The Banner Hope Center, a Light in the Darkness
by Sarah Vaughn
The impact of Arkansas Baptists reaches far and into communities and situations that aren’t always widely known. On April 1, 2019, around 9:15 a.m., a 14-year old boy was shot by another student at Prescott High School. He was airlifted to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock for treatment.
“I cannot describe the emotions that hit me when we first learned about the shooting,” Daniel Bramlett, pastor of FBC Hope, said. “I was scared, angry, afraid of what the outcome might be, and overwhelmed thinking about how we needed to respond.”
Prior to the shooting, the boy, who is unidentified because of his young age, had been a participant in the Banner Hope Center, an organization based in Hope, Arkansas that exists to rescue young people from the “drug lifestyle” and “to offer hope to a Gospel-centered life.” The Banner Hope Center, or “Banner” as it is commonly known, partners with many churches in the area, and they all came to this boy’s aid in a major way.
“Our Banner employees, volunteers, and partner churches were awesome,” Bramlett said.
“Almost immediately I began receiving calls and texts, each one reporting the action they were taking and the prayers that were being prayed. One of our volunteers transported family members to the hospital. Our Director went immediately to Prescott to start checking on all of our other students there. One of our partner churches hit the road to the hospital in Little Rock and even beat me there.”
“Seeing four different faith-filled organizations represented in the counseling room gathered around the family and hospital staff was very emotional for me,” Bramlett said. “I watched all kinds of believers rally around a kid they knew and loved very much. Each of those people could have been anywhere other than a hospital room on Monday, but their choice to be there made a dent in eternity.”
Miraculously, the boy suffered no life-threatening injuries.
The Banner Hope Center has not been around long, but it has had a strong vision and a huge impact since its beginning. Banner was started in mid-2018 as a partnership between FBC Hope, the court system, the school system and the county, with the later involvement of FBC Prescott. Before operations began, they found themselves in need of a building to house the center, and this is where the ABSC comes in—the building they now use came to them as a donation from the convention. The Arkansas Baptist State Convention exists in part to support Arkansas churches in the important work they are doing around the state, and it was an honor to be able to assist the Banner Hope Center in this way.
Now, a year after the Center opened, they have made an enormous difference in their community, and they continue to grow. Their first-ever event was Banner Camp in the summer of 2018. “We are super excited about camp this year [in 2019]. We are planning for around three times the amount of kids we had last year,” Bramlett reported. The Banner Hope Center’s growth is an enormous cause for praise, as is the continued good health of the shooting victim.
“The student who was shot received a bullet in the chest. I don’t know how many places a bullet can land in a man’s chest and do no damage, but this bullet found one of those spots,” Bramlett said. “[There was] zero damage. The entry wound was sewn up, [and] by Monday afternoon he was talking. By Tuesday he was walking around. This is a miracle.”
“We believe God is the God of life and death; that He is the One who sustains us down to our very breath. We also believe He is waiting on faith-filled men and women to step up to the plate and lay their lives on the line. The lives of those around us are at stake,” Bramlett said.