Under the leadership of Leon Gambrell and with great encouragement from Mr. and Mrs. Coe Howard, First Baptist Church, Portales began to minister to orphans in their area. Mr. Gambrell served as chairman on the committee to seek answers to the question of how Baptist of NM could meet the needs of orphans in NM.
Mr. and Mrs. Gambrell prepared to welcome orphaned children into the Baptist Orphan’s Home. They collected furniture and needed items from Baptist all over the state of NM. They were called to another ministry before the first children arrived.
Mrs. Mary Joiner, WMU state secretary and former missionary who served with Lottie Moon in China became the first matron of NM Baptist Orphan’s Home.
At the state convention held in Santa Fe, the Baptist Convention of New Mexico voted to assume direct control of the Orphan’s Home, after a request from FBC, Portales and to keep the NM Baptist Orphan’s Home in Portales.
The first children, a sibling group of four, were welcomed into the NM Baptist Orphan’s Home. The Baptist orphanage began in a 10 room house. They soon outgrew this location and moved to a 40 acre farm north of Portales.
After Mother Joiner left to care for her ailing son, Beulah Fonville took over as matron. Following her were Mr. and Mrs. WG MacArthur, Mr. and Mrs. William Couch, Mr. and Mrs. William Hunters, Mr. and Mrs. JT Riddle, Mr. and Mrs. WB Oldhams and Mr. and Mrs. CE Saxon. In 1930, Mr. and Mrs. WC Grant came to the Baptist Orphan’s Home and served as superintendent and matron for seven years.
February 3, 1937 saw the arrival of Walker and Dorothy Hubbard, who agreed to come for a trial period of one year and stayed for 34 years. They became known as “Daddy” and “Mother” Hubbard.
The Little Boys’s Cottage was added to the campus
Due to the generosity of Mr. Mark Owen, the Little Girl’s Cottage was added to the campus.
After outgrowing two locations, the Home purchased 160 acres south of town and later added to it for a total of 331 acres. A fireproof, brick building was completed in September 1924
The NM Baptist Orphan’s Home became New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home.