This is Oneida: Striving together to reach broken kids

By Larry Gritton

Published: October 1, 2019

For each new school year, I like to give our faculty and staff a theme. Our theme for the 2019-20 school year is "Serving Side by Side." We are called to serve the Lord, our students and each other. Before sharing this theme with our staff, I did a little research on some corporations that have been tremendously successful in the service industry. It is amazing how phrases like "please," "thank you" and "my pleasure" can make such a difference.

Larry Gritton

Our staff tirelessly works together as we strive to meet the needs of our young people. All OBI staff members have a critical role to play in our ministry and together we can move mountains. Many of our students need mountains moved, but most simply need someone to love and invest in them.

"Charlie" is one of our young men who desperately needs our staff to strive together to help him turn his life around. He arrived here very angry and broken. Broken homes often lead to broken children.

Charlie desperately needs Jesus, but he doesn't know it. He desperately needs the love of our staff, but he doesn't know it. Our staff, with the Lord's grace and strength, will work to repair this young man and heal his wounds. Ironically, Charlie does not want our help or love. He's fighting us. He's fighting our structure. He's fighting himself. He's fighting the Lord. Would you pray for Charlie and our staff as they seek to break down his barriers and hard exterior? Charlie might make it here, but he may not. I certainly hope I am one day sharing a success story of the transformation that took place in his life.

Submitted photo

Vicky Filiareau, Oneida's International Admissions Director, talks with an international student at the school's recent international Student Tea which welcomed students at the beginning of the school year.

Charlie isn't the only youngster struggling on our campus in this early part of our school year. Many of our kids have such a sense of rejection. Recently in chapel, our campus minister asked our adopted students to please stand. Not counting those who are adopted who didn't stand out of fear of embarrassment, about one-third of our students stood. Those living with a step-parent, grandparent, or some other guardian were then asked to stand. At that point, about half of our students were standing. Again, lots of brokenness pervades our little campus. However, the good news is that there is hope in Jesus and He is front and center on this campus.

We continue striving together as we serve side by side. Thank you, Kentucky Baptists, for helping us to reach Charlie and many other broken kids. You are partners with us in all we do and for that we are grateful.

Larry Gritton is president of Oneida Baptist Institute in Oneida, Ky.