Thank You Song

Thank You!

Composed and written by Taija, a child growing up at Show-Me Christian Youth Home

I was only two, not knowing what to do
Until you came and helped me through
I didn’t know I wasn’t gonna get to see my parents for a long time
You showed me I can have a family here

You’ve played an important role in my life
Teaching me to do right and let me learn about God
I can never thank you enough for all of your love
Thank you, thank you

Now being a teen isn’t so easy
I mean drama and all of those things
But I know that I have a place to call home
And people to call family

You’ve played an important role in my life
Teaching me to do right and let me learn about God
I can never thank you enough for all of your love
Thank you, oh thank you

I can never thank you enough or God
God thank you for my life
For being so nice
For sending me more people in my life that love me

You’ve played an important role in my life
Teaching me to do right and let me learn about God
I can never thank you enough for all of your love
Thank you

By |2022-06-08T10:00:29-05:00June 7th, 2022|Categories: Child's Story, Children, Music, Testimony, Uncategorized|Tags: , |

Winning Life’s Lottery

 

“Show-Me was like winning the lottery,” Tristian Wieboldt explained.

“Out of the hundreds of kids that apply [to Show-Me], only a few are lucky enough to be chosen. Most people hope for a second chance at life; I was blessed to have a third.”

Blessed is not how Tristian would have described his life five years ago. Cursed is more accurate.

Tristian felt no matter what he did, he would always carry the baggage of the dysfunctional family in which he was born. It ran in his bloodline; he could not escape it. It defined him and limited what he could become. He bore a heavy burden.

Life Deals an Unfair Hand

Even before he took his first breath, life seemed stacked against Tristian. Due to his mother’s addiction, Tristian was born prematurely with cocaine in his system. He never knew his father. Shortly after his birth, his mother handed her newborn boy to her sister, Amy, to watch while she went off to a sobriety meeting. When she could not be reached later, Amy was forced to call the authorities, and Tristian was put into the foster care system.

Amy, who had recently graduated with her master’s degree in social work, did not want Tristian to become a number lost in the system. She knew the impact that a loving, stable, Christian family could make. Even though she had grown up with the same addicted mother as her sister, Amy was able to break the cycle. She received love and guidance from her youth pastor and his wife, who “adopted” her into their family. Fresh out of college and with a baby of their own on the way, Amy and James, her husband, began praying and preparing. A year later, their adopted 17-month-old son, Tristian, arrived in Missouri.

Simple Becomes Complicated

“To us, the decision was simple,” Amy remembered. “He was family. If we could take care of him, we should.” Life for the family would become anything but simple. From the very beginning, Tristian had a hard time fitting in. He did not want to be held or touched. He cried continually.

The tantrums as a toddler evolved into fights. Feeling out of place plagued him every day as he grew up. He may be the oldest of his four siblings, but he was not really a true member of the family. He was adopted. He was different. He couldn’t count on anyone but himself.

Parents or Police

To survive, he put on a mask. On the outside, he would go through the motions to get what he wanted. No one could be trusted to see his inner self. “I feared that if people saw who I really was, they would leave me just like my mother did,” Tristian said. The closer someone tried to get, the more he pushed away. He withdrew into himself. He showed little emotion and had few friends.

Tristian struggled at school and at home. He lacked the ability to focus and had little self-control. He developed a habit of lying and stealing. Problems got worse as he grew older. Jealousy of his siblings turned to bottled anger, which eventually would explode. Discipline at home only seemed to aggravate the situation. The more Tristian found himself in trouble, the more he felt he was being singled out. No matter what words were said, all Tristian heard was “…because you are adopted.”

For over 10 years, the family tried everything they knew to help him including specialized teachers and professional counseling. Nothing seemed to work. “We started to feel more like police than parents,” Amy stated. Finally, when Tristian’s behavior escalated to the point of self-harm and threatened to unravel their whole family, they tried one last option: Show-Me Christian Youth Home.

Lifting Up, Not Giving Up

Tristian’s counselor recommended Show-Me, knowing it would give him the structure, stability, and support he needed. Amy and James struggled to make the best decision for their son. “You feel like you are a failure as parents,” Amy stated. “What will other people say or think?”

As they walked the campus and met the families, they saw that Show-Me offered Tristian the opportunities and a wider community of support he needed, which could not be replicated in their home. Most important, he would still be part of a loving Christian family. “If we kept Tristian at home because of our fears, we were being selfish,” Amy remarked. “This was the best place for him to grow.”

Same Kind of Different

Tristian did not see it that way. He did not want to go to a youth home to live with a bunch of messed up kids that were going to judge him. “Just think of it as basic training,” James, his dad, told him. “Give it a year and let’s see where we are at.” Recognizing he had little choice, 13-year-old Tristian reluctantly agreed. To get home, he could go through the motions, again.

To his surprise, life at Show-Me was better than he thought. He liked his new family. No matter where they came from or what they did, his houseparents treated everyone like their own kid. His Show-Me brothers became his first friends and helped him get into the groove. “They were really accepting and didn’t judge me for my past,” Tristian said. “They were kids just like me.” He wasn’t different. These kids were all adopted into the Show-Me family.

Life outside of the home was better, too. The personalized structure of the classroom helped him focus and improve his grades. The smaller-sized school gave him the opportunity to play sports even as a 6th grader. His coaches and teammates encouraged him and kept him accountable.

Breakthrough on the Court

While the school and home life helped Tristian, his biggest growth occurred on the basketball court. The life lessons conveyed at home were reinforced through sports. Whereas Tristian sometimes resisted his parents’ directions, he craved feedback from his coach. He knew that the only way for him or the team to be the best was to learn to trust each other and work together. Trusting his coach’s way over his own produced better results. Practice wasn’t punishment, it was the path to a better you. Discipline and structure were actually love.

Sports motivated Tristian in ways that punishment never could. He knew his team counted on him. If he failed a test or acted out, he wouldn’t be able to be there for them.

From Thriving to Surviving

By his third year, Tristian seemed to be thriving. He caught up educationally. He matured. His behaviors improved. He had grown in confidence and felt in control of his actions. Things went well with the Wieboldts during home visits and holidays. The family was ready to be back together.

“Show-Me not only helped Tristian, it helped us become a healthier and happy family,” stated Amy. “It gave us all time to regroup, rethink, and learn to make better choices.” In April of 2016, Tristian left Show-Me to reunite with his Wieboldt family.

Unfortunately, the reunion failed. Tristian soon found himself floundering in his new freedom. Without the same structure and accountability, he began to revert to his survival instincts and slipped into his old behaviors.

“We told him that we wanted to have him home and be together, but if he thought Show-Me was the best place for him, then his family would support him,” Amy recounted. The decision would be Tristian’s to make.

Four months after he left, Tristian returned to Show-Me. Determined to embrace the opportunities and not just play the game, he started to genuinely mature as a young man and leader. He gave his life to Christ and was baptized in the summer of 2021. This May, he graduates high school and will pursue a career as an Army Airborne Combat Engineer. He also prays God will use him in some capacity to impact the lives of children in need like he once was.

He no longer sees God as an angry, distant, judgmental ruler who cursed him with a dysfunctional family. God is his heavenly father who loved him so much that He blessed him with multiple families.

By |2022-06-06T13:54:23-05:00June 2nd, 2022|Categories: Child's Story, Children, Path to Purpose, Testimony|Tags: |

Where Love Grows: a Tribute to Karen Culler (1947-2022)

Karen Culler’s legacy is not one of perfection; it is of faithfulness. Through many trials and challenges, she prayed, rolled up her sleeves and went to work – uncertain of God’s plan, but confident in His calling. “I learned to trust God each step of the way…not giving in to asking ‘why,’ but simply keeping on keeping on,” Karen said. “They will see us when we fail and fall short, but if we determine every day, anew, to live according to His standards, it will show that our lives are being transformed.”

Living the American Dream

By the world’s standards, Karen Kohn lived a picturesque, American life. She grew up on a farm near Bethel, Missouri, in a strong Christian family. Through her daily life on the farm, she developed a strong work ethic, the courage to try many things, and a deep personal faith.

A month after her high school graduation, she married her sweetheart, Gale Culler. Both had good jobs and looked forward to a house full of children. In 1967, the couple was blessed with their son, Troy.

Karen and Gale yearned to be used more by God, but without having a formal Bible-college education, doubts crept in and they struggled with what their mission was supposed to be. They kept praying for direction and serving where they were.

A Life Spared for What?

In 1971, Karen’s pressure cooker exploded while she was canning peaches in her kitchen. Her body was severely burned, but her face was spared because her double oven had prevented the lid from flying all the way off. During her long hospitalization, she nearly died from infection. Gale and Karen both felt that God had spared her life and He must have a purpose for doing so.

Was it children? For years the couple tried to grow their family without success. They endured several miscarriages, and after the birth of Troy, they had been told by their doctor that any more children would be unlikely. How could God leave this overwhelming desire on their hearts?

Learning of an adoption option at Cookson Hills, the Cullers took a trip to receive a baby that needed a home and family. At the last moment, the baby’s mother changed her mind and canceled the adoption. The Cullers were heartbroken.

Yet, the journey was not in vain. They were touched by how children were being loved for the Lord through Christian childcare families. The seed had been planted. They knew this was something they could do: take care of and love children. This feeling was confirmed when a friend called telling them about a need for houseparents at a children’s home in East Tennessee. Soon after, the Cullers packed their car and headed south to start what seemed might be a dream come true.

“Love Them for What I Can Make Them”

In Tennessee, the dream quickly became a nightmare. The family ministry they envisioned was more an institutionalized setting. Gale and Karen were house parents for 13 teenage girls, all of whom did not want them there. None of whom seemed to have any desire to change. They did everything they could to get the family to give up and leave. It brought the Cullers to their knees.

“I have never been exposed to anything like this in my life,” Karen cried out to God in anguish. “How can I live with them under my own roof?  How can I love them when they are so unlovable?” God’s answer transformed her: “Love them for what I can make them, not for what they are today.”

Gale and Karen came to realize that each of those hurting young people had been through more in their short lifetimes than they could ever imagine. The Cullers’ rules, discipline, and even fortitude would not tear down the walls that the girls had put up to protect themselves. As one girl put it, “I never wanted to love you. Anyone I ever love leaves.” The girls had to choose to lower the walls. By reflecting God’s unconditional love, trust could be formed. With trust, the walls came down, relationships were built, and a family began to bond. Those lessons from Tennessee would prove instrumental in the next step of the Cullers’ journey.

“It’s Got Potential”

Ray Gipson, the Executive Director of Show-Me Christian Youth Home, had for years tried to court the Cullers to come see the Missouri ministry. Finally, on their next vacation, the Cullers visited Show-Me. At first glance, the struggling ministry in La Monte wasn’t much to look at: three facilities that cared for six children, one calf, and a badly built barn. Still, the Cullers both felt with certainty that God was opening another door. Gale phrased it best, “It’s got potential.”

In 1977, they rolled up their sleeves and went to work. In addition to caring for children, Gale oversaw farm operations and Karen did the bookkeeping. Six months later, Show-Me had 18 children in residence and Gale was asked to become the Executive Director.

Their experience in Tennessee had shown them how an institutional setting wouldn’t work as effectively as the rural-family structure in which they had grown up. Working together in a farm setting, the children would be taught a good work ethic, build character, and see God at work in their lives in spite of all the struggles of the past.

From livestock to houses, from children to staff, Show-Me grew and grew for the next 20 years. Each day began early with family prayer and devotions, then out the door to start chores before heading to school. The children were responsible for assisting Gale with the care of the animals, which included cows, chickens, and pigs. Karen worked with the girls throughout the day, cooked and cleaned, and spent late nights doing the book work and publicity.

Things were never easy, but God met them every step of the way. With limited resources, Show-Me tried to help as many kids as they could. Tight finances, uncertain futures, and dealing with kids during their “rough times” were facts of life. “The Lord is keeping it that way so we’ll never forget to totally depend on Him,” the Cullers would say.

Show-Me…Where Love Grows

Nevermore would that statement be personally tested than over the last 25 years of her life. The Cullers leaned heavily on the Lord through the loss of their only biological son, Troy, in a car crash.  Karen would face the failing health of loved ones, Gale’s cancer and dementia, and finally her own battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease. He would be with her as two of her grandchildren and Gale, her dear husband of 54 years, preceded her in death. Through it all, Karen remained faithful.

In 2011, Gale and Karen passed the baton to the next generation, having established a six-home campus with a Christian School, ball stadium and office complex, as well as satellite homes across the state of Missouri. Over 50 children were raised in her home and thousands under her leadership. She remains endeared by the staff, community, children, and the childrens’ children, as well as everyone who knows her simply as Grandma Karen. Through their passion to meet the needs of hurting kids, the Cullers established an extensive network of support and provision of resources.

Ever faithful, Karen pressed on with the eternal work the Lord called her to do to make Show-Me a place “where love grows.”

By |2022-04-18T15:09:50-05:00April 18th, 2022|Categories: Child's Story, Children, Events, Houseparent, Testimony|

Students Become the Teachers

The Fires & Refinement of the Class of 2021
How would you survive if you were bounced between 30 different foster care home or had dozens of siblings? Imagine being forced to go to a new country where no one speaks the only language you know. What would you do if you had the responsibility of caring for five children, all under the age of five years, without the most basic of resources? What if, in the blink of an eye, an accident causes you to suffer a near fatal brain injury that leaves the majority of its victims unable to ever speak or walk again? To any adult, these tasks would be daunting. To a child, they would seem impossible to overcome. For the Show-Me Christian School Class of 2021, these are challenges they have faced and came out victorious. Battles that have not broken them. Trials that have strengthened, refined, and inspired them to set out on a mission that God has uniquely designed each to complete.

From a Junker to God’s Classic

For most of his life, Michael thought of himself as a junker car that was ugly, dented, and unwanted. Born to drug-addicted parents, Michael bounced between 30 different foster homes before he was adopted at the age of 5. He acted out trying to be “cute” as he desperately worked to earn his new parents’ affection. His “cuteness” may have gotten him noticed as little child in the foster homes, but his antics created more negative effects as he got older. At school, kids would pick on the childish, short, skinny kid who was always trying to get the teacher’s attention. The bullying made him afraid to talk to other kids or make friends. It led to a vicious cycle of problems and isolation. Michael struggled in school, each year falling further behind. For eight years, Michael constantly worried that his adopted family might not want him either. Instead of taking responsibility for his actions, Michael would lie, telling the adults what he thought they wanted to hear. As he got older, his sadness boiled over into anger, then depression. Feeling lost and without purpose, he tried to take his life in 5th grade. His parents felt helpless. If the years of counseling and trying everything they knew didn’t help, what else could they do? Someone told them about Show-Me in 2014. They realized that the structured daily routine, positive Christian atmosphere, and one-on-one teaching style was an environment in which
Michael could thrive. “I thought it was going to be a vacation from home – boy was I wrong” Michael laughed. “It isn’t easy, but Show-Me is a fresh start for us kids coming here.”

When 13-year-old Michael sat down for lunch on his first day, he realized there was something different about this place. Miguell, an older 8th grader, sat next to him and started to talk with him. Michael didn’t have to do or say anything to earn his friendship, this guy wanted to be his friend. For the first time in a long time, he didn’t feel lost or alone. Over the next few years, Michael learned to accept the love of family. Focusing on his studies and with extra help, he caught up in school. He discovered his mechanical gifts and learned the value of hard work by assisting his houseparents with hands-on projects – gifts he hopes one day to use in his own automotive shop. The biggest change came the day he heard Pastor Alan talk about what Christ’s sacrifice meant. It not only showed God’s love for us, but it was proof that each of our lives have purpose.

Trusting in that love and believing for the first time that his life truly did have purpose, Michael asked to be baptized. Michael no longer worries about earning God’s love or being wanted. He knows that he is a child of the King of Kings. In his senior devotion message this March, Michael used the illustrations of cars to explain to his classmates how God rescues and restores each of our lives. Michael knows that he
is not the worthless junk car he once believed he was. He is a classic Mustang that God is in the process of restoring.

Hope in Hidden Answers

Ever think having a brother or sister can be a lot to deal with, try having 42! Sadie has been a part of Show-Me all 18 years of her life. Never the oldest and rarely the youngest, she learned to be very observant, keep calm, and find organization in chaos. The details of each siblings story’s may be different, but all share a common factor – they are children caught in the crossfire of struggling families. They are broken lives who don’t understand how or why they ended up in this situation. Many are angry because so much is out of their control and fearful their life is destined to turn out like their parents. Sadie saw that the thing her brothers and sisters were really searching for was hope: hope for their future found in answers from their past. It is that hope that compels Sadie to seek a career in criminal justice. “The love, loss, and hope I’ve learned and gone through has taught me to want to fight for hope for others,” stated Sadie. “Working for a federal crime fighting agency, my wish is to give hope to the families and loved ones of the victim by finding answers, solving cases, and preventing the suspect from
destroying more lives.”

Failure Leads to Success

When Jonas arrived in Missouri to meet his adoptive parents, he could only speak and read in his native Ethiopian language of Amharic. Communication was a great challenge since no one else around him could speak it. Without words, how could he let people know how he was feeling or what he needed? Even though over the next few years he would learn English, his difficulty in communicating snowballed into more problems. Jonas began his education three grades behind. The language barrier made
learning extremely slow and frustrating. Despite putting in many extra hours of work, Jonas fell more and more behind in school. His inability to communicate left him feeling angry and alone. He began to believe the lies in his head that he was a disappointment to everyone, he would never be good enough, and he could only count on himself for help. His anger grew more out of control each year, even to the point where he needed to be physically restrained to calm down. Finally, realizing Jonas needed more help than they could give him at home, his parents reached out to Show-Me. The new environment was good for Jonas. The individualized school program allowed him to go at his own pace. The smaller
class sizes and additional help from his teachers gave him the means to understand. He finally had the tools he needed to catch up in school and graduate. Yet, if you ask Jonas what led to his success the most, he will tell you it’s “failure.” In his endless failed attempts to be “good enough,” he realized that no matter how much he accomplished or how many people liked him, he was never going to be worthy in everyone’s eyes. It is an impossible task to achieve. “Nothing matters except how God sees you,” realized Jonas. “God loves us for who we are, not what we accomplish or what we have. If God considered me – flaws and all – worthy, maybe I could, too.” Jonas began listening and trusting the people that God
was sending to help him. In failing on his own, He learned success could be found in trusting God and the community of support He sends for guidance.

A Rough Start for a Greater Cause

Ana never really had a childhood. The oldest of five siblings, Ana became the caretaker early on while her mother was out. There was no time to think about what Ana wanted or how Ana felt, she had a job to do. Her siblings needed her. That all changed in 2010. Two ladies from a Vacation Bible School told her mom about Show-Me. The next thing seven year-old Ana knew, she and her five younger siblings were
living at Show-Me. Her old job was taken away. Her new job was to be a kid. “I was overwhelmed because I didn’t know what to do since they didn’t want me taking care of my siblings,” Ana recounts.
Over the next few years, Ana saw how God had always been watching out for her. She remembered how an unexpected- person seemed to pop into their lives at just the right time when they needed food, a place to stay, or some other kind of help. She realized how God had protected them from the bad people
finding them.

Seeing that the God of the Bible, who was always there for His people, was the same one in her life, Ana accepted Christ. “Jesus used my bad life for a greater cause: my growing and maturing in Him (my Savior),” Ana stated. “Jesus led, not by forcing others to follow, but by being the model that made others choose to follow.” Desiring to be that positive role model, Ana heads this fall to college to become a social worker. She hopes to shows young people, who look like her, that they can beat the odds, too. “I want kids, who feel broken like I did, to see that they can overcome their past,” Ana said. “They can find another way to succeed, and not become the statistics society says they will be.”

Focus on God Can, Not “I Can’t”

Brendan’s life changed in a instant that day in 2016. Playing tag, he ran into a volleyball net, which caught him by the face and slammed his head against the hard floor causing his skull to fracture. He was life-flighted to Children’s Mercy Hospital. The doctor’s warned his traumatic brain injury (TBI) might
cause him to never be able to see, walk, or talk again. His only chance was to have an emergency surgery to remove the blood clot on his brain and put in two titanium plates. Over the following months, the physical pain slowly decreased but the emotional struggles increased. To give his brain a chance to heal, the doctors told him he had to eliminate most physical activity for the next two years. Thinking about all
the things he could no longer do made Brendan become more and more depressed. How could God let this happen? Maybe he should just give up and accept that he could no longer ever have a “normal” life as an independent adult.

Then, Brendan made a decision. He would not give up! He would focus on what he could control and trust God to take care of the rest. Philippians 4:13 became his life verse. Brendan might not be able to do certain things, but through Christ’s strength, he could do what God wanted him to do. He focused on his school work and strengthening his muscles a little every day. Over the next four years, Brendan’s dedication and faith revealed a bigger picture that he had once missed. In rehab, he saw other young men, who had suffered TBI injuries. These men could not talk, walk, or do basic life functions. Seeing Brendan and the progress he was making gave these men hope. Those men helped Brendan realize that God didn’t abandon him in his injury. He shielded him, sent people to encourage him, and be with him
through every step. Instead of being upset about what he couldn’t do, Brendan is now grateful for all
the things that he can do.

Choosing the Refiner’s Fire

A few years ago, the members of the Class of 2021 might have written their life’s stories a little
different if they had the choice. Now, they are grateful for each moment of their testimony. In the
refiner’s fire their eyes were opened. In the flames they saw how they are not alone. God was and will
always be there with them through every step. He uses experiences the world wants us to believe
can only destroy a life to strengthen and refine His children into the change agents He will use to
transform for good their families, communities, and world. As the Class of 2021 has shown, we
only need to be brave enough to trust Him and the work He is doing.

 

By |2021-06-16T17:16:41-05:00May 31st, 2021|Categories: Child's Story, Children, Events, Teen, Testimony|

Coming Home

Transforming Strangers into Family

Winter is coming! December may not yet be here, but the signs are clear: leaves are changing colors, kids are practicing their songs, and housedad, Ken Parton, has already begun decorating for Christmas. Preparations are in full swing to welcome “home” all of our past and present Show-Me family for the holidays.

This year has special significance for the Parton family. It will be the first time their “bigger family” will gather at their new residence, the newly-completed House #7. They know that not all of the 32 kids who have joined the Parton family over their eight years at Show-Me will make it. Those that do will be welcomed to find their personalized stocking hung, their hand-made ornaments proudly displayed on the tree, presents ready to be traded at the gift exchange, and the traditional family games set out just waiting for the laughter to begin.

Houseparents, Ken and Emilee Parton, may not be their biological parents, but they are family. This may not be the house they grew up in, but it is home because the love of their family is here. God has used that unconditional love to heal and bond this group of strangers into a family.

A Prayer for a “Bigger Family”

The Partons’ life took a very different path from the one they envisioned twenty-five years ago when they married. After attending Nebraska Christian College, they worked their way up the management chain to both have lucrative careers: Ken becoming a district supervisor of a national restaurant chain, and Emilee starting her own business.

They actively served in their church: Ken working with the youth, Emilee organizing bigger events, and both leading the worship team.  Their business backgrounds laid the foundation for the church to open a food and clothing pantry. To outsiders, they were living the American picture of success.

Under the rosy façade, things were far from perfect. They knew that God had a greater mission planned for them, but what? For years, the couple had struggled to grow their family. In 2003, they lost their son, Brock, at birth. A year later they suffered a miscarriage. In 2008, the birth of their daughter, Sophia, seemed to be the beginning of the answer they longed for. Two years later, their prayer would be for a second child. Over time, it changed to adopting a child. Eventually, it simply became “Lord, please give us a bigger family.”

The Partons prayed for guidance and began to look at different options for their life. “We knew we weren’t where we were supposed to be anymore,” Emilee recounts. “We hadn’t quite figured out what or where we were supposed to be.” A few months later that answer would come when Chad Puckett, the Director of Show-Me, spoke at their church and stated that the ministry was in search of new houseparents. As Emilee explained, “in my prayer for direction, I realized that God was going to answer with Show-Me… not quite what I imagined, but we definitely have a bigger family now!”

Trading a Job for a Mission

Stepping out in faith in 2012, the Partons moved to the main Show-Me campus in La Monte, Missouri. From the get-go, they quickly learned that serving as a houseparent is not a job, it is a life. There is very little downtime as kids’ needs do not distinguish personal time and business time. A typical week is similar to most parents: cooking, cleaning, appointments, school, games, church, etc. Just at Show-Me, each family is trying to coordinate up to ten people, all going in different directions. Add to that coordinating volunteer groups, teaching at the school, refereeing basketball games, coaching, leading worship at chapel, and organizing major events for Show-Me.  Added together, you might get an idea of what the Parton’s life is like.

As chaotic as schedules can be, the bigger challenge is building a relationship of trust with each child. Without it, the child will never be willing to accept the resources and help they need.

A New Definition of Family

Most of their kids have come from situations that have led them to believe that they only have themselves to rely on. They have been let down too many times in the past by the family that was supposed to take care of them. “I always struggled with letting people love me and accepting that love from others,” recounted Grace, a child who once lived with the Partons. “I had felt so rejected for so long, I truly believed I wasn’t able to be loved. I was never going to have my picture perfect family.”

Although each child is immediately welcomed, it will take time before they consider themselves part of the Parton family. The Parton’s first step is to meet each new child where they are at, not force them to be part of the family until they choose to be. From the moment they first arrive, Ken explains, “We are Ken and Emilee. We are not trying to replace your parents, we know that we never can. But, our home is your home. Here, all your needs are going to be taken care of.”

It will take weeks and months for the protective walls to slowly be lowered as the child sees the proof in actions. Their fear is that because they are not part of the biological family they will only be accepted and loved up to a certain point. “Our fear stops us from healing,” Journey, an adult who once lived with the Partons explains. “In the back of your mind you are always wondering when will this love stop.”

They wonder: “Do you love me because it is your job or because you really want me?” Knowing this, the Partons are very intentional about treating all their kids the same. It is the little things that make the biggest difference in building trust and making each child feel valued as an individual. This is made especially evident during the holidays.

Building Bonds Around a Tree

Many of the kids at Show-Me do not go to their biological homes for holiday breaks because the situation is still not healthy for them. The kids in the Parton home would travel with Ken, Emilee, and Sophia to Tennessee for Christmas with Ken’s parents. Grandma and Grandpa Parton welcomed them with open arms and spoiled all the children equally.

From the presents under the tree to the stockings customized for each child, Ken and Emilee make every effort to let no favortism show. Together, they play charades, open chocolate advent calendars, and worship as a family on Christmas Eve.

“It made me really feel like I was a part of the family,” remembers Destin. “Growing up in foster care, I lived with people, but it was not family. I was their kid as long as it was convenient. When it became too much of a burden or cost, then off to another home I go.”

The Promise of Christmas

Today, many of those same kids, who piled in the minivan to drive to Tennessee, now live across the country as adults. They may each have different last names, but they are family. “I never would have imagined that my family would turn out being just a group of random people that happened to be needing a family just like me,” stated Grace. “It’s super cool to think about the fact that we all wanted the same thing: a family, and so we just became each other’s family.”

That Parton family only continues to grow, now welcoming grandchildren to its fold. This Christmas, they will travel across the country to come “home” and be with their family in Missouri at the newly finished House #7. The older children will make sure that the family traditions are carried on for the next generation. Grandma will bring the special treats and Emilee makes sure all the favorite foods are prepared. For the Parton children, it is a reminder of Ken and Emilee’s promise to them that they never need to feel alone because you will always have a home and family ready to welcome you.

By |2020-11-13T22:12:53-06:00November 13th, 2020|Categories: Child's Story, Children, Houseparent, Testimony|

When There is No One Else

Discovering Her Inner Strength

“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.”

By |2019-06-28T13:53:15-05:00June 28th, 2019|Categories: Child's Story, Children, Testimony, Uncategorized|

Building on Foundations of Faith

HEROES STEP FORWARD TO RESCUE &
RESTORE MORE!
By Chad Puckett, Director

God’s timing: perfect!
Praise God for His incredible provisions and how He shows His faithfulness through His people! Let me share with you what has taken place in His ministry at Show-Me in the last couple years.

As we celebrated Show-Me’s 50th Anniversary in 2017, we reflected on our Father’s provisions and captured the momentum to “Rescue and Restore Even More.” We launched a capital campaign to add new homes, upgrade water systems, expand satellite campuses, and enlarge the Christian School after building a new office.

God’s people: providing!

God’s people responded enthusiastically to get this off the ground. A donor in Minnesota made the initial deposit into the campaign of $250,000. Then, the folks at Greentree Christian Church in Rolla, Missouri, chose Show-Me for their 2017 Thanksgiving offering, contributing over $130,000. Soon, ground broke for an additional home at the La Monte Campus, while plans were finalized for the water treatment programs.

Weather complicated the extensive excavation needed for the new home at the La Monte campus, completed by Bruce Morton of Morton Custom Contracting in Sedalia, Missouri, at a greatly reduced cost. As this preceded, Forum Christian Church in Columbia, Missouri, approached Show-Me about funding and constructing the walls needed for the home.

The Homes for Hope program enables the congregation to build the walls in eight-foot sections in their parking lot, to be transported here and assembled on site. They slated this project for June, 2019. Again, God’s people come through!

Campus-community: expanding!
Realizing that the Show-Me program works best in a campus community, we launched into the development of the Drysdale
campus. Ground broke for the third home at the Drysdale Campus in Spring of 2017, the Reed Home, funded through the sale of the former Camdenton homes sold in 2011. Through a series of misfortunes, the construction of this home was delayed
beyond our control. Finally, in the Fall of 2018, the excavation was completed and the basement prepared. God’s people came through again, providing a volunteer rough-in crew to “shelterin” the home in March 2019. Jake Sbabo from Rolla, Missouri, provided his crew to accomplish this huge step forward.

Even while we planned for the expansion of the Drysdale campus, God presented us with an incredible opportunity. A Mennonite family just a block away (who has been incredible neighbors) presented us with an opportunity to rent one of their homes, a five-bedroom farmhouse. The Eades family moved from the La Monte campus in May, 2018, to reside there with
their six children, which soon grew to eight. RJ and Marie Bachtold were then able to begin their ministry at the LaMonte
campus. Yes! More children Rescued and Restored!

And, a bonus!
While the construction of these homes progressed, God prompted a generous couple to donate their beautiful home and
70 acres in October of 2018 to further the ministry. Bill and Marilyn Seibert built their dream retirement home near Lincoln, Missouri, twenty years ago with Show-Me in mind, knowing that when they were no longer able to use it, Show-Me could.
The Watkins family moved from the Knob Noster home to this four-bedroom, five-bathroom home in November, 2018. New
houseparents, Tim and Sarah Scott, move into the Knob Noster home in June, 2019 to begin a family – and rescue & restore even more!

Debt-free? No doubt!
Since paying off all debts in 2014, we’re committed to remaining debt-free as we grow. Funds are on-hand for everything currently under-construction, and we’ll continue that way.

Also, we’re not asking donors for pledges, as they often divert their current donations from the operating funds to the building
funds, leaving us unable to utilize the new facilities. Rather, we developed the strategy of asking those interested and capable to make one-time gifts. And, it’s working!

And a word about operating funds. As we grow the facilities here, we likewise need to grow the operating funds. We estimate the cost to operate a home each month is $5,000; last year, the Lord provided a surplus of $61,000 (=$5,000+ per month)! Praise God, He’s making it clear that we can support another home!

Our God: glorified through His people!
All this in the last two years while I “sat back and watched!” Years ago as I wrestled with the overwhelming task God gave me as Director of Show-Me, my Father gently and clearly told me, “You take care of the kids; I’ll take care of everything else.” He receives great glory working through His people, I just need to step out of the way!

How about you? How does our Father accomplish His great work through you and the resources He’s given you?
Send me a note – I would be honored to hear and rejoice with you!

House 7 under construction at our main campus

The Plan

1. Fix key Infrastructure
• @ Main Campus
— New drinking water system
— Update Waste system
2. Expand Capacity
• Add new homes
— Build House #7 @ Main campus
— Add 3 homes @ Drysdale Campus
+ Build Reed Home
+ Rent Rissler Home
— Build school / gym at Drysdale campus
— Link Lincoln Home with Drysdale Campus
• Increase staff & support
— Houseparents (Need 2 more)
— Find ongoing $ support
($5K/mo per home)
3. Upgrade facilities for growth
• Enlarge School (~ 80 students)
— Upgrade current facilities
+ Create elementary school area
+ Build Leadership U Indoor Arena
+ Update gym & muliti purpose area
+ Renovate stadium
— Relocate non-school staff & programs
+ Build new office across from school
+ Renovate area for volunteer lodging
— Build new science labs & locker rooms
• Build House #8 – at La Monte

The Davis-Domann Court 

Our Newest Home in Lincoln, MO

Leadership U Arena

Drysdale Rental Home

By |2020-01-28T14:28:06-06:00March 16th, 2019|Categories: Child's Story, Children, Events, Testimony, Uncategorized|

The Class of 2019 needs YOU!

Eight seniors prepare to graduate this May – one of our largest classes ever.

The Show-Me class of 2019 stands ready and well-trained to face the adult phase of life having completed, through the Path to Purpose (P2P) program: career assessments, job shadowing, learning to drive, training in personal finances, writing resumes, securing post-secondary education, and job searches.

But, our task is not yet complete! As they cross the bridge to adulthood, they will still need guidance, encouragement, and other resources. We believe that no child should “age out” of a program that they depend on they should “age into” healthy adults with a family ready to walk with them.    

Our Show-Me’s family commitment to these young adults goes beyond graduation. Rescuing and Restoring Young Lives means working to keep each child on a positive path, removing obstacles, and helping them get back on it when they stumble.  Even a small bump in the road can cause a person to suddenly end up in a ditch.  We want them to always know the first place they can safely turn is their Show-Me family. 

We are committed to do anything we can to keep their momentum going in the right direction!  Our Path to Purpose program was set up for this reason, not only to teach them the skills needed to become a productive member of society, but connect them to a network of positive support, which provides the resources needed to overcome the inevitable, unexpected twists of life. As a graduate of the P2P program, they have funds available to help when a need arises: extra money for text books, unexpected repairs, down-payments for housing/utilities, medications, continued counseling services, educational funding, and various emergency situations.

We don’t think these qualify as “luxuries.”  We expect them to work hard through the difficulties that life will continue to throw at them. Just like most of our parents who helped us along the way, We want them to thrive in the adult world.  Our experience has shown us that one of the best investments we can make is providing them with reliable transportation. So, Show-Me has committed to each high school graduate, who has also completed every element of the P2P program, to pay for the first year of their auto insurance and provide them with a reliable starter vehicle. Praise God, several vehicles have already been donated- we only need 3 more!

We’ve already invested so much into these young lives – let’s finish the task! Are you with us!?!  Your gift will equip these amazing young adults with the tools they need to keep them steady on the Path to Purpose God has for them.

If you would like to contribute to our Path to Purpose program, you can do so here.

If you would like to contribute to a specific need of our graduates, please check out our Class of 2019 Amazon wish list.

These amazing Seniors were featured on our Facebook page last Fall and will be featured in our May newsletter.

Nate, trained in Criminal Justice through the State Fair VoTech program, will continue his education at the University of Central Missouri.  His ultimate career goal is to become a police officer.

Amanda will obtain her CNA and enter into a career to make life better for adults with developmental disabilities and other special needs.

Nick hasn’t made certain plans for his future, but it will certainly involve mechanics of some sort.

Kerenda, well-known for her kindness and servant’s heart, will obtain her CNA training this summer and desires to serve the great folks at the Missouri Veteran’s Home. 

Emily, the biological daughter of Chad (Director) and Jen Puckett, has been accepted at the College of the Ozarks to study nursing and fulfill her life-long dream of becoming a Labor and Delivery Nurse.

Dante, very mechanically inclined, has been accepted to the Missouri Technical College in Linn.  He intends to become a Precision Machinist.

Journey has been accepted to the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg to complete her education in Graphic Design. Her incredible talent will lead her to an incredible career.

Cassie, the biological daughter of Charles (Assistant Director) and Jodi (School Administrator) Watkins, will attend Missouri Southern in Joplin to become a teacher and coach.

By |2019-02-11T19:06:59-06:00February 11th, 2019|Categories: Boosters, Child's Story, Children, Path to Purpose, Testimony|

Immanuel- God with us Matching Challenge

Dear Friend,
“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

By |2018-12-19T09:25:01-06:00December 19th, 2018|Categories: Child's Story, Children, Testimony|

World Changers – Making a Difference

by Belinda Smith

Just recently I heard one of our junior high boys say he wanted to make a difference in the world but he felt he wasn’t old enough to really do anything yet. We want our youth to understand that they can play a vital role in advancing the kingdom NOW. Everyone can do something right where they are, no matter their age. Three ways we are focusing on: PRAY, GIVE and GO. We can always pray, often give, and sometimes
we are even called to go. We created a visual on the wall so we can see how
Show-Me Christian School has reached out and made an impact on their family/school, community, country, and world throughout the school year: coloring on a gift sack used to encourage someone; baking cookies or raking leaves for a neighbor in the community; volunteering to help with Special Olympics or another event; giving money to help build an orphanage for those rescued from human trafficking; praying for churches, missionaries and organizations, spending a week in El Paso, Texas; or maybe even taking a trip out of the country….everyone can do something.
At the beginning of the year, the kids were asked a question: “How do you see God using you in the future to advance the kingdom?” My husband starting asking young people this when talking about the future, for the purpose of prioritizing God’s plan over our own. Also on the wall are pictures of each of our world changers next to how they want God to use them… future web designer, chef, actor, police officer, missionary, pilot, physical therapist, dog trainer, nurse,athlete, etc. Spreading the Word of God is not just for preachers and missionaries. We are all commanded to spread the Good News.

We greatly appreciate God’s provisions through our Show-Me friends that love and support us. At the same time, we don’t want our kids to ever feel entitled. It is our desire to teach our youth how to give back or pay it forward. We want them to be “others minded.” The best way to feel better is to do something nice for someone else. This has shown to be true with our students through the following comments after serving others in El Paso, TX, during our Fall break:

“I liked seeing how happy everyone was with the work we did on the church.”
– Ethan, 7th grade

“Something I’ll always remember is the overwhelming gratitude [of those we served]”
– Emily, 12th grade

“My favorite part was seeing the joy and excitement on the faces of the kids.”
– Josie, 10th grade

“Hanging out with all the kids and being a part of the VBS was my favorite.”
– Deonsay, 9th grade

When we serve others, we are both the giver and the receiver of the blessing. Service is rewarding and humbling. Our desire is to continue planning trips and projects that will give our youth experiences and perspective while reaching out to those in need but also to keep our eyes open to simply fill a need when we see it. We are raising world- changers who aren’t waiting for the future to make a difference. They are making a difference now!

By |2018-11-05T11:22:34-06:00November 5th, 2018|Categories: Child's Story, Children, Testimony|