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  • Writer's picturetimothy martiny

Made in the image of God – A Father’s Day’s outreach

Updated: 2 days ago

For many families we work with, the fathers are not around. Data shows that 30% of families in Latin America are led by single mothers. The percentage of absentee fathers is higher for the children we work with, many of whom live in challenging circumstances.

Family Strengthening is one of the core pillars at Cadaniño. Coming alongside struggling parents to lighten the load, be an encouragement, and support them in the job God has given them to raise their children is critical to our mission to serve children well.

Most families we serve live incredibly busy, hectic, stressful lives. Raising children in poverty takes an immense amount of time, from washing clothes by hand to walking your kids to school to spending hours each day on buses in traffic to get to work. Often, little time is left for meaningful interaction between parents, especially fathers, and their children.

Our team of teachers does a fantastic job visiting our students' families weekly. But it's often the mothers they spend time with, not the fathers. For the children with fathers present in their lives, it's rare that we see them or engage with them.

Over time, we realized that while we might not see them often, our touches can be significant if we are intentional. Family days, student graduations, and Father's days are some ways we have done that, and it is bearing fruit.

This year's theme was "Constructed in the image of God," about how we are made by God. That we, as fathers, are responsible for helping build a life for our children.

After the message, everyone enjoyed a delicious meal of hamburgers followed by games between fathers and students and board games where children taught their parents games they learned in our centers. Each family then participated in building their own mini corn hole set that they could take home to play as a family.

It was beautiful to see how by creating an environment where fathers can do things with their children, we brought such incredible joy into so many lives.

Here are some reactions from our team.

By Reyna Chuta - "This Father's Day was a wonderful occasion to express our love and appreciation to the fathers and highlight how crucial their role is. Many fathers do not spend much time with their children, so we worked to create an environment that would enable them to do things together.

The theme for this year was 'Built in the Image of God,' and we incorporated it into the entire event.

54 people attended, the most we've had. Seeing so many parents participating and the delight visible on each face was heartening. The gathering allowed parents and children to strengthen their relationships through shared experiences and teamwork.

One of the most memorable moments was the prayer session, where children prayed for their parents, and parents, in turn, showered their blessings upon their children. A student named Dereck was particularly touched, having been able to attend the event with his grandfather since his father is not around. He thanked us for making Father's Day special, expressing his gratitude to his grandfather.

The event served as a reminder that God places different figures in our lives, such as uncles, grandparents, and siblings, to provide help and guidance. Above all, we are blessed to have the best father of all – God."

By Eduardo Lux - "The Father's Day celebration at Cadaniño was a resounding success that touched many hearts and created lasting memories. We were delighted to witness the sheer joy and smiles of fathers and children alike. Many parents expressed their gratitude for being part of such a joy-filled event.

For the students who do not live with their fathers, it was an opportunity to invite them to share a day filled with fun and games. The event was more than just a gathering; it was a chance to better learn what it means to be a Godly parent. The occasion was marked by heartfelt embraces, shared laughter, and worship.

One father voiced his appreciation, saying, "Thank you so much for everything you do for us and our children." Families immersed themselves enjoying various activities, from assembling games and crafts to playing together. It was a special afternoon for the children, who treasured the time with their fathers.

Afterward, a mother contacted me to tell me how her husband and daughter had returned home and couldn't stop talking about how much fun they had.

In our community, many children do not often enjoy fun times with their fathers due to familial problems or disintegrated families. This event allowed us to create a space where fathers could have special moments with their children forging deeper relationships and bonding in a meaningful way.

I thank God for the opportunity to serve these families, and I am incredibly grateful for the resources that enable us to continue this ministry. My deepest gratitude goes to everyone who makes this program possible through their support."

By Sharie Martiny - "I loved seeing how the fathers reacted when we gave them the gifts their children had made for them. The expressions of surprise and gratitude were priceless. One father admitted that he had never envisioned that enrolling his child in our program would culminate in him participating in special events like this.

The atmosphere turned emotionally charged as numerous fathers rose to express their heartfelt appreciation. They shared the positive changes they've witnessed in their children since participating in our programs. Comments ranged from their children's blossoming confidence and growing circle of friends to the valuable life lessons parents themselves have learned from the teachings we impart to the students. One father admitted that after a long, tiring day, his child's advice to treat everyone with respect and patience had been a particularly impactful lesson for him personally.

During my brief address, I emphasized fathers' crucial role in their children's lives, citing the example of God choosing an Earthly father for Jesus. I also pointed out how God's unconditional love and encouragement toward his children is a model we can all emulate. This is illustrated in the Bible when God declared His pleasure in His son Jesus, even before Jesus performed any miracles or made His ultimate sacrifice to save the world."

By Pablo Chivarra - "A father shared with me how the message resonated deeply with him, providing a new perspective to see the blessings in the various difficult processes he had been through. Hearing how the message impacted him underscored the value of all the hard work our team put into making this event happen and affirmed the power of the work we are doing to bring the Gospel to people, helping them understand it and encouraging them to live it out in their lives." Reflecting on this successful event, we see the profound impact of engaging with the fathers of our students. These shared moments build stronger family bonds and brighten futures. Our commitment at Cadaniño remains steadfast; to cultivate these relationships, create growth-inspiring environments, and help parents realize the transformative role God has given them. Seeing the joy on the faces of fathers and children, we are reminded of the incredible potential within each family to nurture thriving children for a brighter future.

Partner with us today and impact lives for eternity!

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