As we wind down another school year at HOPE Farm, I cannot help but to look back and marvel at the most tumultuous year in our ministry’s history. Thank God that our foundation was strong enough to survive a year-long Pandemic that caused, homelessness, joblessness and in some cases hopelessness. We were able to survive the heavy rains of violence and one of the most treacherous winter storms of our time. In Matthew 7:24, at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus closes by saying, “Whoever hears these words of mine and does them, shall be likened to a wise man who built his house upon a rock.” We are blessed that our ministry has been founded upon a rock.
The month of June has a lot of celebrations but one the more famous celebrations is Father’s Day, when we get a chance to celebrate a few of the rocks in our community. Fatherhood is a key aspect of HOPE Farm as our mission is to be a father to the fatherless. We are thankful for our founding fathers, Gary Randle and Noble Crawford, for laying such a solid foundation. Because of their work, there are more graduates and fewer gang members in the neighborhoods surrounding HOPE Farm.
Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important. Father’s Day calls us to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation. Fathers are teachers, coaches, mentors, and role models. They are examples of success and men who are constantly pushing towards upward movement. However, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that too many fathers are missing—missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities and the foundation of our families are weaker because of it. We need to help all the mothers out there who are raising kids by themselves. These are women who drop them off at school, go to work, pick them up in the afternoon, work another shift, get dinner, make lunches, pay the bills, fix the house and all the other things that would be much easier if two people could carry the burden. They need help to keep their foundation strong. It is what keeps the foundation of our country strong. Our team at HOPE Farm, along with your help are making a difference.
The first step is to set an example of excellence for our children. If we set high expectations for them, we have got to set high expectations for ourselves. We know that education is everything to our children’s future. We know they will no longer just compete for good jobs with children in the United States but children all over the world. It’s up to us as fathers, parents, and leaders to instill an ethic of excellence in our children. It is up to us to tell our sons those songs on radio may glorify violence, but in our house, we give glory to achievement, self-respect, and hard work.
When I was a young man, I thought life was about me-how do I make my way in the world and how do I become successful and how do I get the things that I want. But then I became a husband and a father. My priorities changed. Everything changed. My thoughts became about what kind of legacy I am leaving for them, the people I care about the most – the people who are my responsibility. What kind of world am I leaving them? And what I realized is that as a father, life does not count for much unless you are willing to do your small part to leave your children and all of our children a better foundation.
Our ultimate responsibility as fathers, parents, and leaders, is to build our house upon the sturdiest rock. And when the winds come, and the rains fall, and they beat upon that house, we keep the faith that our Heavenly Father will be there to guide us, watch over us, protect us, and lead His children through the darkest storm of storms into the light of a better day. That is my prayer for all of us as we celebrate this Father’s Day and that is my hope for this community in the years to come.
|“The joy of being a father to my 3 boys makes it so obvious to me why I’m at HOPE Farm. Strong male role models are so very critical to the successful development of any young man, so being able to contribute to the futures of our boys is really fulfilling.”
– Victor Neil, VP of Marketing and Development
|“Fatherhood changes you in that you have the responsibility to be a model, to lead by example and to do what you say, daily, with not just your immediate family but those who look up to or look at you.”
– Leon Potter, Dallas Campus Program Director