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Don't miss the opportunity to change a life forever

“Nothing is worse than missing an opportunity that could change a life.”

As I ponder these words, I am taken back to the groundbreaking ceremony on the Mills Home campus in June 2016. Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) was again expanding its state-wide outreach through The Bob and Carolyn Tucker Greater Vision Outreach Ministry Center. Bob and Carolyn have an amazing rich history of putting action to their faith. Through their commitment to give back, they have significantly impacted Kingdom building.

The Tucker family made an initial commitment of $1 million dollars to birth the dream of this new outreach into a reality. The groundbreaking ceremony marked the beginning of construction of the Center’s new home.

Near the conclusion of the program, BCH president/CEO Dr. Michael C. Blackwell asked Bob Tucker if he would like to share any words. Rising to the microphone, Mr. Tucker shocked all in attendance when he made an impromptu announcement: “I will in addition match everything you raise up to a half million dollars.”

The crowd rose to their feet in appreciation of the founder of Shoe Show for this generous and bold gesture.

Mr. Tucker went on humbly sharing from his heart that his commitment and purpose behind the additional support grew from an experience he and Carolyn had during a trip to New York years earlier.

“There was an old man with a beard outside of our hotel,” Bob recalled. “I walked over and handed him $10. I always wondered if I had given him enough. I had that same feeling today when I arrived. I wanted to do more.”

And he did!

This past year, The Bob and Carolyn Tucker Greater Vision Outreach Ministry Center impacted 71,946 people.

“Nothing is worse than missing an opportunity that could change a life.”

Scripture reminds us of the many opportunities all around us. Clearly, we are challenged to help change a life.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” – Matthew 25:35-36 (NIV)

What if Bob and Carolyn had missed this opportunity? Thousands would have gone hungry. Hundreds of children would not have the clothes and school supplies they needed. Families would not have received the counseling they needed to begin the journey toward self-sufficiency. But even more important than their physical needs, they would not have experienced the Gospel of Matthew lived out in their lives.

Hallie Pegram was 103 years old during this visit. I had enjoyed many special visits with Hallie over the years. (Only recently did she pass at age 106.) As we visited that day, I could tell she had something she wanted to share with me. She had met with her financial advisor who had shared with her that she was going to need to discontinue her support to BCH. But she looked at me with heartfelt compassion and declared, “I cannot quit giving to my Children’s Home.”

(Understand as I share Hallie’s story, I am not advising you to disregard the advice of a financial advisor. I only want to convey Hallie’s heart and commitment to help others.)

Hallie continued to send her gifts of love. This past week, I received confirmation Hallie had included us in her last will and testament. What if Hallie had missed the opportunity to change a life? Thousands upon thousands of children over the years would not have found a safe place where they could experience hope and healing. They would not have experienced the Gospel of Matthew lived out in their lives.

“Nothing is worse than missing an opportunity that could change a life.”

God recently gave me the opportunity to visit a dear lady who began to share with me why she no longer attended church. She talked about a very lonely time in her life following the death of her husband. Her church was there in the beginning and then in her words “forgot about me.” Our North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry (NCBAM) encounters hundreds of calls each month from frail aging who are lost in their loneliness –– thinking no one cares. When these calls come, we are able to connect them with compassionate caring people.

Last year, one of our NCBAM volunteers began to visit an 80-year-old lady who was very lonely and needed transportation. After a few months of visiting, the volunteer began to share how her faith had changed her life. This precious lady who had felt hopeless asked Jesus into her heart. A life was changed!

What if our NCBAM ministry was a missed opportunity? What if Dr. Blackwell had not had the vision to partner with the Baptist State Convention to care for the needs of the aging across the state. Last year, 8,518 senior adults in need would not have experienced the Gospel of Matthew lived out in their lives.

“Nothing is worse than missing an opportunity that could change a life.”

There are many opportunities to change lives all around us. I pray they will not be missed opportunities, for me or for you. In following God’s direction to care for the “least of these,” not only is the life of the one receiving the cup of water changed, our lives are changed.

There are so many needs! I invite you to follow the example of these faithful and don’t let those whose lives you can touch be missed opportunities!

Leave a legacy through planned giving. Visit www.bchlegacy.org.

Article Written by Brenda B. Gray, Executive Vice President, Development & Communications


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204 Idol Street  |  P.O. Box 338  |  Thomasville, NC 27360  |  1.800.476.3669  |  www.bchfamily.org

Accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Children & Family Services. In 2015, Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina was reaccredited receiving perfect ratings on 96% of the 1,000 standards that were evaluated.

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