11 Oct Day 3



By Corenne Smith

“The poor will always be among you.”  John 12:8



I can’t think about Jonas, our autistic resident, without smiling. No one can.  He’s been on the Mountain longer than any other student.  At 21, he’s seen children come and go, but remembers the name of each one.

He rarely gets mad, but when he does, some boy along the way taught him to swear like a sailor.  But one thing we never had to worry about was him running away.  No matter how mad he got, he’d go to the top of the driveway, stare down the road, then turn around and come back. Until…

During quarantine, Jonas spent quite a bit of time in my living room. As a rule, students should not be alone in the homes of staff members.  But it was hot outside, school was closed, and many of the fun activities we arranged were hard for him to enjoy.  Hanging out with me became his favorite pastime.   

One afternoon I learned one of our boys had just run away.  I jumped in the car to go after him.  When Jonas asked to go I shouted over my shoulder that now was not a good time.

 No one noticed when Jonas followed me down the road, through the gate, and kept on going. After all, it had never happened in 10 years. 

As we returned, sadly without our boy, we saw headlights approaching on our usually deserted road.  The car stopped, and the slim silhouette of Jonas got out. As we rubbed our eyes, he cheerfully slid into the back seat of our car.   man yelled out the window, “Do you know this guy?”  With open jaws, all we could do was nod yes. Wait, what?  “He was wandering up the road.  It was getting dark, so I decided to try to find where he belonged.”  With that he smiled, waved and drove away. 

Stunned, we turned to the smiling Jonas. “Aunt, I went for a ride in Carlos’s car!”  Yes, the car was the same make and model as that of our friend Carlos. Thank you, Lord, for sending this “angel” to care for Jonas.  What if we hadn’t driven up at that exact moment?  What if Jonas had met someone else?  And now, Jonas knows his way down the Mountain.  We all have to keep a more vigilant eye on him. 

As a residential vocational training center, we are not the appropriate place for special needs children. But the courts send them to us because there is no place else.

Besides Jonas, we have his brother Andrew and two other special boys soon turning 18.  These special children require additional vigilance at all times. Some, like Andrew, require 24 hour care. And they may end up staying with us indefinitely, because they can’t go it alone.  

These special kids teach our other children compassion and patience.  But it’s difficult to guarantee the well being of a child who can’t advocate for themselves–most of our children have lived hard, and many have even done time. The state has talked about opening up a home for special needs adults, but little progress has been made.  While trying to stay focused on our mission, we strive to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and are so blessed to have these special children.



Pray that we will stay open and flexible to the will of  God, knowing that there will always be more needs than we can cover. Pray for special children everywhere, as caretakers struggle to do their very best for them and find balance in their lives.