Lives on a Mission

Traveling the world only to find their greatest mission at home

From India to Africa, Europe to South America, Laura and Jeff Eades have traveled around the world as missionaries. Though each would start on different paths, their love for children and passion to share the Good News united them. Together, they found their greatest mission was in their own backyard. A mission serving as Mom and Dad to the children that call Show-Me “home.”

A Calling and Bonga-Wonga Land

Laura felt certain of two things after she gave her life to Christ at age five: she was called to be a missionary and serve children. Hearing the stories from the missionaries that her family hosted planted seeds in the shy, quiet girl. She dreamed of one day opening an orphanage in Bonga-Wonga Land and being surrounded by children.  

Laura was inspired by the sacrifices her parents made and the challenges they overcame in answering what she viewed as the “higher calling” – helping kids that were not their own. She knew firsthand the daily struggles their family went through with her adopted younger sister. Growing up, Laura helped her mom, who served as a Daycare Director in inner-city Charleston, West Virginia. She saw how children didn’t always have a safe place to call home. She saw how safety and stability – even for a few hours – could change their attitudes and give them hope. 

From Shy to Courageous

Over the next two decades, Laura crisscrossed the globe as God refined her gifts and skills in the service of missions. She went to Israel on a Biblical archaeology trip. She lived with tribes in Papua New Guinea. Using her accounting degree, she served as a bookkeeper aboard a ship that traveled to 35 countries handing out Bibles and educational books to people in the least-reached areas. “God used me even if I didn’t always speak their language,” recounts Laura. “Even if all I could do was smile, I could show them the love of Christ in a way they could understand.” Moved by the images of life for street children, she learned Spanish and spent five years helping unwed mothers with their babies in Medellin, Columbia.

Caught Not Taught

Jeff’s passion for missions was more caught than taught. It wasn’t what he was told, but the life changes he saw. The transformation he witnessed when his father became a Christian inspired Jeff in his teens to want to become one, too. His father’s excitement for scripture became contagious. 

“I wanted to find creative ways to get people excited about Christ,” stated Jeff. As a kid, he loved films. He would make his own movies at home with a Super 8 film camera. He went to Oral Roberts University and received a degree in Film and Video Production. 

To pay his bills, Jeff worked for a local film company shooting weddings, events, and corporate training films. On the weekend, he did videos for his church showing various creative outreaches across St. Louis, like scraping frozen car windows or painting public areas that had graffiti. “We didn’t say much; our action was our testimony,” recounted Jeff. “People would show up at our church, wanting to know what would make people do what we were doing.” 

Going back to work on Mondays became harder and harder. What was the point? Was there a way to use his creative film talents and do missions for a living? In 1996, he learned at a missions conference about Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), an international children’s ministry based in Warrenton, Missouri. What started as volunteer work would become his full-time dream job. For the next decade, Jeff traveled the world to create videos about CEF’s ministries.

Catching the Vision

In 2010, Laura and Jeff met at a CEF workshop on children’s ministry. A year later, they were married. Years of travel began to take its toll. Now in their 40s, the couple wanted to start their family and prayed for a children’s ministry in the United States where they both could serve. 

Those prayers seemed to be answered when some friends from CEF approached the Eades about helping them start a youth home in Troy, Missouri. To help catch their vision, the friends suggested that the Eades visit Show-Me Christian Youth Home. “Show-Me is everything we want our youth home to be,” stated the friends. 

The Eades didn’t just catch the vision, they fell in love. “From the school to the home, it was a well-oiled machine where every kid was doing what they were supposed to do,” remembers Jeff. “Each child knew what was expected and how to do it.” Jeff was particularly impressed with how the private Christian school moved at the child’s pace, not the class pace. “When a child is allowed to stay at a subject until they learn it, they don’t get lost as the class passes them by,” stated Jeff.  By the end of their visit, the Eades asked if there were any openings at Show-Me.

A Never-ending Juggling Act

In the summer of 2014, the Eades arrived to serve as houseparents in La Monte, Missouri. Three years later, they moved to the growing Drysdale campus in Barnett, Missouri, where Jeff could help with the school. Over the next decade, 21 children would join the Eades family. 

The Eades found there was no magic formula for parenting. It is a never-ending juggling act: cooking, cleaning, school, appointments, counseling, games, church, etc. As chaotic as schedules can be, the biggest challenge is building a relationship of trust with each child. Without it, the child may never be willing to accept the help they need or understand God’s plan for their life. 

“Before they open up and let you see what is really going on inside, they have to know that you are going to be there,” stated Laura. “If the longest they have been in one place is three years, it is going to take over three years before they believe that you are not going to leave.”

Deciphering the Hidden Messages

The Eades learned that you can’t take things personally when working with children who suffer from trauma. The more you love them, the more they may push away. They may act out because chaos is the environment they are most used to. 

A child’s actions may have nothing to do with you; they could be upset because a parent didn’t call, or they had a bad day at school. Things like wet beds or tantrums aren’t kids being “bad” or defiant; they are part of the defense systems for their former environment. It is important to celebrate the small victories like when the kids start singing the same praise and worship song on the way home from church or when they ask if they can help at the local soup kitchen. 

A Child and His Craft

Art and music are a big part of the Eades home. Before they can watch TV or play a video game, the kids must practice a hobby or work on a craft. “At CEF, I learned that you never come between a child and his craft,” stated Jeff. “Their project becomes the gateway to building a relationship and opening bigger, deeper conversations.” A child is interested in learning the story about the picture they are coloring or memorizing the words of the Christian song they want to learn to play. 

Finding your Mission Field

You don’t have to travel around the world to find your mission field. Like the Eades, all we must do is open our heart and be willing to serve where the Spirit is guiding us. It may be as close as home.

“It is a privilege to serve God’s children – from the little ones who cannot help themselves to the not-so-little ones who don’t understand why they feel the way they do or why their lives are not the way they would like,” stated the Eades. “It may seem sometimes that we go three steps forward and two steps back,” stated Jeff. “However, the rewards are so worth it. Relationships are strengthened and the gospel is clearly communicated to the kids’ hearts. God’s Word does not return void.”

By |2024-07-15T16:45:36-05:00July 15th, 2024|Categories: Uncategorized|

Meet the Class of 2024

On the Road of Restoration

Our 2024 Graduates, Tati Jones and Ethan Smith, have a lot in common. Both spent more than half their life growing up as kids at Show-Me. Both enjoy reading, drawing, and serving as their school’s team captain in multiple sports. Both work around 20 hours a week at a part-time job, and are set to start college in the Fall. Each feels called to develop a professional skill set that they can not only turn into a career but which they will use to serve in the mission field. It is a calling that they feel God led them to and confirmed by the people and events they experienced through their time at Show-Me. “I would not be who I am today if it wasn’t for all the people in my life at Show-Me, who have helped me to strive to be the best I can,” stated Ethan. 

Life on the Move

Tati doesn’t remember having much of a childhood. She was too busy being a protector for her five brothers and sisters. Growing up, the six constantly moved from home to home, living with people they hardly knew, and rarely staying in one place very long. The instability left her feeling unsafe and unwanted.

In 2010, a church helped move four-year-old Tati and her siblings to Show-Me. Things didn’t magically change overnight; each child struggled in different ways as they adjusted to their new life. Being the older middle sister, Tati constantly flipped between roles to try and be the thing each sibling needed. Sometimes it was a shoulder to cry on. Other times it was the tough-love voice saying grow up. As her new houseparents’ attention focused on dealing with the kids who were having problems, Tati faded to the background and began to feel invisible.

The Perfect Burden

On the outside, Tati tried to appear as the perfect girl: happy, outgoing, and talkative. “You feel an over-bearing pressure (as a Show-Me kid) to always be perfect,” Tati recounts. “In your mind, the devil whispers that you can’t show pain or struggles because if you aren’t perfect, then no one will want you.” Her young mind believed that this must be the reason she had to move so much. The only way to stop it was to not show weakness, and give anyone a reason to reject her. Any pain or hurt she felt had to be kept hidden.

No Longer Invisible

She found solace in art and sports. Her art allowed her to express herself when she could not put it into words. She no longer had to keep the feelings isolated inside her. 

Sports were her safe place. The place she felt the most in control and wanted. She excelled at almost anything she tried. In sixth grade, she played on the varsity teams. By middle school, she was being selected for the All-State First-team in multiple sports. “When I was on the court, hearing people cheer, I no longer felt invisible,” stated Tati. “My team and everyone in the stands wanted me, and I knew I was making an impact.”

Cries are Answered

For a time, keeping a mask up and going through the motions worked. Focusing on sports and school, she hardly had time to think about how she really felt or all the things about her life that she did not understand. Then, one night as she lay alone on her bed looking at her mom’s mugshot, the only picture she had of her, Tati broke down. She cried out to God, “I don’t understand my situation. I don’t understand why I am here. All I know is I am just hurting.” In that moment, she felt God’s presence and a peace come over her like she had never felt before.

God became the One she went to when she could not find the answers. Singing praise and worship or playing a song on the piano allowed her to feel that connection with God and peace that passed understanding. She joined the praise and worship team to help lead other students. As her relationship grew, she felt a closeness to ask Him the questions she still did not understand.

God, what do you want me to do with my life?

Since she was little, Tati wanted to be a nurse. She likes helping people and has a passion for helping fix broken things, whether it was people or situations. In 2016, her passion was steered towards the medical field after reading the biography of Ida Scudder, a medical missionary to India. She was inspired by how Ida used her professional skills of nursing to save women and unwanted children who had been outcast by their community. Like Tati, Ida originally wanted to be “nothing like her parents.” Yet, Ida was willing to pray, “God, if You want me to, I will.” Ida created one of the first female medical schools and brought life-saving care to women in India, who, because of religious beliefs, could not be treated by male doctors. Tati saw how her faithfulness left an impact and legacy of hope that still touches millions. 

“God, how do you want me to make an impact?” Tati prayed. God’s confirmation would come in a way Tati least expected.

In 2023, her younger sister, Taija, was severely injured in a car accident and flown to a hospital in Columbia, MO. The accident had done a lot of damage to her head and body. When Tati first arrived at the hospital, Taija began to freak out. At that moment, Tati realized that she was able to control her own feelings, stay calm, and focus on what Taija needed. Like when she was a child, Tati remained positive and told her that things were going to be ok. Tati realized that in these dark and unsure moments when a patient feels out of control, they will reflect the emotions of the nurse. If Tati believed Taija would be ok, then she would, too.

It was confirmation to Tati that she was supposed to go into nursing. All her life, she had been developing the skills and empathy that she would need to help others in their greatest time of need. This Fall, Tati will head to College of the Ozarks to start her degree in nursing. One day, she hopes to use that nursing knowledge to do missionary work in Africa.  

 Fly Like an Angel

Ethan moved to Show-Me at the age of seven, when his parents, Nathan and Belinda Smith, returned to start the new Leadership U program and serve as relief houseparents. As the middle child of the Smith family, and as a sibling to dozens more Show-Me kids, Ethan has an easygoing, calm to him. He doesn’t say much, but you can tell he is always observing, and always thinking. As a kid, Ethan wanted to be a construction worker. He spent hours building elaborate worlds, planes, and other creations with his Lego and erector sets. At the age of 13, he realized that rather than build a plane, he wanted to fly it.

A family friend and supporter of Show-Me heard about Ethan’s interest and offered to take him up for a plane ride. He was a private pilot, who volunteered with Angel Flight. The mission provided free medical transportation to people in need. They delivered blood or organs needed for transplants; they helped get patients from one hospital to another. To get the medical care they need, a person might travel thousands of miles with different pilots handling different parts of the journey.

“After I saw how grateful people were when he flew them where they needed to go, I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of,” recounted Ethan. 

Ethan plans to get a degree in aviation from The University of Central Missouri. He then wants to work as a commercial pilot to pay off his student loans and build a career.  His end goal is to one day become a missionary pilot. “I’ll go wherever God wants me,” stated Ethan. 

The Road of Restoration

While both graduates are grateful for all the people who have helped them along their journey, they know that their foundation must be built on something stronger. “(As kids at Show-Me) we have this joke, that when you cross that stage and receive your diploma that you are going to hear ‘oh, you are now restored, now complete,’” stated Tati. “But it is always going to be an ongoing work. People cannot restore people, only God can. Putting your faith in anything else will eventually fail. There is only one place you can put your trust and not have it broken.”

By |2024-04-25T11:36:51-05:00April 25th, 2024|Categories: Child's Story, Children, Testimony, Uncategorized|

Faith Like a Child

The “Friends of Show-Me” Annual Fish Fry and Multi-Miracle

You can’t miss it. The large blue building is the central landmark and most recognized feature of Show-Me. The Multipurpose building, or “Multi,” is the hub of life at the main campus. Daily, within its walls: K-12 school is taught, office staff conduct business, counselors listen to kids’ concern, visitors cheer on our athletes, and God is praised. Each year, nearly 500 supporters will unite during our Annual Open House, former kids and their families will return “home” to share a meal at the holidays, and tears will be shed as a once struggling young person crosses the stage to receive their high school diploma.  

Even more impressive than all the ways the Multi is used, is the story of how it came to be. It is the Show-Me version of the miracle of the fish and loaves. The testimony of how a childlike faith passed from one group to another sparks an overflowing of blessings that continue to multiply from generation to generation.   

Rain, Rain, Go Away…

“What do you do when the weather gets bad,” Kirk Bruce asked while touring the La Monte campus in 1990. “Pray! There is not much else we can do,” housemom and current Director, Karen Culler, said with a smile. Kirk continued, “what is something Show-Me could really use, but that you feel is not such a pressing need that you should ask for help?” Karen responded that a dream would be to have an area where the kids could play on a rainy day. A space large enough where all the families could gather as one big Show-Me family at the holidays or for special events. 

Driving home, Kirk and his wife, Bonnie, talked about the 40’ x 60’ metal building that he had recently built on his property for a cost of $14,000. Why couldn’t they build something like that for the kids at Show-Me? A simple shelter would give them a safe place to go when the weather turned bad. He had the skills to build a shelter like that; all he needed now was the money to do it.

A Challenge to Christians in Action

The Bruce’s decided to approach the 25 members in their Christians in Action (CIA) Sunday school class about the need. He challenged them to raise $15,000 toward the project. “If we are going to do it, let’s do it right!” Bill and Donna Crockett exclaimed. The group decided to hold an all-you-can-eat fish fry fundraising event. These “Friends of Show-Me,” as they called themselves, resolved to “give it a try, and with God’s help, see what happens.” As they brainstormed ideas, each member took stock of what talents, gifts, and connections they could bring to the project.

Smiling Faces and Fish Guts

Donna, a mother and former city council woman, utilized her organization and delegation gifts to lead the project. She turned the group’s idea into an actionable plan. “Mom never met a stranger,” laughed Tim Crocket, Donna’s son. “She was never afraid to ask for help. She could see the talents of others and know exactly how she could use them to fill a need.” Friends reached out to friends. Soon, everyone wanted to join the cause from the church to the wider community in Columbia, MO. 

Local businesses donated oil, cups, and other supplies. Donna found a fisherman in Louisiana, who caught 1,800 lbs. of fish. The CIA class met to clean and prepare the fish. Bob Fletcher, a member of the class, stored the fish in his industrial freezer near the venue. The Church family prepared desserts and side dishes. Greg Johnson, the pianist at Westside, provided the entertainment. On the day of the first event, Donna had lines of men waiting with their fryers. “Everyone had a great time,” recounts Kirk. “It didn’t matter if you were gutting fish or washing plates.”

All-You-Can Eat Fish to Satisfy the Multitudes

The event, held at the Kemper Arena outside of Columbia, MO, exceeded even their wildest expectations. By the end of the night, they had fed 1,200 people raising over $20,000. “After the success of the first event, everyone wanted to do more,” Kirk remembered. 

Daring to Dream 

They dared to dream bigger. The group vowed to hold more events each Spring. What started as a building project for a simple covered shelter transformed into an indoor recreation “hall of many uses.” The new plans included an indoor gym, kitchen, stage, tutoring and preschool facilities, as well as much needed storage. Looking to centralize operations under one roof, they added administrative offices, a counseling area, a print shop, and a library. Bill Crockett, an architectural engineer, offered his expertise to ensure the construction process would be a success. 

“The more people we get, the more things we can do,” Donna encouraged. Kids held “change for children” coin drives. Kirk donated all the tips from his barber shop. Other members of the CIA class made large donations. A young man from their church even wrote a $6,000 check. He said he felt compelled to give the money that he saved since his company was paying for all his expenses while he worked overseas in Africa.

The “Friends of Show-Me” Annual Fish Fry continued for the next four years, each year seemingly larger than the last. From 1990 to 1994, the “Friends of Show-Me” raised a total of over $125,000. 

In 1994, construction began at Show-Me. Volunteers helped with the finishing work on the interior part of the building. On July 8, 1995, the new Multipurpose building was dedicated at the Show-Me Open House event. 

Why Can’t We!?! 

The biggest impact could not be measured by a dollar sign. More significant than the money raised was how the project opened the hearts and eyes of all those who were involved. Hundreds of people, who had never heard of Show-Me, sat down to a great meal, and left with a new awareness of a place where struggling families could get help. Scores of volunteers, who first got involved to help do a “good” thing, caught the passion, and become faithful supporters. 

“Mom’s (Donna) goal was to get people to think about the kids in our community who needed a safe place like Show-Me,” stated Tim. “As she would say, family does not end when a person turns 18 years old. Everyone needs a place where they can come ‘home.’ If these kids do not have a place, then why can’t we make a place!?!” 

The Real Miracle 

The Show-Me Fish Fry miracle was never about fish; it is about what can happen when we have faith like a child to respond to a need we see in our community. A need that even some of the Lord’s disciples might think is too big to attempt. God’s miracles rarely involve the sky opening and manna from heaven descending. More often, they occur when ordinary people accept His invitation to be part of the solution.

God will show us the miraculous when we look at what we been given, and have the courage to offer Him even those little gifts. Then, He will multiply it to be more than enough as we pass the basket to invite others to share in the blessing.

“You realize that the blessing is pouring yourself out,” stated Elton Fay, a member of the CIA class and Show-Me board member. “The truest blessing comes when you do something for someone that can never pay you back.”

By |2024-02-14T13:03:42-06:00February 14th, 2024|Categories: Celebration, Children, Uncategorized|

20th Annual Culler Memorial Basketball Tournament

Team slots are filled for this year’s tournament. Feel free to come out and watch the games!

We are so pleased to be able to host this annual tournament!

This year’s tournament will be held on Saturday, March 16th.

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!

The double elimination bracket allows for 8 teams and slots fill up fast. We can’t wait!!!

If you have any questions, please email Judi at

By |2024-02-16T13:08:06-06:00January 3rd, 2024|Categories: Children, Events, Sports, Uncategorized|

From Questions to Trust

Finding the Greatest Gift in the Darkest Moments

What is the next step in your life? What do you want to do for a career? Unanswered questions are nothing new to Luke Porter. His life has been full of them.

“You Will Never Amount to Much”

Luke knows that he was born in Bogota, Columbia. But, without an official birth record, the details – even his birthday – are unclear. Luke was told he lived with his Grandma until the age of three, but he doesn’t know why his Mom and Dad left him. He knows that in 2008, he and his older brother and sister were adopted by a family from Kansas.  And, even though he would spend the next nine years growing up in a house with 15 other kids, why did he never feel like he was a part of the family?

He wondered why it was always “his fault” when anything went wrong. No matter how hard he tried, why could he not do anything right? He must be bad; there must not be anything good about him. Luke bounced between peaks of anger and valleys of depression as conflicts escalated. Constantly, he heard a voice telling him that “he would never amount to much.”

Realizing he could not get the help he needed in their home, his adopted Dad began searching for a place where Luke might actually be happy and feel a part of a family. A friend from their church recommended a place he volunteered: Show-Me Christian Youth Home.

Beginning to Believe

In 2017, a quiet, reserved twelve-year-old hesitantly stepped onto the Show-Me grounds. “I came in as lazy as a kid could get,” Luke said. “I didn’t feel I could do anything.”

To his surprise, Luke discovered that Show-Me offered a new world of possibilities to find his talents. Working alongside his housedad, Luke helped with lawn and maintenance projects. He discovered that he enjoyed working with his hands. It felt good to see something he fixed or built.

At Show-Me, Luke found many areas to get involved in. He played soccer and basketball. He ran cross country and track. He participated in quiz bowl, Leadership U, and archery. Luke discovered talents and leadership abilities he didn’t know he had. For the first time in his life, he heard compliments. Those encouraging words boosted his self-esteem. He began to notice things about himself that were good. “Gradually, I began to believe I could have a future,” said Luke. “I could amount to something.”

Being Real

While sports helped Luke to see his talents, the other kids at Show-Me helped Luke see his life from a better perspective. The more he focused on himself, the more lost he felt. By hearing their stories, he realized that there were people worse off than him. It made him want to reach out and help. As he helped them, it helped him.

He found it easiest to talk to other teens at Show-Me. He could be more himself around them. They might not have all the answers, but since they had gone through similar experiences, they understood some of the feelings and questions that swirled in his head even if he couldn’t put them into words. “Having been through similar past struggles, we can see what’s really going on,” stated his classmate, Tati. “We are real with each other and will call each other out on stuff.”

The Power of Just Being There

While Luke trusted some of his friends at Show-Me, learning to trust adults would not be as easy. “With a whole bunch of people in my life, I begin to start trusting them. I feel like it’s going to be different – then they leave,” stated Luke. To protect himself from that feeling of abandonment, Luke always kept the adults in his life at a little distance. “If I am only going to know them for a little while longer, they don’t really need to know anything about me,” he reasoned. Each time things felt like they would finally fall into place, another obstacle came and knock everything over.

In 2021, Luke faced the biggest challenge of his life. He received word that his adopted father – the one person he trusted in his life – had died. Luke’s heart cried out with questions: How could God let this happen? Why did the people in his life keep having to go away? In this time of uncertainty, Luke found an answer — his family.

“It wasn’t any specific thing they (Ken and Emilee Parton) said. It was just that they were there and listened when I needed them,” stated Luke. “Family is a group of people, it doesn’t have to be biological or adopted, that will be there for you, who are honest with you, and willing to help. My Show-Me family isn’t just the Partons; it is my friends here; it is all the teachers, staff, and supporters that I know love and care about me. “

Not Knowing the Answers is OK

Show-Me has not given Luke all the answers. He is taking things one step at a time. In May, he receives his high school diploma from Show-Me Christian School. He’s not sure what the next step will be. Maybe, he will work for a year to build a solid financial foundation, then go to tech school and get a degree in electrical engineering. He hopes one day to have a career he enjoys that allows him to create things with his hands.

“Truthfully, the future makes me nervous,” admits Luke. “But, it is less scary knowing I have a family here at Show-Me that cares about me and I could go to for help if I need it. Knowing there are people who will actually listen and see my point of view (my Show-Me family) helped me realize I am not alone. Even though I am still trying to figure out the next step, I know my family will be there.”

By |2023-04-25T17:11:35-05:00April 25th, 2023|Categories: Child's Story, Children, Path to Purpose, Teen, Testimony, Uncategorized|

The Rescued become the Rescuers

Answering the Call to ‘Rescue and Restore’

Police officer. Houseparent. Nurse. Firefighter. It takes a certain kind of person to be a rescuer. When others flee danger, the rescuer runs toward it. They deal with people at their worst and must make life-and-death decisions. They face long, fast-paced hours with little pay or appreciation; many times being seen as the enemy by the very people that they are trying to help.  Why would anyone choose a job like that!?!

For five rescuers who once called Show-Me “home,” it is not a job, it is the mission God called them to do. Their life confirms it. The challenges they overcame, the hardships they endured, all were the necessary training ground to develop the skills, coping mechanisms, and Christ-centered view needed to succeed in their daunting tasks. Someone once fought to rescue and restore their life; now they feel it is their turn to answer God’s call.

Alex: The Difference of One Pivotal Moment

Alex Stimson’s young life had all the ingredients of a career criminal: divorced parents, abuse as a child, lying, anger issues, and increasing behavior problems. Alex’s dad had fought and won custody to get his son away from his Mom’s abusive home. But, now what? They had tried state-based group homes; he was kicked out in three weeks. Therapy? In Alex’s mind, all his problems were someone else’s fault. His dad didn’t have the skills needed to help Alex move past the trauma he endured and heal. After a lot of research, they found a brochure for Show-Me Christian Youth Home.

In 2002, 13-year-old Alex joined the Ward Family in Camdenton, MO.  Over the next four years, the Wards’ helped him emotionally and spiritually heal. He developed deep bonds with his Show-Me siblings – ones he still calls family. Show-Me loved Alex just as he was. “It wasn’t one giant thing that changed me,” stated Alex. “It was the little things every day that made me the man I am today.” That structure would develop and nurture Alex’s faith in God and himself.

Building upon that faith, he graduated and left Show-Me in 2006. College, odd jobs, and serving as a youth pastor filled his days over the next few years. In 2010, he began his 13-year career in law enforcement. Today, he is a Highway Patrolman, living in Wyoming with his wife, Laura, and their two children.

As a state trooper, he must hold others accountable for the choices they make, but Alex tries to let God use each small interaction to be the pivotal moment that changes their life’s direction. He makes sure they know they matter and have value. Alex uses his own story to give them hope that they can change, but they can’t do it alone. “Your past can be a part of who you are, but it does not have to define your future,” Alex said. It is the message that Alex received at Show-Me and helped change the direction of his life.

“My life could have been a coin flip on how it turned out,” stated Alex. “Hearing these people’s stories and backgrounds, I realize that could have been me. The only difference was I had one pivotal moment – the youth home – which opened the doors to a thousand different possibilities that I didn’t know existed. It was the difference between growing up and never getting the help and healing I needed, then turning towards substances or sex or any other vice that we try to fill our lives with. I found fulfillment in Christ and found healing, joy, discipline, and a determination that might not have been there otherwise.”

Kayla: Finding Purpose in Brokenness

Kayla Jones’ life could also have turned out very different if it was not for her four years at Show-Me. A family history of substance abuse and mental illness set her up for an early life of hurt and fear; by the age of 13, she learned to disguise those feelings with many unhealthy coping mechanisms. Numerous friends she once skipped school with have died or are involved with the justice system. “I should be dead,” said Kayla, an 11-year Registered Nurse. “My training has made me aware that many of the ways I was dealing with stressors could have led to a poor outcome. God saved me for some reason.”

Kayla credits the love and understanding she received from her Show-Me family as one of the things that changed her. “They were there as I stumbled through my grief (over the death of my father) and despite the immense pain I experienced, they encouraged me to keep moving forward,” Kayla said. Their compassion opened Kayla’s eyes to see herself through God’s eyes as the success she was created to be.

Her personal understanding of the need for “helpers” led Kayla into the field of nursing. While at Show-Me, she volunteered at nursing homes. She became a Certified Nurse Assistant working her way through college, and then a hospital critical care nurse upon graduation. Today, she serves as the Statewide Director of Nursing for an organization that provides medical and mental health services to 21 correctional facilities in Missouri. She oversees a staff of over 300 nurses, who provide nursing services to incarcerated individuals.

Healing broken adults that society wants to forget about is her passion. She is reminded daily of how important the work of Show-Me is. “It is easier to work with someone at age 13 than it is at 50,” she said. “We all make mistakes, but we all deserve compassion and care. I am not the only one that came from that type of home environment or only child that felt that way. Good things can come out of really bad situations. We can all make choices to change a life. God can change a life. Everyone has a purpose.”

Emily: A Bridge to Healing

Show-Me has been a part of Emily Puckett’s whole life. Born to then houseparents, Chad and Jen Puckett, she has lived with 41 different siblings and calls countless others family. Being raised at Show-Me, Emily saw what happened when the new “Show-Me kids” felt they were treated equally with the houseparents’ “biological” kids as one family in an environment of hope and healing. Their dignity was maintained, barriers could come down, community was built, and dysfunctional cycles could be broken.

“Everyone had trauma, adverse childhood experiences, unfortunate circumstances, and we all lived in a bit of chaos,” Emily said. “But, we had the same Jesus. Seeing people break the cycles they grew up in inspired me to be a catalyst for change.”

Emily considered careers as a special education teacher, therapist, adolescent counselor, caregiver, and more. She had a realization after watching her big sister, Kayla’s journey. “Nurses fix everyone and everything,” thought Emily. “Nurses ARE educators, counselors, caregivers, and advocates for healing.”

In May of 2023, Emily will graduate with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the College of the Ozarks, Missouri’s top nursing school. She has accepted a nursing job in Rolla, MO, where she plans to follow in Kayla’s footsteps to train as a critical care nurse. “Now, my greatest aspiration is to show others their value by loving and serving them and providing a bridge to healing,” stated Emily.

Thomas and Kyle: Actions…Not Words

Thomas and Kyle Chaney aren’t much for words. Why did they choose the career paths they did? “I wanted to drive a car that would go fast,” joked Kyle, a deputy sheriff. “I wanted to drive big red trucks,” laughed Thomas, a volunteer firefighter. “You have a lot of people pour into your life, so you want to give back,” explains Thomas. “You can’t really tell someone why you do what you do. You just feel called to help.”

Thomas and Kyle saw the impact of answering that call from their Mom, Rachel. As young children, both were adopted into the Chaney family and grew up in their Show-Me home. Watching their parents and other Show-Me families join together to deal with situations with children from diverse backgrounds and different needs, taught them many lessons they regularly use as first responders: when you are dealing with people at their worst times, you have to put aside your emotions to get the job done; you will never feel completely ready or prepared, don’t let that stop you from trying; trust God and your desire to help more than any fear.

The biggest lesson their Mom taught them? “Life is not about you,” states Thomas. “It is about being there for each other.”

By |2023-04-05T21:38:11-05:00February 22nd, 2023|Categories: Children, Testimony, Uncategorized|

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 |2022-06-07T04:38:33-05:00June 7th, 2022|Categories: Child's Story, Children, Music, Testimony, Uncategorized|Tags: , |

Overcoming the Impossible

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.


By |2020-02-06T10:37:18-06:00February 6th, 2020|Categories: 2020 Vision Campaign, Celebration, Events, Uncategorized|

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

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 |2019-03-16T20:37:15-05:00March 16th, 2019|Categories: Child's Story, Children, Events, Testimony, Uncategorized|