At Bethel Bible Village, our main focus is the spiritual growth of our kids. We believe that it is important to show them who Jesus is and that they are loved by Him. While we know only God can change their hearts, we take it upon ourselves to plant the seed that one day they will truly know Him. We take every opportunity we can to show the kids who Jesus is through devotions in the cottages, small groups at our school, regular church attendance, and a weekly Bible study with our Development Coordinator, Nicole Ortiz.

After working at Bethel for a few months, Nicole knew she wanted to do something deeper with the kids. In February of 2020, she started a Bible study with the girls. At first, it was difficult for the girls to trust Nicole, but as time went on, the girls began to look up to Nicole like an older sister. When asked why she believes leading a Bible study is so important, Nicole says, “I believe it is important to have someone pour into them who can relate to them on so many different levels. But also to let them know they are loved, they are cherished, they are seen, and have them spiritually experience all of that—teaching them what it is like to have faith.” She believes our kids are in desperate need of Jesus right now, especially coming from the circumstances that brought them to Bethel.

We have been so blessed to see God move in many of our children’s lives and open their hearts to Him. Most recently, one of our girls accepted Jesus into her life at summer camp with a local church. Lindzie was at war with herself for a long time and struggled with letting go of her desires and trusting in God. After many deep conversations with her house parents, teachers, social workers, Nicole, and then her week at summer camp, Lindzie began to see God’s hand in her life. Lindzie says, “I so obviously needed Him in my life, and He has shown so many signs that He wants me, and I needed to stop running from Him.” Even though she had been trying to run away from God for so long, she realized that He has always been running after her.

After asking Jesus into her heart Lindzie said, “I felt the biggest weight lift off my shoulders. It was a weight that I hadn’t even realized I was carrying until it was gone. And when it was gone, I felt the biggest amount of love. More love than I have ever felt in my entire life.” She realized that all along what she wanted the most—to be unconditionally loved and seen—is exactly what Jesus promises to give to her. We are so encouraged to see how God has worked in so many of our kids’ lives and pray that we continue to play a role in furthering His kingdom.