Richard Morphew is a persistent young man. That persistence recently paid off when Richard graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Management from Oklahoma Christian University. An entire host of friends was there to watch this young alumnus of Westview walk across the stage to receive his diploma. Yet that is the only most recent installment of Richard’s story. How did it begin?
In the late 1990′s Richard’s mom was troubled. As a concerned mother, she knew that her son had a good heart, but he seemed to keep making a mess of his school work. Her fear was that this would cause him to flunk out of school and ruin his life. Finally, in desperation, she called Westview Boys’ Home.
Richard came to Westview and moved into Sweetwater House. There, under the care of Doug and Dennise Gonzalez, Richard found a new strong male role model and new direction for his life.
Richard’s schoolwork began to improve. In some of his classes, especially Art, Richard excelled. As his grades came up, he became eligible for more extracurricular activities. Richard became a part of the WBH show team. He was diligent in the care of his show calf and discovered the importance of responsibility in his daily work with his animals. He also experienced success in the show ring as a consequence of his patience and hard work.
Richard did well in other areas, too. His art won prizes at the county and state fairs. He found a slot as a regular player on the high school basketball team.
Most importantly, the young man found faith. For Richard, the decision to become a Christian meant more than putting on a name. Being a person of faith meant putting that faith into practice. Consequently Richard began to discover his leadership skills. He helped lead in worship at the Hollis Church of Christ. There he was a leader in the youth group, and he honed his leadership skills through his participation in Leadership Training for Christ. As he grew, he continued to put those skills to work in the local Vacation Bible School and at church camp.
As graduation from high school approached, Richard let his mentors at Westview know that he wanted to go to Oklahoma Christian University. There he planned to study business so that his career as a businessman could provide for his family and his service as a vocational minister could help the church wherever he lived. The team at Westview helped him prepare for college, file for financial aid, and assisted him with tuition and living expenses. Oklahoma Christian gave Richard a hand up by providing a special scholarship that was designed especially to help young men like Richard who could and would make the grade.
Richard and his wife, Sarah
College was hard work. Richard experienced many challenges at OC, yet it was there that he met the love of his life, Sarah. After dating for a while, they began to plan their wedding. Richard decided that he needed to get a job to support Sarah and himself instead of remaining a full-time college student.
Fortunately for Richard, an employer had already noticed him. John Gardner, the president of Partners for Christian Education International, was a member of the Wilshire Church of Christ as was Richard. John had observed that Richard made a habit of teaching Bible class for children there. He was impressed by the character of a young man who would take the time to do this while still a college student. When he discovered that Richard was looking for work, he offered him a job. Richard ended up with a job to provide for his family; he also acquired a new mentor to guide him as a young adult: his boss. This relationship has blessed them both.
Richard worked hard at Partners, and he continued to take classes at OC as a part-time student. Westview remained an active part of his life; Westview and the Westview Foundation continued to help with his college expenses and Richard returned for reunions with his peers when he could.
Richard also began to stand tall within his family. When his dad struggled to care for his little sister, Richard and Sarah opened their home and provided a place for her. She thrived in their love and care until the time came that she returned home.
It takes a great deal of discipline to keep a job, care for a family, and finish a college degree. With the help of a loving wife, Richard has now managed to do this. He stands as an example of character and persistence to the young men who make Westview their home. He also proves a fundamental tenet held by the community at WBH: young men will do well when they are given the opportunity to do so.