God promises to be “a Father to the fatherless,” but He often uses people like you and me to help care for the fatherless along their life journey.
Brian and Victor came from a family broken by alcohol, abuse, and drugs. At the age of 9 and 10, they were removed from the only family they knew and entered foster care. After living in several homes, they both aged out of the foster care system and moved into a small room in a crack-infested neighborhood in Broward County. They were all alone in a scary environment.
Victor called his guardian ad Litem, Barry Ramosa, a 63-year-old grandfather who had always been there for the boys. Barry helped the brothers move out of the danger zone, and eventually they arrived at the 4KIDS Independent Living Program – unhappy, ambivalent, and without purpose. Zach and Reina Parrish, the resident advisors, welcomed them in but were candid that living in this home brought responsibilities including volunteering 40 hours a week at the Second Chance Thrift Store for the rent stipend. It wasn’t easy, and things looked bleak when Brian got “fired” as a volunteer.
Then God started working through men in their surroundings. George Montero from the Thrift Store gave Brian a second chance and invited him back. Mike Massengill reached out to Brian every day during their ride to work. His words had an impact, and Brian recommitted his life to the Lord. Victor was invited to a men’s Labor Day retreat at Lake Placid, and while he was reluctant about going, Thrift Store Manage David Drayton encouraged him to give it a try. Victor did attend, and he had a great time waterskiing, meeting other guys, and getting practical life skills training from Doug Sauder and Ken Lacy from 4KIDS.
Brian and Victor were being stretched and challenged to work hard, persevere through college, and be faithful with their responsibilities and to their Lord. They were being discipled and held accountable. Victor shares, “For the first time in my life, I saw people who lived what they said, and who treated me like family. I began to see everyone here as family.”
A year later, the difference in their lives is profound. Both Brian and Victor are now on staff at the Second Chance Thrift Store. “We are very proud to have them here,” Dave Drayton says. “We didn’t just give them a job. We hired them because they are Christian men with a strong work ethic.” George Montero adds, “We love these guys, and we believe that God has a plan for them with much bigger responsibilities in the future.”
We praise God for the amazing way He has provided hope, homes, and godly men to be “fathers to the fatherless” for Brian and Victor. We encourage you to look for one person in whom you can invest your life into–whether that is volunteering your time, mentoring a young man or woman or fostering a child. Your life will never be the same!
” . . . For whoever loses his life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:24)