Children’s Center Chaplain Dorothy Bayles with a patient.
“LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” (Psalm 8:2-3)
Less than a mile from the International Pentecostal Holiness Church headquarters,nestled at 6800 Northwest 39th Expressway in Bethany, Oklahoma, is The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital. Herein, packaged up in the children and staff, resides a formidable spiritual fortress and witness to the beauty, majesty, and glory of God. The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital is a private non-profit hospital which offers 24-hour medical care, comprehensive rehabilitative therapies, respiratory care, and special education for up to 400 inpatients and 2000 outpatients each year.
As chaplain, I encounter Christ on a daily basis through the lives of these precious children. I never dreamed the people I came to serve would teach me so powerfully of God and the value He places on life. I write this to give testimony to God’s handiwork and in hopes you will join me as a co-laborer in this rich harvest field.
I want to give voice to the faith of Abby Gonzales who recently turned seven. Abby’s beauty and warmth radiate from her. She was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, leaving her ventilator-dependent and in need of 24-hour medical care. For Abby, progress is measured by small movements, like a quick smile, an upward glance for yes, and a strong blink for no. Simple motions let people around her know how she is feeling.
I show famous paintings to the children of how people have imagined Jesus to look. While looking through the portraits with Abby, I discovered something astonishing. She relayed that Jesus had visited her, most of the times in the evenings. Since then, I have come to find that these visits are not unique to Abby. Initially, I was puzzled when Abby chose Rembrandt’s Jesus on the Cross as her favorite painting. After pondering, I wondered if perhaps Abby could relate to a God Who knew what it felt like to suffer and feel trapped in a broken body. Human suffering finds meaning, hope, and purpose in the cross.
Abby previews worship and teaching videos to give her opinion as to whether the other children would like and benefit from them. Most recently her favorite DVD is the Praise Baby collection. We are learning to engage our soul in these worship songs as a form of prayer. “Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” (Psalm 8:2-3)
Abby recently accepted the challenge to pray for other people. Her stretches of time in bed offer opportunity to pray. Employees are aware they can discretely share prayer needs with Abby. I try to keep her up to date on a few world events so she can pray for children around the world as well. Recently, Dr. Lou Shirey and the staff from the International Pentecostal Holiness Church Headquarters toured our facility. I was moved to be with Lou when he met with and shared his prayer requests tenderly and earnestly with Abby.
Isaiah alludes to the prominent place people with disabilities have in His Kingdom, “those I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer…For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” (Isaiah 56:6) In 2015 we will embark on a prayer series to further equip the children in their calling.
When the Pharisees indignantly asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,
‘OUT OF THE MOUTH OF INFANTS AND NURSING BABIES YOU HAVE PREPARED PRAISE FOR YOURSELF.’” Matthew 21:16.
I invite you to join me on the holy pilgrimage of giving ear and voice to the worship and need of the children at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital. Please pray for us as God continues to establish a stronghold against His enemies through these children. In particular pray for:
Hope and healing for children and their families
Wisdom for our administration and staff
Anointing on chapel services and 2015 prayer series
Revival and awakening amongst the staff and children
God to help us understand the children’s communication
Provision for our new expansion project
Dorothy Bayles is the full time Chaplain at The Children’s Center, a rehabilitation hospital in Bethany Oklahoma and a partner of the Discipleship Ministries Department of the IPHC. The Women’s Ministries have been a proud supporter of The Children’s Center for over 15 years.