On Friday, September 23, I received word that Mrs. Pauline Sherman, a former child care worker had passed away at the age of 98. Mrs. Sherman was at Missouri Baptist Children’s Home when I first came to the agency in 1977. She retired in 1978 after completing ten years of employment. News of her death caused me to reflect back on her and the many others like her who served God here at MBCH those many years ago and to remember what they meant to not only the agency but to me personally as well.
At that time, we had two women who served as a team and provided the daily care for the children, somewhat similar to what we do now. What made it somewhat unique, though, is the fact that the vast majority of these were widows of ministers. The husbands of these women had served the Lord faithfully, but the churches and ministries in which they served had not provided for retirement. Also, many of them pastored small churches and lived in parsonages. When the husband died and the church called a new pastor, the widow had to vacate and she had no place to go. Some of them came to MBCH and served as child care workers. MBCH gave them a modest salary plus an allowance for maintenance, which included a room and a shared bath on the third floor of the Blake Administration Building to live in when off duty.
These women were grateful to have a place to serve as they really loved the Lord and wanted to continue in ministering to others, while at the same time providing some much needed love and care to children who so desperately needed it.
Many of them went out of their way to not only minister to the children in care, but to the other staff and each other as well. I would like to share one particular time when Mrs. Sherman went out of her way to minister to my family. When my wife and I along with our three young sons came to St. Louis to look for a house after taking the job here at MBCH, the administrator (we would now call this person the president) said it was impossible to really look for a house with three young boys in tow, so he offered to have some of the child care workers watch them for us. The two older boys were fine with staying here and playing on the playground, but our youngest was two at the time and did not want to be left. He was rather unhappy and was exhibiting his displeasure, so Mrs. Sherman took it upon herself to provide some one-on-one with him and used her grandmotherly skills to comfort him and calm him down, to the point he really enjoyed his time with her. It was probably a small and natural thing for her to do, but it meant so much to us.
There are many stories that could be told, but the point I want to make is that these women were saints and not only touched the lives of the children they served, but the staff as well. Their faithfulness in serving, even when some of them were in dire financial straits and times were tough, was an inspiration to us all. Their testimonies of how God had met their needs in so many ways encouraged us “young staff” to trust God, in both the good times and the not so good times.
Although the services over the years have changed and the people on staff who serve have changed, we continue to be blessed with a staff who feel called of God to serve Him here and are daily making a positive impact not only in the lives of children and families, but also in the lives of co-workers.
The Messenger this time has a focus on adoption. We also are in need of foster parents. Foster and adoptive families have a tremendous influence and impact on the lives of children and are just as important and critical to our work as our employees who work on a campus or out of an office location. Please read the different articles and pray for God to reveal how He would have you respond.
Not everyone can be a staff member at MBCH. Not everyone can be an adoptive or foster parent. But everyone can pray for those who are and pray for God to reveal to others His will for them in this area. Others may want to provide support for a foster or adoptive family. Others may want to contribute $1,000 to support the licensing maintenance of a foster home for one year so that home can continue to provide foster care to children. There are many ways to be involved in the lives of children and families.
As always, thank you for joining hands with us in our ministry to allow us to serve God by responding to the needs of children, youth, and families to make a lasting difference in their lives.
MBCH Children and Familiy Ministries