Tucked away behind Tyler Regional Pounds Field Airport is what many call an answer to prayer. Breckenridge Village is one of the few faith based residential facilities for the mentally disabled in Texas.
"Our dream never included anything like Breckenridge Village is today," says Jean Breckenridge. "Our dreams were very simple because we didn't have the money to build big homes."
It was dream of Jean Breckenridge and her husband to build a special place for their son Jimmy and other adults like him with mental disabilities. They bought 70 acres pasture decades ago to build at least one home...but those plans changed when Jeans husband died. But little did Jean know that while they were praying for an answer of what to do next, the Baptist General Convention of Texas was praying about the start of an new ministry for Adults with Mental Disabilities. That's when God brought the two prayers together.
"It was just an answer to prayer," says Jean. "I said we had prayed so long and so hard that we would be able to do the right thing. There are so many parents who have handicapped children, who are not only retarded by have other handicaps, and they are looking for a place also for their child. So, I felt greatly blessed. I was relieved to because I had come to the conclusion that with my husbands death I could not do any of this alone."
Jean donated the land...the BGCT brought in dozens of volunteer workers..and Breckenridge Village began. Today there are now six residential cottages, a chapel and administration building. For parents like Carolyn Kennedy, finding Breckenridge Village has been an answer to prayer. Her son Collin lives here.
"The thing that I know now, is that now he is going to be learning in God's house. And I feel such a sense of peace about it," says Carolyn Kennedy. "It's been amazing. The people who work here, you know, their devotion and their understanding of this population. Because that's what it takes to grow."
The residents at Breckenridge are require to spend part of their day working. They also volunteer in the community. It gives a special meaning and purpose to their lives.
"Its a lot of fun. You get to meet a lot of people. And you get to go out into the community," says Breckenridge Village resident Shannon.
There are 32 adults in residential care here. There are hopes that the number will grow. There is also great hope as more people discover the ministry of Breckenridge Village that a scholarship fund would grow to help offset the tremendous cost of care. But for those who are part of this young ministry they know God has had a hand in Breckendridge Village long before the first brick here was every laid.
"And without a great deal of prayer it wouldn't exist today," says Jean Breckenridge. "If Jimmy had been normal it would not exist today. And I feel God gave Jimmy to us for a purpose. And someone asked me if God would change him today and make him normal I would tell them no. I love him just as he is, he is extremely happy here....And due to prayer it has all come to pass because without prayer it wouldn't have been here at all."
Clint Yeatts, KLTV 7 News. firstname.lastname@example.org