Grandpa Whit believed we are at our best when something masters us.
It is not what he possesses but what possesses the man. We need a Master. Put your hand in God's and he will change your discord into winsome music.
In Grandpa Whit's sermon "Tell Your Story", he drives home the message that if we are to make America great again, we have to put our hand in God's. He ends this sermon with what appears to be a poem. Did Grandpa write it? I can't tell. There is no author attributed to the poem and none found online. I don't think that matters as much as the message; "My care is now for the souls of men. I have lost my life to find it again; ever since that day, in a quiet place, I met my master face to face."
Tell Your Story
From "Grandpa's Whit and Wisdom" devotion section. Local friends can buy a copy for $5 or buy online for $12.50 through CreateSpace or Amazon.
Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you. Mark 5:19
The story is bewildering. It sounds like a foreign language. This should not blind us to the fact of its central message. This has to do with the setting of the jewel and not the jewel itself. It tells of what Christ did for a man long ago and also what he can do for the soul today giving him a chance.
Some think that religion has more weight than wings, that its best benefits are rather trifles; but in these seeming trifles are the great things – priceless. Supreme things.
“Tell what great things the Lord has done for you.”
Have you such a story to tell? What is the Lord is doing for you? Can it be described by the word 'Great'? If not, you have lost your spiritual birthright. Your religion is not to you for which it is intended.
Whenever Christ has a chance, great things happen to that soul – such here is the case.
Look at the man – the description must have come from the pen of an eyewitness. The boat had hardly landed when this ghastly figure rushed out from the tombs half naked – unkept, half mad. A person with whom we feel little kinship. We are far saner and more respectful. The difference, however, is that of degrees rather than in kind.
What was his trouble? A divided personality. In answer to Jesus, my name is legion, said he. Not one, but many. Not so much a personality as a battleground. He was at war with himself. Being pulled in a thousand different directions – thousands of impulses and passions were warring with his soul. Such we meet today in the hospitals on the streets in our homes. Not so pronounced, but the conflict is there. All know something of the tragedy of a divided personality.
This fact is emphasized in modern psychology. We are possessed with conscious and subconscious minds. In the subconscious mind are the driving instincts that have come to us from our ancestors. Instincts without conscience have a conscience, we say. Here is no moral sense. Gratified in their one fulfillment without attention to right or wrong. But in the conscious mind there is the sense of oughtness. I must do this or I must not do that. The conscious mind rises up against the subconscious mind. Our ideas fight with our instincts. Our higher self fights battles with our lower self.
A divided personality – incarnate civil war, victims of the deepest of deepest conflicts. The conflict with ourselves. Long before modern psychology, Bible writers discovered this fact. Divided personalities, conscious and subconscious mind. Here is a man who is conscious that he loves the Lord. A man of piety and prayer, he is kneeling with his face turned up to God. But there is another self refusing to kneel. Laughing and jeering at him when his higher self seeks to pray. Out of the agony of such conflict he cries to god “Unite my heart to fear thy name. “ He prays for unified personality, a wholehearted devotion to God.
Here is another who is deeply religious, but seems more sensitive to the lure of evil than to the good. In spite of this he can not give himself wholly to the lower. He has gone in to the far country of his choice but he can’t feel at home there. Therefore he cries out in his prayer “My soul cleaveth unto the dust, quicken thou me according to thy word,”
The man of the text being at war with himself was naturally wretched always night and day crying and cutting himself with stones, fighting himself, always his worst enemy. He is a stranger to happiness. No one with a divided personality can ever be happy.
Here is another great soul in the midst of the age old conflict. Paul, he is headed for the high road, but when he begins to climb he slips. He cries out “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me.”
I know of a man who lived in excellent circumstances, committed suicide and left this as an explanation. “I was tired of fighting with myself.”
The man of the text being divided and wretched was also antisocial, separated himself from his fellows. Lived alone, no one could tame him, at war with himself at war with others.
It is ever so to ascertain degree with all who have a divided personality. We explode, slam the door, break the dishes, stab right and left with the sword, the tongue. Tell how poorly we slept, how badly we feel and call it our nerves. But so often it is for the lack of inward harmony. Those torn with inward strife are hard to live with.
The demoniac being unable to live with others was equally unable to live for others. He was or had a divided personality, he was wretched. He was antisocial and he was incurable. He had no hope for himself. Others had no hope for him. He was beyond help. No one could tame him. Divided wretched, unable to live with or for others. An extreme case. Few can recognize any kinship with him. But his needs were and are our needs. What Jesus did for him is just what Jesus longs to do for each of us. He is still able to save to the uttermost.
What did Jesus do for him? He gave him a unified personality. That he can do for us. We can hardly reach the high goal except through him. Certainly no one can find the inward peace by yielding to the basic self. And whatever one may do he can’t quite hush the voice that calls from the heights.
Lady Macbeth, the most heartless woman of all literature, seemed to have had her prayer answered when she prayed to the demons to take her milk for gall. She could turn her husband into a murdering traitor. Plot the death of her royal guest with devilish eagerness. She was so bad to seem to have no feeling; but not so in her waking hours. She was by force able to hide the conflict raging within. Asleep the conflict reveals itself when she seeks to cleanse her hands from the bloody deed. “Out damn spot, out I say.”
We find the unified personality by taking the high road, not the low road. Listen once more to Paul’s anguish cry “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me? Who indeed? Is there no answer? There is “I thank God through Jesus Christ. Thus he sings “there is therefore no condemnation. “No inward strife, the heart no longer condemns us. With Christ’s gift of a unified personality there is inward peace. A surrendered life to him does just that. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.
Every man’s religion ought to give him that inward unity which has its issues in inward peace.
Jesus enabled this man to live with and for his fellows. To live with and for those with whom it was impossible for him to live before this contact with Jesus.
His was a broken home. The man met Christ and Christ enabled him to go back and rebuild the broken home. This is the Christian test.
This is the test that every man should put his religion to. Can you get along with people? A Christian will certainly be able to meet the test. Live with them and for them.
Here are some of the things that our Lord can do for us. Give us unified personalities, inward peace for us. Give us unified personalities. Inward peace, enable us to live with and for our fellows.
But how are we to set out to realize the great things the Lord longs to do for us? The first step, repent. The Lord longs for us to do this first step. Repent and be converted. Old fashion term you say. But if it is and our group has dropped the term, psychologists have taken it up.
Conversion is a fact. We may be born anew. We can be born from above or below. The young man, the Christian, a ministerial student, hopeful. Bright outlook. Well thought of promising. A few years later, I met him. He had become associated with scoundrels and in their fellowship had become reborn, born from below.
To be born from above must change the master passion of our lives. Instead of self-centered must become Christ-centered. Matthew follow me. He did and that was his spiritual birthday.
Jack London, The Call of the Wild – Buck, the hero. One the way to arrive, master dies. Buck is reborn by the old instincts. A dog needs a master, he by the old instincts. A dog needs a master, he can not survive without a master. When a man arrives at his best, something has mastered him. It is not what he possesses but what possesses the man.
We need a Master. Put your hand in his and he will change your discord into winsome music.
I Met the Master
I walked life’s way with a careless tread. I followed where comfort and pleasure led;
Till at last one day in a quiet place, I met my Master face to face.
I had reared my castles and built them high, till their torrents touched the blue of the sky.
And I had vowed to rule with and iron mace.
When I met my Master face to face. I met him and knew him and blushed to see that his eyes in pity were fixed on me, and I faltered and fell at his feet that day and my castles melted and vanished away.
They melted and vanished in their place.
I saw naught else but the master’s face. And I cried aloud
“O make me meet to follow the path of the bruised feet.
My care is now for the souls of men. I have lost my life to find it again; ever since that day, in a quiet place, I met my master face to face.
I plan to publish excerpts from Grandpa's work on my blog. If you want to read something from a particular book of the Bible or from his time working for the YMCA, let me know, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grandpa's work is expansive and covers every chapter of the Bible. Some of his thoughts are well thought out and typed carefully. Other messages are scribbled on bits of paper. All of his work was tucked into a box with his typewriter when he died in 1947. I found the box in 1987 and have worked since then to compile the work into a publishable format, "Grandpa's Whit and Wisdom."
It is finished! Grandpa's Whit and Wisdom" was published last month and is ready to order. Details on purchasing the book are at the end of this blog post. Special friends and family rate available through Christmas.
Grandpa Whit did more living in his 20s than most do their entire life. Born in 1887 in Beaufort County, North Carolina, Whitford Frank Walters could hardly wait to see the world. His first chance came when the YMCA hired him in 1903 to encourage young men. Grandpa Whit's messages of hope always ended with a call to action to help others, while nurturing a saving faith in Christ.
Service is not in danger of being pursued as a fad, like golf or tatting. But how many of us really understand that service is a law of life? Not one of the minor laws but a fundamental law?
We are inclined you see, to make this matter of service a relative affair, a conditional affair. Entirely too many of us take our service as we Americans take our physical excercise, vicariously. We sit on the bleachers, so to speak, and watch others at it, sometimes cheering them, sometimes criticizing them, but not often going down to get into the game ourselves. From Fundamental Way of Life, by Grandpa Whit as published in Grandpa's Whit and Wisdom.
Grandpa's Whit and Wisdom is a collection of essays and sermons that are as timely today as they were when written in the early 1900s. "Grandpa Whit preached eloquently, weaving stories of politics and life together in a way that will inspire and challenge readers to live a life worth living," Peter Forwood.
In the 30 Day Devotional at the end of this book, you will find some of Grandpa's sermons delivered at small eastern North Carolina churches located in South Mills, Manteo, Edenton, Warsaw, Burgaw, Halifax, and Pikeville.
Grandpa Whit graduated from Ayden Seminary, attended Elon College and finished his studies at Gainesville University, Florida. His writing is peppered with stories from his life as well as current topics. Grandpa lived a faith-filled life. He began as a storyteller to young men at the YMCAs, urging them to live decent lives. From there, he became a teacher and slowly his true calling as a preacher became evident in his message as a Superintendent to teachers in Tyrell County, North Carolina.
At times, Grandpa's directness will startle you as it should. He didn't want his congregation to be lukewarm Christians, neither hot or cold. Grandpa wanted everyone to accept Christ. "He is standing at the door of your heart. Let Him in and your lukewarmness will vanish as wintertime vanishes in the kiss of spring. "
I compiled the collection that was found in 1987 in a box that hadn't been opened since 1950. The body of work is a legacy of faith that is more valuable than any other treasure that could have been stored in my father's attic.
It's not every day a rocket blasts off in front of our home. Fortunately, it was a small one and a great ending for our neighborhood's Science Saturday held April 16.
The idea began when our Little Free Library was selected from among the many in North Carolina to receive Science books from the N.C. Science Festival staff. We couldn't let the occasion pass with just a special section. Donations from neighbors poured in with enough books to fill the library, making it a Little Free SCIENCE library.
Ethan, the Boy Scout who built the library that opened in 2014, repainted the library and added shingles to the roof. It seemed appropriate to have another ribbon cutting for the library when the renovations were complete.
It didn't take long for the kids to let us know that they LOVE Science and wanted more. A committee that included two kids met to plan a neighborhood event with bubbling experiments and other Mad Science learning activities.
We took pictures at Science Saturday to share with our friends at the N.C. Science Festival. The group told us our library is the best one in the state and to expect to see it featured soon. Looks like we need to plan another celebration!
Thank you to our friends at NC Science Festival for donating books and inspiring our neighborhood to hold a Science Saturday. Thank you to neighbors who donated Science books. We couldn't have done this without the support of our HOA who made it possible to have Mad Science entertain the kids!
Landsdowne Little Free Library History
If this little library could talk, it would tell you about the dozens of children who pick out a book and read it on the bench. On special days, the books are read to others and the little library can hear the stories.
We had a ribbon cutting for the library in September 2014. The little area in front of our home started with a bench and a few plants. In time, this corner of the yard has become a gathering place for kids of all ages. It's our way of Loving our Neighbors.
There are just a couple more days left to take advantage of the all Science library. In May, it will be restocked with a wide selection of children's to teen's books.
The Cary Church of God Mission Team members are a bit like modern day Supermen.
Some of the volunteers work in the Cary area as teachers, office managers and nurses.
But when the mission call to Ecuador comes, the group is transformed into superheroes, delivering needed medical care, glasses and spiritual revival to a part of South America that is described as “desperately poor.”
From July 19 to 26, a missionary team of 88 people from 16 churches, primarily from the East Coast, left for Guayaquil Ecuador. The city on the western bank of the Guayas River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean, has the hustle and bustle feel of New York City with taxis whizzing in and out of traffic at breakneck speed.
But the transition from the largest city in Ecuador to the sites for the mission work, which all have extreme poverty, is heartbreaking.
About half of the group on the trip came from the Cary Church of God. After more than 20 years of mission work in Ecuador, this was the last trip for the group. By now, the volunteers and the Ecuadorians treated each other like family. But the group decided that another part of the world needed their help.
I wasn’t called in the typical way for this mission trip. I didn’t think I had any skills to offer. I don’t speak Spanish, the primary language spoken in Ecuador. I’m not qualified to be on a medical team. I am not physically able to help a construction team. I don’t feel led to serve on a church planting team.
The opportunity for me to join the trip – my first mission trip ever – came on July 5, just weeks before the group left. I wanted to find a reason to say, “No, I can’t go to Ecuador,” but when I learned that Janet Baggett, the evangelism pastor for the church, was praying for a photographer, I cleared my calendar, packed my bags and started studying Spanish.
The six days in Ecuador left me feeling poured out emotionally, physically and spiritually. Each day we rose early and worked hard. One night, I was so exhausted, I fell into bed without taking a shower or changing into pajamas.
But the memories of the dear people who live in such humble surroundings, and yet were open to sharing so much of themselves, will be etched forever in my mind.
The mission leader Baggett’s first trip with the church to Ecuador was in 1997. Over the years, Baggett has served on every team except construction.
This year, Baggett coordinated all aspects of the trip. Every detail, including arranging for the teams’ daily transportation to their work sites to making peanut butter sandwiches for the missionary lunches, fell under Baggett’s watchful eye. Almost every aspect of the mission required implementing logistics to create order in an area that has none.
When Baggett wasn’t at work helping the missionaries, she was on the streets of Duran going door to door with the church planting team.
With a translator’s help, the team asked the residents if they needed medical or spiritual care. If they wanted to attend a church, they were told of the Sunday church services and the daily discipleship classes.
If medical care was needed, information was provided about the mission team’s clinic.
Baggett, 68, was as comfortable ministering one on one with Ecuadorians as she was on stage leading a group in prayer.
“We will never be put on a shelf if we don’t want to be,” said Baggett, who lives in Cary with her daughter and grandson.
I joined Baggett’s team for a day and discovered the streets of Duran were dirt. The floors in the homes were dirt. Within a few minutes, I was covered in dirt.
Once I met a few Ecuadorians, it didn’t matter. The people were so kind, beckoning us to come into their homes to pray with them.
We visited one home where two women were very proud of their small business. They invited us in to see the paper statues they had made for a New Year’s celebration. When Baggett laid her hand on one of the women’s faces to pray, it was as if the love of God flowed through the team to deliver hope and healing.
The medical team
A school in Duran was transformed into a medical facility. It was incredible to watch as volunteers from the United States, who had left their jobs as office managers, teachers, doctors and pastors, formed a medical team equipped to help Ecuadorians with dental, medical, optical and pharmacy needs.
The school was like nothing I have ever seen. The front door was more of a metal garage door that swung open to the main area of the school.
he medical team set up tents in the dirt courtyard. Stacks of colorful plastic chairs were put into five rows to create a waiting room in front of the tents. Tables were transformed into small intake centers, where the team took blood pressure, temperatures and asked about basic medical needs.
Marge Smith, 70, was the leader of this group known as the Red Medical Team. The Purple Medical Team was assigned to another area near Guayaquil.
This was Smith’s 15th trip to Ecuador. Although Smith lives in Cary now, she spent much of her childhood in Honduras. Her parents were missionaries who instilled in her the importance of helping others.
“My hands are open and I say, ‘Lord, send me,’” said Smith, who was joined on the trip by her brother, John, a member of the Purple Medical Team.
The medical team’s biggest challenge is creating a system to treat the hundreds of Ecuadorians who flock to the clinics each day. Smith helped develop a system using colored wrist bands. Patients with a red band are seen by the doctors. Blue bands are given to those who need a dentist. Silver bands are for eye patients.
The eye center was created in a small classroom that had bars on the windows. The team quickly unpacked the reading glasses, prescription glasses and sunglasses. Vision was verified with an eye chart taped to wall in the back of the room. Glasses were distributed in the front of the room.
Eric Reynolds has come on the trip for three years and volunteers in the eyeglass center. One of the most common eye problems is Pterygium, a lesion that forms on an eye due to gritty conditions. The grit, somewhat like a grain of sand in an oyster, grows and can cause blindness.
“Because the sun is damaging to the eyes, everyone gets a pair of sunglasses,” said Reynolds, 46, and a member of Cary Church of God.
Reynolds describes the work in the eyeglass clinic as emotional. “One man started crying when he put on glasses for the first time and could see,” Reynolds said. “That one moment takes your breath away.”
Reynolds was on the trip with his wife, Misty, who worked in the prescription center, and his daughter, Summer, who was a part of the Community Youth Team that went into several schools to lead music and drama lessons.
At the end of the day, doctors treated 250 Ecuadorians. Most were given medicine through the prescription center set up at the exit door. The dental team treated 120 patients. The eye center helped 120 people.
The construction team
The construction team builds a church in a different area of Ecuador. This year’s plan called for a two-story building across the street from the police station in Duran.
The first step was to tear down the shack that was on the property.
Everything takes extreme effort. Mixing concrete with shovels and lifting support beams for the roof requires many hands. The team leader kept the group going with songs and jokes.
The Cary pastor
A crusade was held the last two evenings of the trip. Pastor Patrick Jensen, 36, led the final session on the street, with plastic chairs creating pews and the twinkling stars in the sky forming the sanctuary ceiling.
If I felt poured out at week’s end as a photojournalist, I can’t imagine how Jensen felt after working hard every day. Jensen, who is both a Pentecostal preacher and a psychiatrist, treated patients with the medical team the first two days of the trip.
“It’s amazing to be brought to a church that integrates ministry and medicine,” said Jensen, who lives in Cary with his wife and five children.
The third day, Jensen worked on the construction team. The fourth day, he was with a church planting team. Friday, Jensen spent time with the youth presenting dramas in the schools.
He preached Saturday morning and evening. Sunday was our travel day, and by Monday, Jensen was back at work in Roxboro with the Person County Family Medical and Dental Center.
Pastor Richard Dial began the Cary Church of God effort in Ecuador more than 20 years ago. The vision was to bring a small group to Ecuador for a couple of years.
The effort has grown. A few years ago, the team was made up of more than 300 people, primarily Church of God members who live in North Carolina. Many team members come every year from states as far away as New York and Florida.
“We are the body of Christ acting as one,” Smith said.
Because this was the last trip for the Cary Church of God, an appreciation banquet was held midweek at the Grand Hotel Guayaquil. Pastors from the churches that had been built from the mission effort joined the Ecuador Church of God officials to present a plaque.
Pastor Angel Mendoza, retired overseer for the Ecuador Church of God, praised the efforts of the mission and presented a plaque.
“Thousands and thousands have been touched and blessed by this church,” said Mendoza. “More than 20 houses of prayer have been built.”
With the Ecuador trips concluded, it’s time for the church to turn its attention to finding a new place for its next mission trip. They don’t know where they’ll go, just that a trip will happen.
Fundraising begins later this month.
“We are praying for a Macedonian vision as we begin a new chapter that requires us to be open and flexible,” Jensen said.
This Faith Filter column was published in the Cary News on July 2015
Running through the foundation of the fastest growing nonprofit in our region is a rich history of generosity beyond measure.
Two of the founding mothers of Dorcas Ministries are still at work. Jeanette Evans and Bessie Baker helped launch Enrichment Kindergarten in 1968 as a way for impoverished families to care for their children. Back then, Baker provided transportation for the children.
“We stepped out in faith to do the right thing,” said Baker who is in her 46th year as a volunteer for Dorcas.
It wasn’t long before the volunteers realized the children also needed clothing. The idea for a thrift store was born and was given the name Dorcas as a Biblical reference to the woman who made clothing for people in need. The thrift store, located on High House Road in Cary, is now the primary revenue stream for the nonprofit, bringing in $1.1 million last year.
The annual Thanksgiving Breakfast, scheduled Nov. 13 at Preston Country Club, is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year.
Howard Manning, executive director of Dorcas Ministries, offered me a tour of the facility. As we traveled through the plaza building, Manning told stories about the nearly 15,000 Cary and Morrisville residents who found help last year through their outreach efforts.
Last summer a teacher who recently moved to the area with her 8-year-old daughter was at risk of being evicted from her apartment.
“She needed help to budget a 9-month salary to stretch over 12 months,” said Manning, 61, of Cary.
The first step was addressing the single mom’s immediate need – hunger pains in her daughter’s stomach. The teacher was given a cart to shop in the food pantry that is set up to replicate a grocery store. The shelves are kept full by local groups.
As a Cary resident, the teacher was eligible for housing assistance, which solved her secondary crisis and gave her time to meet with a volunteer from PNC to learn how to budget. Putting a prevention plan in place was the final step in addressing her need for stability.
Everyone who walks through the crisis doors at the Cary nonprofit receives a personal assessment from a trained volunteer who compassionately reviews their needs. Referrals are made to Jobs for Life, an eight-week intensive training for those in need of a job. If someone needs skills to be eligible for jobs, training is offered.
“It’s been the best thing to help people who are in need,” said Evans who is now the volunteer day manager on Mondays.
The continued success of the nonprofit comes from the faith-based volunteers who are from 32 active church partners and the community.
Gary McKinney was hooked on volunteering for Dorcas from the moment he started as an attendant 25 years ago.
“It’s great to see people regain the encouragement they had lost,” said McKinney, 66, of Cary.
Every inch of space is used at the 50,000-square-foot facility Dorcas Ministries owns. Even the roof is leased to Duke Energy for solar energy production.
“It’s a creative way to protect the environment and generate a revenue stream,” Manning said.
No stone is left unturned to bring in food to help the hungry. Fields are gleaned to bring in fresh produce. In October, the pantry had boxes of sweet potatoes and peppers.
The food recovery program extends to local businesses that bring in unsold food. C-Tran is hosting its second annual food drive Nov. 10 to 15, offering free transit rides in exchanged for food donations.
Items that are donated that can’t be easily sold in the thrift store may be recycled, including scrap metal. Ads are placed on the Dorcas eBay store for items that may have vintage or antique value.
The parking lot and grounds are turned into festivals and gospel sings for fundraising events. It’s all part of the vision for Dorcas to help people get beyond a crisis to become self-sufficient.
“We rely on guidance from above as we change and grow into what the community needs,” Manning said.
Faith Filter on Dorcas was published in The Cary News November 2014
Mike Edge was homeless for four years. He spent a few nights on a friend’s couch. He slept in his car. When he lost his car, he slept in the woods.
“On paper, I looked like a horrible human being,” said Edge, 35.
A work injury in 2004 started Edge’s downward spiral. A doctor prescribed drugs to ease his pain. “In a year, I was an addict, abusing drugs and in a comatose state, unable to meet the needs of my kids,” Edge said.
Child Protective Services removed his children in 2009.
“I wasn’t abusive,” said Edge, whose late wife committed suicide in 2012. “I just neglected my kids and became homeless at that point.”
The turning point for Edge came when he got help for his drug addiction at The Healing Place of Wake County. He met Amy at the center, and they got married after completing the program.
The couple was then referred to The Carying Place, a nonprofit in Cary that helps families in need. Edge and his wife moved into a transitional home in Cary.
“Holding those keys was a game-changer, and then getting help with budgeting money led to an apartment of our own,” said Edge, who regained custody of one of his children and maintains a relationship with his other three children.
Edge said relationships and connections helped him get back on his feet. Now he is the spokesman for The Carying Place and considers volunteering a way to give back to others.
“I am a fisher of men, showing others they can beat homelessness,” said Edge, referencing Bible verse Matthew 4:19.
The Carying Place staff and volunteers coordinate resources for families. The first step is placement into one of the group’s seven transitional homes in Cary. Once placed, the family has 16 weeks to find a permanent home.
Lyndsay Bui is the children’s program coordinator at The Carying Place. Her job is to help kids with stability, clothing and screening for therapeutic needs.
“The biggest challenge is finding affordable housing in Cary,” said Bui, 27, who lives in Holly Springs.
Bui turned to Project CATCH (Community Action Targeting Children who are Homeless) to find more resources.
CATCH is the only program in North Carolina that is designed to coordinate care for children without homes.
“We have to work together,” Bui said. “We can’t ignore the problem of homelessness.”
CATCH partners with 11 shelters in the area and several nonprofit groups. Referrals to the group are up 200 percent. CATCH also screens children to determine the extent of trauma and developmental delays.
“Children come to CATCH completely stressed out, often having been shuffled from one house, shelter, hotel to another for years,” said Jen Tisdale, coordinator for Project CATCH.
Each month, CATCH partners meet to share resources, discuss needs and hear a speaker from a new resource. The program is in the final days of a three-year grant from the John Rex Endowment and Smart Start.
The need for more support for homeless children is on the rise. Wake County schools reported that school children without a stable home rose by 9 percent from 2012 to 2013.
It takes more than a village to raise a homeless child – it takes dedicated people and programs like CATCH.
“We are looking for donations to keep ourselves going, new partners for services for children that we can bring into the shelter and anyone who can help us with a really great fundraiser so we can continue to help these lost children who would otherwise fall through the cracks,” Tisdale said.
Faith Filter Column published in The Cary News September 2014.
Dan Baker recognized the toddler bundled in a blanket with wisps of black hair on her tiny head from the adoption profile pictures.
“That’s ours! That’s ours!” Kristy Baker remembers her husband shouting with joy last October when the Cary couple traveled to China to finalize the adoption.
Kendal, the 20-month-old Chinese girl being cradled by one of her caregivers, was afraid of the man shouting in a different language than she was accustomed to hearing.
“To Kendal, we were white people with big noses and different hair from her,” said Kristy, 38, who has blonde hair. Dan, 40, is tall with dark hair.
As the couple held Kendal, they discovered she was sick with a high fever. Kendal wouldn’t eat when Dan was in the room. Despite the challenges, the family was overjoyed to finally meet her.
“It’s hard to explain the surge of love that grows when you adopt,” said Kristy, who worked as an accountant before becoming a full-time mother.
Kendal is the second girl the Bakers adopted from China. Four years ago, Dan and Kristy met Lily under similar circumstances.
“We always wanted to be parents and start a family this way,” said Kristy, who writes a blog about the adoption process that began in Texas and brought them to Cary three years ago.
The Bakers were high school sweethearts when they started planning for this Mother’s Day. Every step to adoption since the Bakers’ wedding 16 years ago was taken with great care. The couple read about adoption and studied countries with orphanages.
“We started the adoption process in 2007 when we saw the need in China to adopt girls,” said Kristy.
Prayers answeredIn 2010, the Bakers were still waiting to adopt a healthy Chinese girl under 1 year old. The couple prayed for clarity and felt prompted to let the orphanage know they would accept an older child who may have birth defects.
Three weeks later, the Bakers got a call about Liu Wen Li. The details on the 19-month-old girl were scarce. She lived in Henan, a province in east central China. The toddler liked to play with toys.
Liu Wen Li’s file also included four pictures with a medical note that she had a cleft palate, a birth defect that happens when the tissues in the roof of the mouth don’t form completely.
“It was very scary and nerve-racking to have limited information,” said Kristy. “It increased our faith, as we were seeking wise counsel, praying and trusting it would work out.”
Three months later, the couple was on their way to China to meet Liu Wen Li. It was a whirlwind trip to three cities to complete paperwork, passports and visa applications.
The Bakers settled on the name Lily to resemble her Chinese name. As Lily grew, so did the Bakers’ desire to adopt another child.
Adding a sisterThe adoption process had changed since their experience with Lily. The Bakers discovered Chineasy, a language book that makes learning Chinese easier by putting a picture around the word character.
“We enjoyed time at home working our way through flashcards and an e-book, and can pick out some of the written Chinese, which is a cool feeling,” Kristy wrote in her blog days before the trip to bring Kendal home.
Kristy’s mother, Terri Feiertag, and Lily, now 6, went on the trip to bring Kendal home. The girls are not related, except through adoption.
In addition to Lily meeting her adoptive sister, she was anxious to see the orphanage and the caretaker she called “Mama.”
The Bakers used a charity site to help raise money for some of the adoption costs that total more than $30,000. The estimates don’t include the expenses for last week’s surgery in Chicago for Kendal, who also has a cleft palate.
“This journey is longer and harder that I thought it would be, but it’s totally worth it,” said Kristy as she balanced Kendal on her hip, cradled with one arm while drawing Lily into a hug with the other arm.
Dan and Kristy built a support system through a small group at Northwest Community Church and found resources through Orphan Connections at Colonial Baptist.
Kristy’s parents moved from Illinois to a home in Holly Springs this past fall.
“Mom has been super helpful and is a great grandma,” Kristy said.
It is amazing to see the bond that can grow from generation to generation and across cultural differences.
This Mother’s Day will be special for both women.
“It’s neat to see Kristy be a good mother, always reading and learning,” Feiertag said. “And I love being able to watch the grandkids grow.”
Learn More about Orphan Connections.
Faith Filter column published in The Cary News May 2015.
Liza is the Faith Filter columnist for the Cary News. Her stories of faith and lives changed by trusting in God are published about four times a year.