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Father to the Fatherless

Abandoned by one father but gaining two in the process can only be the work of God. Matthew* (15) and Justin* (12) have a dark past of abandonment by their father and mother. Unfortunately, their story isn’t the exception anymore as the divorce rate grows along with the number of boys growing up without their fathers.

When Matthew and Justin were young, their parents divorced. Because of their parents’ substance and alcohol addictions, they lived with their great-grandmother, a godly, loving influence, for a short time until she became ill and passed away.

Then, the boys moved back in with their mother only to be abandoned again. After that, the boys moved in with their father. It wasn’t long before they were introduced to Royal Rangers.

Matthew and Justin’s father dropped them off at outpost 35 on a Wednesday in August 2010. Although their father’s intention was to have a free babysitting service, their Heavenly Father had a greater plan.

Shortly after starting Royal Rangers, the boys moved in with a lady from the church and began improving their grades in school. The best part of this current living situation has been their growing relationship with God, their church family and Aaron, one of their Royal Rangers leaders.

From the beginning, Aaron noticed that Matthew was very protective of Justin. As they became friends and a trust grew between them, Aaron told Matthew that he and his brother were safe and that he no longer had to be his brother’s guardian. Now, Matthew has opened up, focuses his energy on having fun with his brother and has become one of the best leaders in the outpost.

One day the Lord wanted Aaron to share with Justin how important he really was. He said, “Justin, I love you like you’re my own son, and I’ll treat you like my own son.”

Aaron knows that son depicts identity and belonging — defining who you are and to whom you belong. Regardless of the feelings of abandonment, Justin needed to know who he was and that he mattered enough to belong to someone. Aaron noticed that what seemed to be “small talk” between them catapulted Justin out of despair and into purpose.

Aaron describes Royal Rangers this way: “In Royal Rangers, we strive to reflect the glory of our Heavenly Father. Being with Matthew and Justin, God has reminded me how precious each boy is in His sight and how precious our few hours a week are with them. God said He would be a Father to the fatherless. We are to be a surrogate extension of God’s loving arms.”

Royal Rangers strives to guide men as they “Influence more, more effectively.

*The names have been changed.