Coming Together as a Family Woven by God

Conversations from the chapel

By Senior Chaplain Mike Wilhelm

One of the joys I have experienced over the years is praying with kids at our Sunday morning chapel services. After the message, I’ll turn away from our congregation and sit on the steps behind the pulpit as Chaplain Ray leads worship. There I pray and wait. Much to my amazement, no matter how checked-out, restless or rowdy the room might seem during the sermon, boys and girls come down to sit at my side asking for prayer. Tapping my heart I’ll ask, “What’s going on here? What can we pray about this morning?” Their most common reply? “Family.” Some have much to say about their request. Others, perhaps bashful and overwhelmed, say nothing more than the single word, “Family.” Sickness, employment, housing and reconciliation are just a few of the common prayer concerns for their families. The world can be a hard place, and some families have experienced more than their share of the suffering. Through our weekly prayers together, the kids remind me of the importance of family. Even more, I have noticed how God is faithfully at work to honor this prayer. Intake staff and caseworkers labor hard to help strengthen relationships within the families we serve. Coaches, teachers and program staff become important extended family members to many of our kids. True to their name, houseparents serve as vital stand-in parents. I still remember the first time I saw the office of some veteran houseparents here at Boys Ranch. The walls were adorned with recent pictures of their past alumni, evidence of God’s family-fostering faithfulness. Our mission statement says, “Cal Farley’s provides professional programs and services in a Christ-centered atmosphere to strengthen families and support the overall development of children.” You could say God is strengthening families here by enlarging the family. What do I mean? All the families we have ever served, all the staff who have ever served here, and all our friends who have ever supported us through prayer, neighborly encouragement and giving, become together one big special family on behalf of the families we serve. It is what makes us special. It is the superabundance of God’s answer to my young friends’ prayers. God created the family, and despite humanity’s awful shipwreck, He did not abandon his family. As our annual Christmas Cantata reminds us, God was born into the human family in an astonishing act of grace. Thank you for the role you play in God’s family work at Boys Ranch.

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