The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be at the forefront of most people’s minds. It has affected nearly every aspect of our lives, from how we buy groceries to how we interact with other people to how much gasoline we burn in our cars to how we worship. The pandemic has also given prominence to a type of person we should honor every day, not just in a crisis. These people are called “heroes.”
The doctors, nurses, respiratory technicians, healthcare workers, EMTs, paramedics and other first responders are truly heroes. They are risking their own health and safety by working long, hard hours in less than ideal conditions to care for others. They are also risking caring the virus back home to their families. We should be forever grateful to these selfless heroes.
Many people are referring to grocery store (and other essential retail business) workers as heroes. While many stores are taking a variety of safety precautions to protect both workers and customers, these heroic people are still endangering their own health to make sure we can buy the food and supplies we need as we shelter in place.
All of us who are blessed to be a part of churches that are live-streaming (or using video technology in other ways) worship services should recognize our technical staff and volunteers as heroes. They are going above and beyond so we can still engage in group worship and Bible studies even while we are unable to go to worship in our church buildings.
There is another group of heroes you may not recognize. They are the faithful front-line staff at MBCH Children and Family Ministries whose jobs require them to interact with the children, youth and families in our care. This pandemic has made their ministries more difficult, more stressful and even more dangerous, but these heroes are committed to showing God’s love to help provide hope, healing and restoration to people who are hurting.
Most of the children and teens in our residential programs have come from hard places and are still learning how to respond appropriately to stressors. The effects of the previous trauma in their lives is compounded by the new traumas of changed routines, relatively close confinement to others who are also responding to stressors and the uncertainty with which we are all dealing.
Our social workers are finding ways to do home “visits” and provide support for foster families and foster children remotely. However, in many cases they still need to physically meet with the families and children, thus risking possible exposure. These social workers are also experiencing the trauma that comes from not being able to provide the “hands-on” support they believe is so crucial.
Even during a pandemic, children still come to us who need to be placed in a loving family. Finding the appropriate home is always challenging, but is doubly so during this tough time.
The stay-at-home orders have provided opportunities for some good things to happen. Our staff learned that an 18-year-old girl in our transitional living program had never learned how to ride a bicycle. So the staff and residents of that house have helped teach and encourage her as she tries to learn to ride. She hasn’t mastered it yet, but she is determined to keep trying. The staff at our Hutchens Campus in Mt. Vernon have been teaching kids how to fly kites! Many had never before experienced this type of activity.
And of course, the current circumstances have given our staff and Christian foster parents even more opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with our kids. They are able to use this pandemic to talk about a peace that comes only from knowing Jesus as savior and Lord. They have more time to answer difficult questions that that our children and teens have.
As someone who is able to continue doing his job in the safe confines of an office, the dedicated staff members who are the “first responders” for children and families are truly heroic to me.
The faithful people in our Missouri Baptist churches are also heroes. You have continued to pray for our kids, staff and ministries. And even during these difficult times, you are finding ways to be faithful in your giving to support our ministries. Many are selflessly sacrificing to help children who are hurting. They are impacting the lives of children for eternity through their gifts. I think this is the definition of a true hero.
Thank you to all the heroes who walk among us.