Feature

Father to the Fatherless

Revealing the One who never leaves

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Father’s Day is celebrated in many countries, including Venezuela. However, it is not celebrated nearly as much as Mother’s Day. One has to ask, “Why?”

Meet Enrique—a quiet, thoughtful ten-year-old who lives with his mother and grandmother. His parents separated six years ago. His mother was in and out of “religion,” but one day she met the Lord, and He has done a wonderful work of spiritual restoration in her life. She will be the first to tell you that Enrique is sensitive to spiritual things; he invited Jesus to be his Savior during Sunday school.

But Enrique is without a father in his everyday life. His dad takes him out to eat or to a park once in awhile, but Enrique does not have a deep relationship with him.

And then there is Lucy—a sweet little seven-year-old with sparkly, dark brown eyes. Her mother was married and had two children but then separated from her husband. Years later, Lucy’s mom had a relationship with another man, and Lucy was born. The little girl attends Sunday school and knows Jesus. Her mother also is active in church.

But Lucy didn’t have a relationship with her father, and he has since passed away.

Deeply Broken

When my husband, Bob, and I transferred from Colombia to Venezuela in 2004, we began ministering in a small church plant of the C&MA in the capital city, Caracas. The first year, we didn’t even celebrate Father’s Day in the church because none of the children in our Sunday school classes had a father active in their lives. This was quite a shock to us and seemed so unreal! But it is a “fact of life” here. A local pastor told me that 80 percent of Venezuelan families are broken by death, divorce or the breakdown of an unmarried relationship.

How do children like Enrique and Lucy grasp the idea of a heavenly Father when they do not have a good father figure? We teach the children in the church that their heavenly Father is loving and caring and will never fail them. God will never leave them or forsake them. We bring the children the promises of Scripture: “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling” (Ps. 68:5). “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Ps. 27:10).

Longing to Celebrate

Five families in the church have both parents in the home, but 20 other families do not. Our church has a children’s and women’s ministry as well as a ministry for husbands and fathers.

Please pray for the families in Venezuela and especially for the children who must live with the consequences of their parents’ choices. We long to be able to celebrate Father’s Day in our church and see Spirit-filled fathers and mothers following Jesus, modeling our heavenly Father’s love and care to their children.

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