Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 24, 1949

Dependent Children

Homer Hailey, Abilene, Texas

(Editor's note: Some of our readers may recognize this article as one they have seen in some other religious journal. Ordinarily it is contrary to our policy to publish an article which has already been published in a paper with circulation comparable to our own, but in this instance we feel that the subject discussed is of such importance, and the work being done at Maude Carpenter Children's Home is so worthy, that we gladly make an exception.)

In the Bible there is the gripping account of a prophet, who, in order to teach King Ahab a lesson disguised himself as one injured in the battle. He approached the king and said, "Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver. And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone." (I Kings 20:39, 40.) What a description in many ways, of the church today! Entrusted with responsibility to meet certain obligations; a charge to keep; but so often "busy here and there," the prisoner is gone.

Surely it is not hardness of heart or pure indifference that causes the Lord's people to neglect their obligation to suffering humanity—specially the cries of little children! It must be thoughtlessness, a disposition to put off till tomorrow that which should be done today. Just "busy here and there" till the child is cared for by some secular organization to grow up in unbelief, or dead, or thrown on the world to rustle for itself—a "sink or swim" proposition. Oft times our intention is good: "I must help out there sometime." But the old adage, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions," still contains a lot of truth. We sit idly by till sooner or later we are awakened from our lethargy by the heart-rending cry, "Too late! Too late!"

For the past week I have been in Wichita, Kansas, with an opportunity to observe first hand a work that has thrilled my soul: the work being done by the churches in and about Wichita in the Maude Carpenter Children's Home. The home is located on forty acres of good land a mile and a half from the city limits. Here thirty-four children more than an orphanage; they find a Christian home, conducted in a Christian and home-like atmosphere. The physical property consists of a good brick building that makes up the living quarters and office of the home. And though the home is now more than a year old, it is as spotless and unmarked and unmarred as if the children have moved into it yesterday. Besides this building, there is a small dwelling where lives the farm supervisor, who looks after the farm and helps with the boys of the home. There is also a modern dairy barn and herd that has been given an A-1 rating by the State Dairy Inspector. A chicken house, implement shed, and pig pen and shed complete the physical equipment.

The thing that impressed me most was not the equipment, but the children: their neatness and good behavior.

As the bus brought them in to church services each night, the children would appear clean and fresh, with their hair combed neatly and they would then sit quietly and attentively to the services. Their good behavior would put to shame that of the vast majority of our own children-mine and yours. These children are being taken from ruined homes and reclaimed, transformed into the image of God, to become men and women who will be a credit to the church and to the nation. In this, everyone will rejoice.

However, here is where you and I come in. G. K. Wallace assisted by the elders of the Riverside congregation as helpers, is working day and night, as superintendent of the home to keep it operating. Its weight lies heavily upon his heart and shoulders. It is his constant concern. He needs help, help that you and I can give him. He will not cry to you about it; but I am going to cry for him—cry to your very heart to help him bear the load.

The building has been made possible by the gift of a good Christian woman; but what the home needs just now is monthly contributions to keep it going. Those who work for the home, work on extremely small salaries; one wonders how they can do it. If you have one or two children you know something of what it costs to keep them. Imagine what the cost is to keep nearly forty children!

You may reason: I had nothing to do with the creation of the home, it is not my problem. But it is our problem. Every Christian is obligated to do his part in good works. "And let our people also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful," was Paul's admonition to Titus. (3:14.) Reclaiming children and the souls of adults is the job for all of us. Each is his brother's keeper. Or, you may say, Why do not the Kansas churches do it? The churches in Kansas, in the main, have been under the influence of Sommer's teaching for generations, opposing the doing of work of this nature. The best way to convert these congregations to do good is by showing them the way; give them an example of what should and can be done. The churches in Kansas have come a long way during the past twenty years; and they will continue to make progress during the next twenty; but the need for help is NOW. The present generation and its destiny, like the prisoner of the prophet's parable, is in our hands. The plea, "busy here and there," will be no excuse before our Lord; the job at hand must be discharged. How many congregations are wasting enough money on useless weekly bulletins, Sunday bouquets of flowers, and other needless expenditures to make worth-while contributions to the needs of these children!

Brethren, in the name of him who took little children in his arms and blessed them, let us do what we can today to build these children of unfortunate homes into the right kind of men and women; for tomorrow they will fill the ranks of the church, or the ranks of its enemies, depending on what we do for them today.

Communicate with G. K. Wallace, Lock box 844, Wichita, Kansas. Invite him to come to the church in your community and tell you about the home, bringing pictures of it and its work. If you cannot visit the home, this will be the thing next best. He, with his pictures, can make you feel you have seen for yourself. Do not procrastinate till the prisoner is gone—act today!