Working with the kids at OCC over the years has taught me a few things. First, the more a child is encouraged and made to know that he or she is supported and loved, the more that child will thrive. I had an idea several months ago to start an organization at Rollins College that connects our OCC participants with Rollins students and staff through letter writing. The purpose was simply to provide more opportunities for our kids to feel important and cared for on a weekly basis. The more our children are constantly aware of the concern of others for them, the more confident and sure of themselves they feel and the more receptive they are to the gospel.
The second thing I’ve learned is to never underestimate the power of a simple action. God can use the smallest deed to show someone His love. Currently, about 30 elementary-aged OCC participants have Rollins pen pals, whom they receive letters from on a consistent basis. This simple sentiment of care can truly brighten a child’s outlook and provide them with a new and positive perspective. I am consistently surprised by how much our kids respond to these notes of encouragement. Every week, they run up to me with a huge smile, asking if there is a letter waiting for them. It works the other way too. The Rollins students and staff involved in this program are blessed on a weekly basis by the resilience and joy of our children.
In a lot of ways OCC is about acting on God’s call. It’s about allowing God to bring his plan to fruition through you. God gives you a vision, and you do your absolute best to allow him to use you how He will. It’s hard to know how this pen pal program will affect people, but already, two Rollins students have attended OCC on a Saturday to meet their pen pals and in turn have also heard about the truth of God’s love and His redemptive plan for them. Numerous OCC kids have not only been shown love by people they have never even met, but also have been made aware of college as a goal to aspire to. For these reasons, letters will continue to be written and received at OCC on a weekly basis, in the hope and trust that one day it might lead to the salvation of even a single person.