A Living Sacrifice

Sometimes you really get to see God’s hand at work in your life. Sometimes you get to meet people who energize you. Sometimes you get both in one day.

Such was the day that Megan Schultz came to visit. Megan is a reporter for KOMU News. She was assigned a beat called “What’s Working in Mid-Missouri?” Through her own exploration, she chose to dig into Coyote Hill. Megan came to visit on a typical summer Friday afternoon. After she interviewed me about all the “in and outs” of Coyote Hill, we went down to visit with Michael & Kayla Kauffman in The Wright Home. Michael & Kayla were both interviewed about their job at Coyote Hill and the experiences they had. It was all things I had heard before and knew. What I didn’t know was how much it was impacting Megan.

After the feature ran on KOMU, she wrote a blog post about her time at Coyote Hill. You can read the whole post here. For me, the best part of Megan’s visit wasn’t necessarily that we got a spot on the nightly news. It was the fact that she “got it.” Megan looked at Coyote Hill through the lens of faith. When the Home Parents and I discussed why we work here, and why we are building another home; Megan understood the reason behind it. She understood that every single person here is motivated by their belief in Christ and that we are called to work here. We are called to present ourselves as a living sacrifice to the Lord (Romans 12:1). We are called to love God’s children…and we do. We really really do!

Here are some of the things Megan shared about her experience at Coyote Hill:

This wasn’t an organization. These were people living their every day lives. These were people living in humbleness, people living in generosity, people living in love.

People living in the Spirit.

I saw couples surrendering their first years of marriage to be “house parents” to as many as eight foster children at a time, not including their own children. It’s not that they wanted to “have” more than eight children in such a short amount of time, it’s that they felt called to do so. Every minute of every day is filled with caring for these children who have stories of abuse and neglect that would shatter anyone’s heart.

And these children are high-demand. They need extra love and attention, having experienced extreme hurt at such a young age. Many are behind in school, many need counseling, and many just need to know there will be food on the table and a place to sleep every night, no matter what happened that day.

What a life of surrender.

I have to brag on our Home Parents now, because they truly are some of the greatest examples of how a Christian’s life is transformed by the gospel. In the book, “What’s so Great about the Doctrines of Grace,” Richard D. Phillips sums up why Christians decided to serve in this way:

Those who see The Lord in His sovereign glory have an inward compulsion to serve this God.
Serving God is the glory of their lives.
Their service is measured not so much in what they achieve — or what God achieves through them — but rather in the sheer wonder of the God they serve.

I am happy everyday to come to work to be a part of the ministry of Coyote Hill. It is evident that this is not a job to our Home Parents (or any of our staff), but rather a joy. In the homes, where life is busy and constant, this joyful service to the Lord is played out.

The biggest thing I noticed, however, was the way these parents disciplined. They did it with sternness, but also with an incredible amount of sympathy and explanation. They explained why a kid was in trouble, but more importantly, that God still loved him or her despite the mistake. This is something many of the kids hadn’t received before. In their previous circumstances, they would be scolded and sometimes abused as a result of their mistake, not knowing why what they did was wrong.

While my heart ached for the children and their devastating stories, my mind tried to grasp the sincerity of these house parents.  And yet it couldn’t. On my way home from my first trip there, I asked God how he could make such genuine people. I still have no answer.

Be open to answering God’s call for your life. It’ll make all the difference.

If my legacy in my entire life amounts to half of these people’s on a daily basis, I would be satisfied.

“Here I am. Send me!” — Isaiah 6:8