Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Our first month at Cookson

We left Indiana and made the trip to Cookson in two days (for the sake of our little one). After battling traffic, a U-Haul truck with no air conditioning, and a sprained ankle we arrived at Cookson Hills on June 5th. An army of people welcomed us by helping unload the truck. Less than an hour later we had a house full of boxes and were trying to decide where to start. Thankfully we had a couple of friends make the drive with us and were there to help us put things together. (Thanks again Nikki and Chad!) Settling in meant lots of painting and sprucing up of the house. Here is a before and after photo of our living room.

Living Room Before
Living Room After
When we were not unpacking or working on the house we were in orientation and training meetings and doing various activities to meet people. Everyone has been very welcoming to us and eager to help us when they can. Our new friends (and neighbors) the Kelley’s have been extremely gracious to us and have invited us along to picnics, to the pool, and other activities to show us the ropes and where the good hangout spots are located.

For the 4th of July we went to nearby Siloam Springs, AR with several families from Cookson Hills to watch the fireworks show at the small airport. And wouldn’t you know it, Kaylee and her new friend Caroline made the newspaper!

Friday, July 15, 2011

An Introduction: How Our Story Changed

Our journey to Cookson Hills began last fall and interestingly enough began for each of us individually. We both were on a prayer journey with God and we were feeling a call to work with children in a much bigger way than we currently were as teachers and our hearts were particularly burdened for kids who for whatever reason didn’t have a good home life. As we individually walked down that prayer road with God, the Holy Spirit placed the thought of working at a children’s home on our hearts.

Then on October evening we were talking and we revealed to one another what God was placing on our hearts. Imagine the surprise (and relief!) we felt when we realized that God was speaking the same way to our helpmate. From that moment on we prayed that God would reveal this new path to us and whatever it was we would follow it.

Of course, we didn’t know much about houseparenting or how to get started. Thankfully God used a friend of ours to suggest that we attend the National Missionary Convention and talk to several different children’s homes to get a feel for what God was getting us into. The missionary convention was a tremendous resource to us! We talked to at least ten different children’s homes and were able to get our questions answered. We left the convention with God’s affirmation that we could indeed do this type of work and had several leads on possible locations to work.

After the convention, we began the job search and application process all the time praying that God would “close the door if the place wasn’t right and leave it wide open if it is.” Of course, God did just that. We received several closed doors but then we finally found the right one with Cookson Hills. And as God would have it they were one of the booths we visited at the convention!

We successfully got through the interview process, accepted the job, and set to work to move our lives to a state we had never been to before the interview. All the while, God continued to reaffirm and encourage us along the way, most notably with the selling of our house. We only had our house on the market for a week before we had our first showing and that couple made us an offer. God had a buyer lined up for us and to add grace upon grace they didn’t need the house till June…when we were leaving.

God took care of everything to get us to Cookson Hills, but that doesn’t mean it was a cakewalk. There have definitely been times of struggle and trials to overcome. Seeing how God has guided our path along the way helped us get through those times. And I guess on some level, knowing we were facing some opposition was a good sign for us. For us it meant that if something was trying to keep us from going we were doing the right thing. Proverbs 3:5-6 has been a huge verse for us: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”


Hello and welcome to our blog! We are Brandon and Melissa Jackson and this is the place where we will chronicle our new lives as houseparents at Cookson Hills Christian Ministries. We hope that this blog will be an encouragement to you to follow God’s call to fully surrender your life to Him; whatever it takes!