The Feed

Stories of Feeding God's Children Hungry in Body & Spirit

Fatherhood is a Faint Shadow

Fatherhood is a Faint Shadow

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Update: Jamison Pals was a grant writer at Feed My Starving Children for three years. He and his family were tragically killed in a car crash in the summer of 2016. Read more about their life and their mission HERE.

One of the greatest privileges of my life is that two little children know me as “Daddy.” It’s a title I don’t bear lightly.

Fatherhood is a glorious thing. When God taught us to call Him “Father,” He elevated our role as earthly fathers.

Through us, our children should catch a glimpse of the character of God. Fathers are to be a living object lesson in God’s love, patience and holiness.

Of course, we all know that fatherhood in our broken world is—when it’s at its best—a faint shadow of what it should be. Yet, if you look hard enough, you may see something beautiful. I saw it last year in Batey 106.

Batey 106 is a poor community in the sugarcane fields outside of La Romana in the Dominican Republic.

Batey 106

It is a sweet spot for a lot of us at FMSC. We see a lot of poverty in the work we do; rarely do we see a place where poverty and hope coexist so unmistakably.

Being with the people of Batey 106 will either break your heart or cause it to overflow with joy.

When you pull in to Batey 106, one of the first things you’ll notice is children. I can’t imagine you’d ever miss them.

Children in the fields. Children on the dirt road. Children running toward your bus. Children getting very close to your still-moving bus. Children climbing on you as you step off the bus. Children chasing a donkey. Children carrying other children. Children everywhere.

Being a father, I love seeing so many children. Being a father, I also love seeing other fathers, who happen to be harder to spot.

Where are the Dads? Most are out working the sugarcane fields.

You can tell it’s grueling work, because the older men bear marks of it on their bodies.

They’re worn down and bent over from long days in the sun, chopping and hauling sugarcane.

You can learn a lot about children by asking them about their parents. It can be dangerous though, so you have to be careful.

One day, a five-year old boy was spending a lot of time hanging on my left arm. He called himself “Little Jaime,” I think because I told him my name was Jaime.

Feeling adventurous, I decided to ask, “Tell me about your Dad.” He didn’t answer. Instead, he took me by his hand and led me to his house.

 

 

 

Jamison

By that time, I had already visited a few homes in Batey 106, so I knew what to expect. Little Jaime’s house resembled the others: dirt floor, small bedrooms divided by hanging bed sheets, one or two pieces of furniture and a back room with a stove. But, the way Little Jaime talked about his home was different than others.

We stepped through the door, “Papa built our house. He built many Batey houses.” He showed me his bed, “This is the bed my Papa built.” He sat in a chair, “This is where my Papa sits after work.” He showed me a three-stringed guitar, “Papa plays this.” He pointed to a Creole Bible, “This is Papa’s book.”

I never met Little Jaime’s father, but I think my question was answered. Little Jaime has a Papa who provides shelter and rest. His Papa helps those in need. His Papa works hard–and worships hard!

I don’t know if his Papa can read, but I know he values the Word of God.

In a small village, tucked away in a field, the glory of Fatherhood is on display. Do you see it? It’s cloaked in poverty, so you have to look carefully–the character of God shining through an anonymous sugarcane harvester and his boy.

Little Jaime may not have much materially, but he has a good father, resembling the Heavenly One. I want to be a Dad like that.

When my children see the Lord face to face, I hope they will say, “Oh, that’s where Daddy got it.”

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

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