PORTALES (BNM) - In order to accommodate its growing ministry needs, the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home & Family Ministries recently purchased and renovated a vacant building near Portales’ town square.
According to Randy Rankin, president of NMBCH, the organization’s acquisition of the property was providential. Recognizing that the property had been on the market for nearly four years, Rankin approached the seller and asked about his plans for the building. Eventually the two parties worked out a deal, and Rankin was able to secure the building for the NMBCH at a quarter of its appraised value. That same day, another man called Rankin to inquire about a large tract of undeveloped land owned by the Children’s Home. Rankin agreed to sell the land to the man at the price quoted for the building. “We swapped some property for a building ... at no cost to the Children's Home,” Rankin told the Baptist New Mexican in a phone interview on June 5, adding, “It was a win-win for everybody. God really orchestrated [the deals].”
The property, originally built in 1937 as one of the area’s first hospitals, now functions as NMBCH’s Hope Center. The center provides Christian counseling through the NMBCH’s Hope Counseling ministry and serves as the program center for the Christian Women’s Job Corps and Christian Men’s Job Corps of Portales, a ministry of the Women’s Missionary Union.
Through the Job Corps programs, Rankin and his team teach a variety of classes including parenting, English as a second language, financial literacy, job skills and computer skills. According to Rankin, the program primarily targets women, but provides G.E.D. preparation courses for men in Roosevelt and Curry counties.
The counseling ministry provides Christian counseling which can “help in building hope, insight, and support for individuals, couples, children, and families when they need help dealing with the challenges of life,” according to the NMBCH website. The Children’s Home staffs a licensed counselor and counseling services are offered free of charge.
According to Rankin, the building required “very minor” renovation to make it suitable for use by the Children’s Home. A wall was removed, the interior rooms were given a fresh coat of paint and carpet was removed from the front reception area. Holdovers from the building’s days as a hospital were removed, including several examination room tables and the former operating room was remodeled “into a playroom for kids of [counseling] clients,” Rankin said.
The center has already seen several successes. One woman, who went through a divorce in middle age, was able to utilize the Hope Center to learn the vocational skills needed to be self-sufficient following her separation. She is now a chaplain serving in Texas.
The Hope Center is located in downtown Portales, approximately one and half miles from the Children's Home. Its motto is “May all who enter leave with hope.”