The Barley House

By Pastor Mark Patredis

Last year on Halloween night, Marcia Adams sent me a text inquiring if one of BFC’s “crisis homes” was available for a family in need. She had met Nick and Michelle, whose first child, Isaiah, was born with significant health challenges and had spent the past 6 months in the NICU at Children’s Hospital. Isaiah had been transferred to the Bethany Children’s Hospital and his parents would be spending several hours each day for the next few weeks, learning how to care for their son when he was able to go home. The demand of that training schedule made it virtually impossible for them to travel daily to and from their home in Enid. And the past 6 months of hospital visits had taken an emotional, physical, and financial toll on this couple. For the past 15+ years, BFC has owned a small home that has provided a safe haven for individuals/families who have immediate need for short-term housing. Referrals often come from BFC attenders or contacts in the community. Priority is given to families with children who need to get back on their feet, or a single parent who might need to escape an unsafe environment. Our residents are encouraged to attend BFC and our Celebrate Recovery program. Additionally, they are committed to, and assisted with, locating community resources, seeking employment if needed, planning a budget, etc.

 Just days before Marcia’s call, the last residents had been able to find employment and move into their own apartment. But the house had not yet been “made ready” for the next occupant. In fact, the cumulative effect of back-to-back tenants was evident to Marcia and her friend Kathy Evans when they met at the house the next day. Kathy had been attending her Discovering Your Strengths class on Wednesday nights, and had just been talking to the Lord about laying aside her own desire, to do His will. Kathy said, “I asked that He open my ears and give me a watchful eye to how He might use me.” So when she received a text from Marcia about this opportunity to serve, “immediately and joyfully, I knew God had ordained this.”

 Marcia and Kathy spread the word, and an army of volunteers responded. After a full day and late night of girls’ scrubbing every surface of the house, they knew everything was “squeaky clean.” But the house’s “tired” appearance needed major sprucing up. So the next day, Doug Adams’ maintenance staff laid aside their daily demands, and repainted the inside of the house. Volunteers then provided a make-over, giving special attention to the kitchen and bathroom. However, there were minimal furnishings in the home. So the call went out again for any items that could make this house a place of warmth. The need seemed overwhelming, but God reminded Kathy that Jesus fed 5,000 with 2 fish and 5 barley loaves. “He reminded us who He was and His authority to bless us abundantly.” God opened the floodgates of perfectly-timed donations—couch, loveseat, leather chair, queen beds/bedding, lamps, side tables, wall art and so much more. In less than 72 hours, the atmosphere of the home had been transformed, and a group of folks “living generously” had created an inviting refuge for its next residents. God had taken our “barley loaves” and multiplied them for His purposes. In fact, maybe the house needs a new name: THE BARLEY HOUSE—a name that reflects hope for all who enter here. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nick and Michelle didn’t smell a miraculous scent of fresh-baked bread when they came through the door!

 “I AM the Bread of Life.” All praise and glory to His name!