Chitwoods appeal for orphan care at Ky. WMU meeting
FRANKFORT, Ky. (BP) -- Each Sunday, Michelle Chitwood leaves her husband and children (an adopted daughter, a foster daughter and their older brother and sister, the Chitwoods' biological children), picks up an order of Chicken McNuggets and fries, and spends the afternoon at the Maryhurst residential facility in Louisville for children in crisis.
Her mission: to visit D*, the sister of the Chitwoods' foster daughter L* -- part of the foster care/adoption journey she and her husband Paul, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, began years ago.
"When I get there on Sunday, the workers tell me and her how lucky she is to have someone visit her," Chitwood said during the Kentucky WMU annual meeting April 6 in a session titled "Rise Up and Shine for Kentucky Kids."
Out of the hundreds of children who live at Maryhurst, only five or six get a visit on Sunday, Chitwood said.
"I had no idea that 20 miles down the road there were children sitting in the institutional home setting that never get a visit from anyone," she said with tears in her eyes.
After recounting some of D's story, Chitwood added that Maryhurst is "not a fun place to go to. It takes up my time, but then I remember, she needs to know that she's not forgotten."
Chitwood emphasized the importance of Christians stepping up to do orphan care, saying that if D could have been placed in a Christian foster home when "all her struggles started, she would not be institutionalized today."
D is in an institution because "we don't have Christian families who are stepping up and doing what they are supposed to do, which is taking care of the most vulnerable around us," Chitwood said.
"As a nation, we think that our goal in life is to be comfortable. We've bought into that fake reality that says, 'You're really succeeding if you're comfortable, if you get to do what you want to do all the time,'" Chitwood said. "As a society, we don't have time for the broken. We want comfortable and we want easy. Because of that, we have kids that are so broken that I don't know that they will ever be fixed. We need Christians to stand up ... and take that challenge on."
One way Chitwood suggested Baptists can help is just going and visiting institutionalized children.
"I think the church has let these kids down," she said. "I think we could change Kentucky if everyone in this room would take part."
Paul Chitwood continued by recalling a time that D came to their home to visit. "Do you know why I'm glad L is here?" D asked, catching him "off guard."
"No, honey," he responded. "Why are you glad L is here?"
"I'm glad L is here because she has a daddy, and she's never had a daddy."
"As I thought about this older sister who lives in an institution celebrating the fact her little sister has a daddy, it touched me deeply. She is happy that her little sister has what she does not have," Chitwood said.
"Every little boy and every little girl needs a daddy. Every little boy and every little girl needs a mommy," he said. "They need to know that there is someone who is for them, someone who loves them, someone who will protect them, teach them and guide them. We all need that."
Addressing those in the audience who are part of a church that gives to the Cooperative Program, Chitwood said, "What I want to say is, thank you for blessing my family and my home. We are able to love her and care for her because you help us do that" through the ministry of Sunrise Children's Services, an affiliate of the Kentucky convention.
Chitwood encouraged Kentucky WMU to be involved in orphan care at any cost, even if eventually having to see a child go to another foster home would hurt. "We'll get through [the pain] because we're not orphans -- at least not now -- because an eternal Father believed in and practiced orphan care," he said.
"He's called me and you to do the same. Might we 'Rise and Shine' for the orphans in Kentucky," Chitwood concluded.
*Names changed for security.
WMU prayerwalks, sings 'Amazing Grace' at Ky. capitol
By Myriah Snyder/Western Recorder
FRANKFORT, Ky. (BP) -- Members of the Kentucky WMU flooded the rotunda of the Kentucky statehouse, hosted in part by Steve Weaver, the Kentucky Baptist Convention's Capitol Commission chaplain, during their annual meeting in Frankfort on April 6.
State Treasurer Allison Ball, the youngest elected female politician in the state of Kentucky and a former WMU Girls in Action participant, spoke and emphasized the importance and power of prayer.
"I actually think that there's something providential about you being here, today, right now. I have the growing sense that it's more important than ever right now for us to be in prayer for our state," Ball said, noting that she didn't realize that the ladies were gathered for a prayer rally until after she already felt led to speak about the subject.
"Look for a moment where we're at," Ball said. "This is the place of power and authority here in our state. Things happen out of this city. We know from Scripture that there is always spiritual warfare. It is critically important that we are here, praying for what is happening in this city."
Hundreds lifted up their voices in the rotunda to the hymn "Amazing Grace" as others in the building not connected to WMU stopped to listen.
The rally was followed by a prayerwalk through the capitol, where groups stopped outside the offices of the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state as well as the Supreme Court, House of Representatives and Senate to voice prayer for the state's leaders to make wise decisions.
Weaver described his ministry, which is partly funded by the Eliza Broadus Offering for State Missions, as "ministering to the spiritual needs of all those who work in the state capitol." Noting "the prayerful support of the WMU, he said thank you "for the difference you're making."