BCH’s Blackwell highlights triumphs over tragedies
    November 17 2014 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor

    Messengers have a hard time not crying each time the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH) has a presentation at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s annual meeting.
    Filled with music and praise, the Nov. 10 presentation by BCH to the messengers at the meeting was no different. Sharing a story of one of the developmentally disabled adults, Michael C. Blackwell, BCH president, highlighted the story of Sedric, who lives in Stegall Home in Marshville, one of nine homes for special needs adults.
    Sedric, who turns 28 on Nov. 22, was beaten and burned at age 4 resulting in a traumatic brain injury and confinement to a wheelchair.
    “He was starved every day,” said Blackwell. “He slept on the floor. He wore the same dirty clothes to school every day.”
    Teachers would bathe him at the school and change his clothes, but before he went home for the day, they had to change him into his dirty clothes. They knew the punishment he would suffer at home.


    BSC photo by K. Brown
    Sedric (in yellow shirt), with some help, stands on stage Nov. 10 during the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina annual meeting with fellow residents of Stegall Home in Marshville. Stegall Home is one of nine homes for special needs adults operated by Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina. While staying at BCH, Sedric has undergone surgery on both legs which has enabled him to walk. He walks about 200 feet a day now with the help of physical therapists and other assistance.


    “He wasn’t even allowed to use his wheelchair at home,” Blackwell said. “It stayed firmly fixed on the front porch, and Sedric had to scoot around on the floor.”
    A resident with Baptist Children’s Homes for seven years, Sedric received a surgery that required his legs be in casts for three months.
    “Today, with pure determination and with great assistance, he walks maybe 200 feet a day with assistance of caregivers and physical therapists … the first steps he’s taken in 20 years,” Blackwell said.
    Sedric was among 225 residents and staff members who participated in the BCH “Rise Up” presentation to messengers.
    “One of these days … I won’t need this wheelchair no more,” Sedric shared. “One day I’ll be in heaven walking the streets of gold with a new body … new legs.”
    Since becoming BCH president in 1983, Blackwell has spoken in all 100 counties of North Carolina.
    “We have been honored … trusted and loved and respected for 129 years,” Blackwell said. “We are in 19 North Carolina communities and now have five babies in our new orphanage in Guatemala.
    “We seek first to honor God by serving His children. All the children you’ve seen tonight … have one thing in common: that is trauma. Behind every face there is distress.”
    He stressed the need for more financial support than ever. That’s why BCH had 1,328 speaking engagements last year.
    He encouraged churches to take a Thanksgiving Offering or to put BCH in the church budget.
    One of the featured people during the Thanksgiving Offering emphasis “Redeemed” is an alumnus from Mills Home in Thomasville.
    “As a young boy I didn’t have any hope,” said Joe Knight. “My days were filled with fear, hunger and inferiority. My nights were filled with nightmares … I know and have experienced firsthand what it’s like to go to bed hungry, cold and afraid.”
    Knight was less than two years old when his father abandoned his mother and five other children. That led to hopelessness and ultimately to deep depression.
    “Some of my earliest memories of my mother is her sitting and crying for hours on end,” Knight said. “By God’s grace and your generosity my family was rescued by the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina.
    “Hope came in the form of Christian love and care. With plenty of food to eat, nice clean clothes to wear and all the things that any young boy would need we had. Through Christian counseling and love I was led to Christ and I was baptized in Mills Home Baptist Church when I was 11 years old.”
    While the Thanksgiving Offering emphasis was Nov. 16-23, churches can donate to BCH at any time or participate in work days or collections of food for the April Roundup.
    BCH’s presentation was peppered throughout with music. The Porters, a Southern gospel group, began the presentation while children and adults poured in from the back of the meeting hall with colorful T-shirts and balloons.
    The Porters is made up of a husband and wife (Will and Betty) who have been house parents for more than 25 years. The group includes their son, Shawn.
    Some of the children sang “Jesus Loves Me,” and Adam Saunders, a house parent for more than 20 years and co-chair of the presentation, sang “When I Think About the Lord” with Roberta Brunck, also a featured alumna for the BCH Thanksgiving Offering. They were joined by Vertical Generation, a youth choir from Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem who provided the main music for the evening session during the BSC annual meeting.
    Visit bchfamily.org.

    11/17/2014 2:49:35 PM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor | with 0 comments
    Filed under: Baptist Children's Home, BSC, Michael Blackwell

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