Twenty-one years ago, as a single youth minister in Pittsburg, Kansas, God shook up my little world. I admired the work of Show-Me Christian Youth Home since my college days, as a volunteer with the Christian Campus House at Mizzou, and as an intern one summer. I intended to return “one day” to serve – “one day”, when married and with parenting experience. But, that day had not yet arrived. Nevertheless, my Father showed me the “multitudes” of children who needed a home and a family. They
longed for someone to invest in their lives, love them now and prepare them for a stable future. They were like shepherd-less sheep. Many prayers poured out for those kids, prayers for their provision and their security, prayers for them to have the home and families they deserve. I remember pleading with God. “Father, I see so many kids struggling without a home and family.” “Yes, I do, too.” “God, please provide them a home with a family who loves them.” “You do it. You take care of them. You provide their home. You become their family.”
“Me? I don’t have what it takes. God, those kids need a home with a father and a mother.” “A home with a father is better than no home at all.” At the end of a long list of excuses, He spoke tenderly to my heart: “Give me all you have and I promise I will make it more than enough.”
A Bachelor to the Rapture
A few months later, four boys started calling me “Dad.” God allowed me to be a father to some of the neatest kids I ever dreamed of meeting. I also served as Children’s Services Coordinator (aka “caseworker”) for all the kids at Show-Me. Gale and Karen Culler took me under their wings. I quickly caught their passion for this dynamic ministry.
I continued to long for the day I could provide these kids with a mother in the home. I prayed for her often, to have a passion for God and His work at Show-Me that rivaled my own. However, I started to accept the fact that I may be a “bachelor to the rapture.” With six boys in the home, I didn’t appear to be the most eligible bachelor in the world. And I was okay with that; God used single people to accomplish His purposes.
A Delivered Bride and 42 Children
Two years into ministry, a beautiful young lady interviewed for an internship. Admittedly, I’m not a “romantic type,” but there were some sparks! Jennifer started her internship in January 2000; in May I asked her to be my bride; we married in August. My Father gave me a wife beyond what I ever asked or imagined! In 2007, after Gale retired, Karen chose me to be an Associate Director. I questioned God again,
whether I had the “right stuff.” Again, He said, “Give me all you have, and I will make it more than enough.” Unfortunately, I would have to end our houseparenting role in order to make it work. In 2008, God opened up a window for us to depart from parenting at Show-Me. In ten years, He had blessed me to be “Dad” to 42 children!
In 2011, the Board readied to choose a new Director, as Karen retired after 34 years. Many people assumed I would be the natural choice, but the ambition to be the Director never enticed me, personally. After all, my business cards lacked those fancy extra letters after my name. Plain ol’ Chad Puckett doesn’t have what it takes to oversee
this incredible ministry.
Knee Patches & Big Shoes
After a time of prayer and fasting, essentially begging God to find someone else, I submitted my resume. God trumped my long list of self-identified disqualifications with that simple phrase, “You do it. Give me all you have and I will make it more than enough.” After two rounds of interviews with some impressive candidates, the Board chose me to succeed the Cullers in directing Show-Me. Terrified, I stepped into some really big shoes, relying on God like never before. The past seven years as Director seems like a few months. Tough days, long nights, successes, failures, and many
worn patches on my knees, I continue to remind God that this is His work, and I’m only here so He can get it done. Many times, I felt completely inadequate to do what
He asked me to do. Each time, my Father reminded me of the only miracle recorded in all four gospel accounts: Jesus feeding the 5,000. Jesus’ disciples saw the need: a hungry crowd. They suggested a solution: send them away to fend for themselves.
Jesus directed them: “You give them something to eat.” They focused on their limitations: “We don’t have what it takes.” Jesus assured them that if they
give what they have, He will make it more than enough. He showed them the problem and invited them to become part of the solution.
How Can We Send them away?
I’m standing here again. I see more children who need homes and families and all the opportunities to face a great future and excellent eternity that Show-Me is set up to provide. Every program and procedure has been evaluated to assure successful
results. Tough decisions have been made, programs have been developed and refined.
I look back through my life, and the last 50 years of Show-Me Christian Youth Home, and clearly see His fingerprints all over the place. I look at the lives of kids who benefited from Show-Me and the ways they are contributing to our society today. I look at the kids who currently call Show-Me “home” and see their potential and determination, rooted in the security and support they receive today.
Amazing. Satisfying. Inspiring. And, all the credit goes to God working through His people.
Each day, I still see the multitudes of little faces of children who have yet to find “home.” Instead of asking my Father to send them away to fend for themselves or to fill their needs elsewhere, I am trusting Him to take what we have and multiply our resources so we can meet their needs. And, with eager expectation, I look to my Father– this time without excuses — but with full confidence knowing He can take whatever we have to offer and make it more than enough.