I don’t have the official statistics about drop-out rate of pastor’s kids but I have seen for myself they are pretty high. While I am content to ponder these things, Tom goes a step further and proposes solutions. My husband and I have had these families on our hearts, but I thought all we could do was pray. The Lord had a plan for these neglected, hurting kids already on the way. Tom’s discontentment with the situation readied him for action when the moment came.
Late in 2007 we welcomed two dynamic American couples, the Bakers and the Atkinsons, who came to spend a year in Brazil. During the initial months of language study, it was easy for them to get impatient and wonder when “real” ministry would start. Although no one perceived it something had already happened in the life of Ana Esther.
Ana Esther, a preacher’s daughter, had been drifting from the church. When her parents began to pastor a new church it was easy to remain uninvolved and to gradually not show up at any activities at all. I had heard of her disinterest in the church so I was very surprised the morning of the Baker’s arrival to see her face at the airport. While we waited and chatted I learned that a correspondence had developed three years earlier when the Bakers had come on a workteam. Ana Esther never dreamed the Bakers would come back to stay for a year and she was eager to get reaquainted with these friends.
Through God’s love and Josh’s and Dominique’s consistent friendship Ana was won back into Chrisitan fellowship. No longer on the fringe, she signed up to take my class on missions at the seminary. I was able to see her talent for working with children first hand when we took a class to an interior village of the Amazon on our hands-on ministry trip. Today she is a vibrant and hopeful young woman. And she is not the only one. Throughout the year the Bakers and the Atkinsons planned special activities with pastor’s kids in mind and it’s been a joy to see several young people participate who had previously given up on church activities.
The fruit of this past year of ministry was seen at a retreat in January. Although traditionally a marriage retreat for pastors and spouses, we felt impressed to include the whole family. The response was phenomenal with 38 kids, ages ranging from 2 to 30. At the retreat one, of the couples confessed through tears that they had planned on not coming, but their 6 year old son insisted that they go. Will you join us in praying for this ongoing ministry? We are confident that the Lord will continue to heal wounded hearts and raise up mighty men and corageous women of God. We hope that this unreached people group has heard the good news that God cares about them…and so do we.