Homelessness. Loss of a job. Addiction. Coronavirus. The recent upheaval has brought to light for the country something that every child who comes to Show-Me has had to learn. Since God is a loving Father, all-knowing God and Lord, who only wants the best for us – then, not only did He know of the struggles we would face, but He allowed them for some reason. Crises, unforeseen hardships, and out-of-our-control life events reveal greater truths. Instead of focusing on the darkness, we need to look for the lights He is surrounding us with. The worst of times bring out the best in people. Only if we learn to trust God looking past our current difficulties will we discover these overlooked blessings.
Show-Me was bustling as 2020 kicked off. Schools and homes were near bursting at the seams as we continued to push our capacity. Volunteer groups, staff, and skilled craftsmen flooded the campuses to keep progress moving on the construction of two new houses and site improvements. Volunteers put finishing touches on the interior of the Leadership U Arena. The main campus looked like giant moles had invaded as trenches were dug to update water, waste, and electrical infrastructures. Phase I of the 2020 Vision Campaign to Rescue and Restore Even More was on schedule to be completed in the summer.
Then, COVID-19 happened…
In March, the difficult decision for safety was made to begin to isolate our families and limit any outside contact. Sporting events, the school play, and the Troy Culler Memorial Basketball Tournament were canceled. Volunteer activities, mission teams, and tours rescheduled. All off-campus travel, promotions, and church visits postponed. School continued at each campus, but satellite homes no longer came to the main campus for programs like Leadership U or Path to Purpose. But, for the most part, day-to-day family life still remained relatively “normal” except for maybe not seeing new places or faces.
A New “Normal” !?!
That all changed in April following the governor’s stay-at-home order. Since the physical, emotional, and spiritual mission of rescuing and restoring young lives is considered essential, our staff were frontline workers providing around-the-clock care. The main office remained open only on a limited basis. Staff worked remotely from home, coming in only as needed. Remarkably resilient, our houseparents played the role of teacher, counselor, and recreational director as they balanced the needs of eight to ten kids under the same roof.
School was conducted at home. The flexibility and self-paced format of the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) curriculum adapted well to the circumstances. Using rotating schedules, each family was able to meet with school administrators for testing. Regular counseling appointments were conducted by video conference. From the gym to the clothing barn, families coordinated ways to share resources and keep the routines as normal as possible for the kids. Minimizing any chance for germs, each area was cleaned before the next family’s turn.
School wrapped up in May with all 46 students finishing their studies and passing their classes. Each of the five seniors received their diplomas. Due to social distancing, this year’s graduation was a small event with only immediate family attending. Those not able to attend in person watched the ceremony online. Face masks were as much in style as the traditional cap and gown.
Now, as restrictions ease, Show-Me is shifting back to traditional routines. Staff resumed full-time on-site operations on June 1st. Families have begun speaking at churches and other promotional gatherings. In July, volunteer groups, tours, and outside contact will gradually start again on campus. At the end of July, Show-Me Christian School students will start their 2020-2021 school year. And, our families are eagerly looking to reconnect with YOU, our bigger Show-Me family, at the 2020 Annual Open House in September.
Like the rest of the country, we improvised and adapted to ensure everyone remained healthy, basic needs continued to be met, and that there was always enough toilet paper. Yet, in the chaos, God, through His people, continued to meet each challenge with a blessing.
With so many teenagers under our roofs, you might think that food would need to be rationed. But, our food supply was one of the biggest blessings. Each family had plenty of meat due to 12 cattle from our Drysdale campus being butchered in February. We didn’t have to deal with empty store shelves because we utilized the donated items in our food barn. We continued to receive the left-over baked goods from local grocery stores and returned clothing from Walmart. Hiland Dairy provided milk to each of our households. A steady supply of fresh fruit, vegetables, and eggs was brought to us from local farmers. We were even able to share these blessings with former Show-Me families, local ministries, and other non-profits.
There were even benefits to being quarantined at home. No longer having to juggle sports schedules and church visits, houseparents found some much appreciated downtime. The kids helped with projects around the house and campus. Some of the older boys helped Nathan Smith finish putting together horse stalls for Leadership U. The extra time also helped the three new sets of houseparents – the Bowser, Holloway, and Stilfield families – get settled into their new surroundings.
Families coordinated movie nights on the lawn, pool times, and other activities for the kids. Pick-up games of volleyball, basketball, and kickball were organized. They united around kitchen tables and backyards to play games or talk. Using their musical talents, some kids led worship in the homes on Sunday while others sang or read scripture.
Even from a distance, supporters found ways to encourage and keep spirits high. A church in Nebraska filled our food pantry with 250 boxes of kid’s cereal. An anonymous couple sent each of our staff a letter of encouragement and $20 to do something nice for their family. Two RVs were donated for our families to share. To help remind them of better days ahead, one supporter offered to pay the cost for each family to go on a fun recreational outing together.
COVID Only Confirms the Mission More
Show-Me has not been immune to the effects of the pandemic. Financially, there has been an overall decline in donations as some long-time supporters and churches face financial hardships of their own. God answered our immediate need with a large estate gift, which at this time has made up for the current loss.
COVID-19 may have caught the world by surprise, but not God. We know that times like this magnify problems and hardships for families. Too often, children are the ones caught in the middle. Situations like this reflect on how crucial our ministry is to take care of these vulnerable lives, and to show Christ’s message of love in action, not just words. In faith, we continue to strive ahead carrying on the mission He has given us. And, thanks to you, we know that we are not alone.
A Step to Connect What We Love with Who We Know
“A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With One Step”
– Lao Tzu
“IMPOSSIBLE!” would be the gut-reaction of most of us, if we saw God’s plan for the rest of our lives. Knowing the challenges ahead, our fear could paralyze us before we start. Lao Tzu’s saying, the 2020 Restoration Gala’s theme, reminds us that all tasks – no matter how big or difficult – start in the same way…with a single step. It doesn’t matter if it is expanding to meet the ever-growing need of children, or trying to outrun childhood ghosts. Each seemly ‘impossible’ journey starts with a single step of faith, trusting God to provide along the way everything else needed.
“How Can I Do Nothing?!?”
Left to grow up in unhealthy environments, children experience traumatic events that remain with them the rest of their lives affecting relationships, prospects of a successful future, and their faith – in God, in others, and in themselves. Even the lucky ones, who appear to break the cycle (see Keyon Dooling’s story on page 3), may carry emotional scars that threaten everything. Without help, the odds are stacked against these young lives having a happy childhood or growing into healthy, independent adults.
Over 50 years ago, upon seeing these battered young spirits, a group of Good Samaritans were compelled to answer, “How can I do nothing!?!” Collectively, they stepped forward to create Show-Me and rewrite the near and eternal futures for hundreds of children.
Can We Keep Turning Them Away?
The sad fact is that each year Show-Me can only say “YES” to five percent of the requests for help. Our current homes have reached their capacity. Safely, we can no longer add to the 50-year-old framework with short-term renovations, which are not cost-effective or adequate. If we are to meet the growing demand to help more children, our infrastructure must be rebuilt so new homes can be added. Compelled once again by the Spirit, a request is being sent out to find compassionate hearts willing to step with Show-Me as part of The 2020 Vision Campaign to Rescue and Restore Even More.
The $3 million campaign will enable us to serve up to 85 children by adding three new homes and expanding our school capabilities. The first step is almost complete and funded with the updating of the main campus infrastructure (water and waste management systems). The next step is to build two new homes and enlarge the current school facilities to accommodate up to 80 students. The second campus in Barnett, MO continues its development with the Reed home currently under construction. Future steps will include a new office across from the homes and school, creating more safety check-in points and relocating non-school staff and programs.
If Children Can Be Helped, But No One Knows…
To provide the stability needed for the new families that will live in the three homes currently under construction, we must not only maintain, but increase our steady, ongoing, monthly support. The estimated cost to support a new 10-person family is an additional $5,000 per month per home. New supporters must be found to help the children waiting.
But where? Each year, more and more of our most faithful, long-term supporters have gone on to be with the Lord. Congregations struggling to keep their doors open trim their missions support. Today, fewer churches and Sunday Schools provide time for missions to speak. Christian Conferences and camp attendance have seen a steady decline over the last 25 years. Relying more on mainstream methods such as billboards or commercials is just too costly to be practical.
The problem is not people believing in the mission; almost everyone who talks with a child or comes out to visit becomes active in some way. “I never knew a place like this existed for kids,” is a common phrase uttered by first-time visitors. The problem is how do we connect Show-Me in its rural locations with new supporters, most of whom do not live anywhere close to Show-Me and whose lives are dictated by their hectic schedules.
If They Can’t Come to Show-Me, Bring Show-Me to Them!
In 2018, the 1st Annual Restoration Gala was held. While financially a success, the greatest treasure came in the form of new relationships, which have opened doors for Show-Me to speak at their businesses, community groups, and churches.
Kim Ream, a former American Family Insurance agent in Warrensburg, MO, was instrumental in connecting Show-Me with the American Family Insurance Charity, Inc. (AFIC). Thanks to her nomination, Show-Me was selected as the beneficiary of the 2018 AFIC Annual Golf Tournament. The tournament raised over $25,000 and resulted in American Family Insurance donating over $45,000. “I don’t know many people who can write a check for $25,000 out of their own bank account,” laughed Director Chad Puckett. “But, many of us have relationships that could have a tremendous impact to help the ministries we love.”
With this in mind, this year’s 2020 Restoration Gala is focused on raising new friends. We are asking those passionate about children to use this event to connect Show-Me with these kind of key relationships, who may have the expertise and gifts we need to take the next step. In hopes to get the message out to as many new people as possible, ticket prices are $25 (covering the cost of the meal). Former NBA player and Mizzou star, Keyon Dooling’s testimony offers a rare and candid glimpse into how events in our childhood set the foundation for the rest of our lives. Hearing from Keyon and a teenager at Show-Me, Josie, folks will understand the critical help and healing that a place like Show-Me provides.
A Formula to Move Mountains
By ourselves, the journey to solve these problems seems impossible. We are just ordinary people with limited resources on our own. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 12:9-11, our weakness is our greatest strength because that is the formula God has used time and time again for the world to know His grace and love. Jesus promises we can move mountains. We just have to trust Him enough to take that first step, then enjoy the journey ahead.
Get your teams ready for the
17th Annual Troy Culler Memorial Basketball Tournament!
This year’s tournament will be held on March 28th.
Get your teams together and head our way for some friendly competition.
The registration fee is $150.00 per team.
Many of you have participated in this tournament year after year.
It has become a highlight of our Spring here at Show-Me. Don’t wait to register your team, slots fill up fast. We can’t wait!!!
If you have any questions, please email Judi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To register and pay for your team online, go here.
To register your team and mail in your payment, go here.
“I never believed this day would happen,” Amanda stated. “Most of my life, graduation felt like an impossible dream.” Her diploma symbolized more than just completing high school, it was the reassurance that her fear would NOT come true. Unlike what she was told growing up, she would not end up like her mom, who as a young teen became pregnant with her and dropped out of school.
With the support of her Show-Me family, she is on a path to get her CNA certificate in order to serve the elderly and help children like she once was – in need of a little extra attention to reach their God-given potential. “I never would have gotten here if it wasn’t for Show-Me,” she explained. “The school allowed me to catch up to where I needed to be and the teachers were always there to push me to strive and accomplish my goals!”
School Sets The Stage for Life
Growing up, Amanda called many places home. She attended numerous schools as she bounced from family to family. Moving so often made it hard to trust others, build healthy relationships, or keep up with her peers in school. Math was especially difficult for her.
She was placed in special education classes to try to help. Although only behind in math, being labeled a “Special Ed” kid made her believe she was an overall failure with little hope for a future. These feelings ate at her self-esteem leading her to increasingly become isolated, which made her more vulnerable to negative influences in her life. Things came to a boiling point in 2015. Soon after, she soon came to Show-Me.
Uncommon Solutions to Common Problems
Life didn’t magically get better when she arrived and joined the Watkins family. “At that point, I didn’t have much hope for myself,” Amanda said. “I didn’t care for anything.”
Despite having been in the 7th grade, she was at a 3rd grade level in Math and English. She was behind multiple grades in the rest of her subjects. Her situation was a familiar one to Show-Me, where it is not uncommon for the kids that find their way here to be four grade-levels behind where they should be. The battles that they face at home make keeping up with the rest of their class a struggle. Public schools do not always have the necessary resources or time to give the extra attention needed to help them catch up. Feelings of failure, depression, frustration, and anger can arise if the cycle continues and the gap widens.
In 2000, after being forced to dismiss too many children because they were suspended from the public school, Show-Me created a private, Christian school option to try and overcome some of the unmet challenges. Using the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) Program, each student is evaluated subject-by-subject to create their own academic path to complete their studies. Students learn at their own pace while working to reach daily goals. This approach empowers students to own their education and success. Many kids who were falling behind in their former schools are able to catch up and graduate high school on time.
The ACE program identified the subject concepts that Amanda missed. She began to show progress and pass her subjects as she followed a targeted approach using PACEs, the ACE program’s bite-sized workbooks designed for self-instructional thinking skills and the mastery of a subject. Whether at home or in class, there was always someone available to help her understand when she got stuck or confused since many of the houseparents also worked in the school.
The Show-Me Christian School (SMCS) went beyond helping her in core subjects like math, English, literature, science, and social studies. Interwoven into each lesson was a Christian world view with Scripture and one of 72 Biblical character traits – all designed to help develop moral character, a sense of accountability, and wisdom in her life. It was changing the way she thought of herself. “Here we are all the same, nobody looks at you different. For the first time, I never felt rushed or uncared for,” stated Amanda. “Having the freedom to go at my own speed made me want to try harder. I found an inner strength I didn’t know I had.”
Finding Her Stride
She discovered a number of talents and interests by participating in extra-curricular activities. She sang as part of the praise team for the weekly chapel services. Being around the animals in Leadership U (LU) provided safe emotional connections. “Horses and dogs don’t judge you, they are really good listeners,” she joked. She found that the concepts taught in LU applied to her life, too. “To accomplish my goals, I needed to calm down, have confidence, try harder, and above all never give up,” stated Amanda.
That same determination would carry over to success in sports. Amanda gained confidence as she played volleyball, basketball, and was part of the team that took first place in track at state. “There, I forget about everything else,” she said. “To play well, you can’t let doubt and fear follow you on the court.” She was named to the MOKAN all-conference second team in basketball and took top state honors in volleyball. But, her teammates were her biggest motivational factor. “If I wanted to play, I knew I had to find a way to do well in class,” she recounted. “I couldn’t let my team down.”
In the Path to Purpose Program, she learned key life skills like how to make a budget from the Dave Ramsey’s financial courses and how to drive. Job shadowing at local hospitals confirmed that she wanted to be a nurse and work with the elderly or kids with special needs.
Taking on a New Identity in Christ
Slowly, but surely, becoming an adult didn’t seem so scary when she realized that she was a part of God’s bigger family. At the age of 19, she decided to make the change official when she changed her name and asked to be adopted by the Watkins family. “My parents helped me succeed by believing in me, not giving up (even though at times I thought they would), and showing me how to love and be part of a family,” Amanda said. “I’ve learned that when there seems to be no one else, there is always God to rely on.”
“I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people.” – Luke 2:10 Immanuel, which means “God with us,” changed everything. Hope arrived in Jesus. God had personally come to live among us, teach us, rescue and restore us, die for us, come back for us, and live in us through His Holy Spirit. Amazing! Inspiring! News we have to share!
In 2015, Show-Me shared that good news with a hurt, 16-year-old atheist who felt afraid, alone, and with little hope for a future:
Journey couldn’t fathom a God who loves and yet lets one of His children go through the awful things she endured as a child. If He was real, He was far away. That belief all changed at Show-Me. “God came to me through the people here,” stated Journey. “They didn’t just tell me about Him, they showed me Him by how they lived.” Seeing it through actions and not merely words, she began to believe. A few months later, she asked God to live in her heart and was baptized. This spring she will graduate and plans to go to college in the fall to study graphic design. God came alive to her at Show-Me!
YOUR continued support is a witness to Journey and the world that God is real – and He is WITH us – as Immanuel!
Here is one last opportunity in 2018 to share with children a “God with us” message. A group of donors just set a new Matching Gift Challenge to MATCH every gift given NOW until December 31st, 2018 – up to a total of at least $30,000 that is returned in the enclosed envelope or given online at https://www.showmehelpingkids.com/give/! I say “at least” because this challenge continues to grow as additional supporters step up to increase the matched amount.
Thank you for extending a hearty “God with us” message to the awesome kids at Show-Me! YOUR prayers and contributions ring the truth of Immanuel to young lives anxiously waiting to be rescued and restored.
Grateful for you,
Chad Puckett, Director
PS: Remember, your gift is DOUBLED and will have TWICE the impact
in response to this challenge! Make sure to postmark your gift by December 31st for 2018 tax benefits!
Double the Blessings for YOU and our children