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Hughey redefines Christian reach

Ministering at a home for orphaned and abused children in Montego Bay, Jamaica, last April, Ashley Hughey broke down some thick emotional barriers built by a withdrawn teenager she worked alongside in a kitchen.

In the process, Hughey, husband, Roger, and their six children decided to redefine Christian outreach as members of Farragut Community Baptist Church.

They are in the process of adopting Shana Kay, the oldest child at the Jamaican home there at that time, 15, who caught Hughey’s eye during seven days at this home named Robin’s Nest.

“The very last day she wrote me a letter,” Hughey said of Shana Kay’s “request list” of items including, “‘A dress that I could wear to church … I’d like a new pair of shoes’ that she doesn’t have to share.”

“‘But more than anything, if you really want to know what I truly want and will always want, I just want a mom and a dad,’” Hughey added about Shana Kay’s letter. “I basically lost it.”

“I think there it became real for me, and I just felt like the Lord was pressing on my heart that, you know what, ‘She needs a mom and dad and you can be her mom and dad,’” added Hughey, whose daughter, Brooke, was alongside her and also got to know Shana Kay. “‘Nobody wanted her.’”

“The missionary said, ‘She’s never attached to anybody,’ matter of fact, she doesn’t even like me.’”

However, “I knew in my heart I wanted to do it, but I couldn’t make that commitment,” said Hughey, a high school algebra, geometry and science teacher at Concord Christian School.

But Roger visited with Shana Kay, both in person and by phone, “and they made a great connection, and he said, ‘let’s do this.’”

The paperwork process began July 17, a few days after the family traveled to Montego Bay to visit Shana Kay. Hughey said they hope to have Shana Kay in their family by June.

When first meeting Shana Kay, “She was “kind of withdrawn … disappointed that ‘white people,’ as she called us, had let her down,” Hughey said. “She felt like she was going home and was going to be adopted and felt like she was left behind.”

“It took her about three or four days the first trip we went to really even want to communicate with us,” Hughey added. “She was almost like, ‘don’t talk to me.’

“Trust me, you would not have said, ‘I’m going to adopt this child.’”

However, “We just started connecting,” Hughey said. “I think she respected the fact that me and Susan [LeCoultre] were working as hard as they were. … She saw us establish a relationship with the people that were there. She respects those women because they’re kind of like her mom.”

LeCoultre, a member of First Baptist Concord, said herself, Hughey, their family members and other Farragut church members were ministering at Robin’s Nest, a home for about 35 children age 6 months to 13 years, “to witness to them about Christ and to help the family that was already there.”

Robin’s Nest has been directed by Matt and Joyell Wiley of Farragut, members of Two Rivers Church.


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