No Longer Fatherless

God’s Plan - Bad News, Silver Linings, and Football

Skip Simmons

The week before Father’s Day 2019, Chris found out some hurtful news about his chances to become a father. The doctor said at this time he and his wife are unable to have children. They are newly married, having a child was next in their life together. It was a tough week for their family.

He and his wife are faithful members of Thrive Church but this Sunday coming up Chris wanted nothing to do with. Happy Father’s Day! Happy Father’s Day! Happy Father’s Day! Chris did not want to subject himself to all of the celebratory Father’s Day festivities the week he found out he may not be able to have a child. But his wife had other plans…She knew it would be good for him to be at church, ESPECIALLY when he was feeling down. She begged and begged him to attend church with her. Finally, he complied.

That day, at Thrive Church, June 16th, 2019, I had the pleasure of speaking to the congregation about No Longer Fatherless. I shared some of the amazing stories we had been seeing, including a story about one of the boys in our program who called his mentor “dad” about 2 months prior. Chris was inspired, he spoke to me after the service, and agreed to join our mentor training class starting the next day.

At the first training class, Chris opened up to our group of new mentors about what he recently found out, but this time there was a silver lining. He believed he went to church that Sunday so God could reveal to him how he can become a father figure right now, until he is blessed with a child of his own.

After 4 weeks of training I had 10 new mentors to match with boys on our waiting list. I had 7/10 matches figured out pretty quickly (I don’t believe I come up with the matches, I think God throws names in my head that end up working out tremendously) but none of the boys jumped out at me to match with Chris.

The same day I was trying to figure out a match for Chris I got a call around noon. It was a mother of a boy in Daytona who was interested in enrolling her son in our program. It can be difficult to work out schedules to sign up new boys so I said, “I have a free hour at 3pm today, can we sign him up then?” The mother was able to leave work early so we could meet and fill out paperwork to officially add him to our waiting list.

I met their family, exchanged stories, filled out paperwork, answered questions, and learned about the boy’s background. While talking with them, I thought Chris would make a great match with this young man. I told the mom about this potential mentor who just finished training and thought they would be a great match. The mom said, “We know Chris!” They tried to get her son in Chris’ classroom (he is a teacher) the year before but his room was already full. Chris was also great friends with the mother’s cousin years prior. WOW! OK, well this could workout great.

While I was at their home we talked about sports (A huge passion of mine). The boy played football for a couple of seasons but he was not very motivated or enthusiastic about it and got lost in the shuffle. Since he wasn’t excited and willing to learn at practice, coaches didn’t pay him much attention. He was concerned about playing again this season because he didn’t know who his coach would be and didn’t want to be ignored and forgotten again.

When I left I could not wait to call Chris, hoping this would be a perfect fit. Chris was very excited to be matched with this young man so we set up a day and time for all of us to get together so they can be officially “matched.”

Chris and I went to their house a few days later to meet with the family, exchange information, plan schedules, and break the ice. As we were talking I brought up sports to see if the boy had decided what his plan was for the fall. He was still unsure about making the commitment to play football.

Chris jumped in the conversation asking questions like oh you want to play football? What team are you going to play for? What age group are you in? After hearing his answers, Chris smiled and revealed that he is going to be the coach for the exact team the boy would be playing for this season.

They have since gone to the batting cages together, Chris thinks baseball will be a new passion for the young man. They will be attending a Daytona Tortugas game very soon and I’m sure will have many more great experiences together!

We are blown away at the stories we continue to see and hear surrounding our organization. How many things had to happen for this situation to workout so great?! It seems like God is directing all of these moves while smiling down from up above.