Friendship in Action

by Elissa Farley (housemom)

This lesson comes from Jesus, to bear one another burdens (Galatians 6:2), encourage one another (Hebrews 10:25) & love one another (John 13:34).


When Jason and I moved from Colorado to become houseparents at NMBCH, we knew we would have to sacrifice and serve not only the cottage boys but our kids as well. Little did I realize how much our boys, Damian and Grayson, would be part of this ministry. We knew we wanted to teach them to love others and be kind to everyone we had in our home. We also wanted to teach them that how they treat one another as brothers would be an example to the others, just like mom and dad were being an example.


Grayson, being one when we moved, put himself right in the midst of the cottage boys. He adapted to be just as loud and vocal as the rest of them. I watched as they accepted Grayson's playful hugs and laughed at him throwing food at the dinner table. They loved when I brought him to their games and ceremonies—often wanting to hold him after to show him off to their friends. "It gives you credit with the ladies if you're good with kids," I'd jokingly tell them. To some boys, it took a bit longer to get used to the baby crying and attention he got. It wasn't easy to adapt for all of them; however, now, Grayson is known as the "little bro" of Grant Cottage. Whenever we are not working, Grayson wants to know when the "big kids" will be back so he can play with them.


Similarly, and I dare to say even more, Damian has embraced this change in the sweetest ways. At first, he (age 4) struggled to connect with anyone and didn't know if he wanted to play with anyone but his brother. Four months into our ministry, a boy close to his age came to live in our cottage. Before he arrived, I let Damian know he could help me by making this little boy feel like he had a friend. Without missing a beat, the boy came in, and Damian said, "Come on, let's go play; my name's Damian." From that moment forward, I've seen him grow in friendship for many that came through our door. His bedtime prayers include asking God to keep bad dreams away and thanking God for his friends. He has also faced challenges. He has had to say goodbye to the friends he has made. The first time a friend went home, we grieved as a family as Damian learned that this ministry isn't easy or simple. Despite the lows, Damian has continued to be a kind and honest friend to others.


One of my favorite moments with Damian and the boys happened recently. On a stormy night, our cottage lost all power for the first time in 3 years. The boys were in awe of the emergency lights, but they were not enough to comfort Damian's friend enough to go to sleep. Jason tried comforting him as he cried on his bedroom floor; Damian peeked in and ran to his room. I followed, hoping he wasn't scared, too, only to find him frantically looking for a flashlight. I told him I could help him find it in a second. To which he looked at me, "Mom, it's not for me, it's for him." He found his camping light and ran past me to give it to his friend. We watched as he shared something that often comforts him at night with his friend. At that moment, I felt like I was watching him think of someone's needs above his own. This is not the first time I've seen him do this, but moments like this help me grow in this ministry.


God is teaching my children in this ministry, too. My boys are learning lessons together that they will carry with them for a lifetime. 

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