD’s work in this process has been a spiritual marker for me. I am thankful to the many partnering individuals and churches that I have met in such a short period of time. It has been an inspiration to hear your stories of faithfulness and sacrifice. Your commitment to helping build a better life for children and families in crisis stands as a testimony to the LORD’s work.  These are our stones!

Also, I am thankful to follow in the footsteps of one of the most humble, yet passionate servants, Doug Devore. Doug’s retirement after nearly 44 years of service has left a rich legacy of faithfulness and consistency to this ministry. I am appreciative to Doug and the Board of Trustees for the guidance and direction they provide as the work continues. I am also grateful for the many encouraging cards, letters, calls, notes and stories of how the LORD has called you to support this ministry.

Thank you for this opportunity. 

Denny Hydrick, BCHFS Executive Director
Denny Hydrick
BCHFS
Executive Director

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