In August of 2013, Autumn and her siblings had nowhere to turn after their mother was diagnosed with a severe illness and could no longer care for herself or her children. In this devastating circumstance, Autumn’s family learned about Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC), applied and was accepted to live on campus. It was at OBHC, Autumn and her siblings found a place that could provide hope, even after their mom lost her fight to the illness in 2014.
Nearly six years later, Autumn enjoys calling OBHC home. “Everyone at my house calls me mom,” Autumn says with a laugh. “It’s because I love caring for others. I want to help my friends and family and be strong for them…” — a strength she has been forced to accept through hardship. Through devotion times, church events, watching others love well and live through hurts, Autumn has had the opportunity to grow in a deep relationship with Christ and understand who He is. “The biggest change in my life is coming to know Christ. I’ve become a better person, I’m more tolerant of others and I’m not as selfish as I used to be. Things began falling into place at a leadership weekend event.” Through the speaker, friends and time devoted to growing deeper, I found that in Jesus you can be yourself. You don’t have to hide or be fake. Once I learned how Jesus loved me, I began to change from the inside out.”
It has been a life-changing five years at OBHC for Autumn. She is known around campus for her bubbly personality and caring nature. She loves to talk, mentor others and she has a desire to help those around her find out more about themselves and Jesus. Autumn is involved in the Triple C Leadership program, leadership retreats and Back-to-School Style Shows. “This place has been so good for me and my siblings. I hope I can leave a legacy of kindness through my example. Even though we experience setbacks, there is always room for things to get better. You never know where it will come from, but God does. We can trust God because He has a plan to help.”
“I had reached a point where I didn’t want to keep going, but my relationships at OBHC helped me see that my story had a purpose and God was going to turn it into something big.”
Autumn says she is seeking more every day what God has planned for her life, but for now, she is very adamant about one thing — helping others. “If I ever meet someone who has troubles, I know I can help them because I’ve been through so much. Everything happens for a reason, but it doesn’t mean the rest of your life is going to be bad. I know the enemy just tries to get me to give up, but there is no reason for anyone to ever give up. You should look at your story and see how far you’ve come and that will help you decide to keep going.” Autumn credits the staff and houseparents, past and present, for pouring into her life without hesitation. The encouragement and love she has received while living at OBHC has made a lasting impact on her life. “There are people who have supported me when I had no one who could. People who give and serve through OBHC are so gracious and are making a huge difference in the life of someone who has been through so much.”
One of Autumn's favorite verses has been John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” “God has used this verse to show me that no matter what darkness is surrounding me, it will not overtake me because Jesus is the light. I want to have God shine through me and in me in the good times and bad.”
Autumn’s story of hope is not finished. She has dreams and goals. She plans to finish high school and go on to graduate from college, something no one else in her family has done. She loves serving, learning, and being a friend to the friendless. “One day I would love to go on a mission trip out of the country to see what others lives are like. I think the more hope we give people the better the world will be.”