Happy Father's Day!
I will be in Jackrabbit, Arizona, this weekend for the annual meeting of the Board of Directors of NAOMI (Native American Outreach Ministries, Inc.). I serve as the vice-president on that board.
The ministry provides a safe Christian home for abused and neglected children from the Navajo Reservation in Northern Arizona.
Most of the children who are brought to NAOMI have lived in terrible situations surrounded by substance abuse and they have been subjected to physical, psychological and sexual abuse as well.
Some of them have never celebrated their birthdays, Christmas, or most of the holidays that we consider a normal part of the annual calendar.
And most of them would never celebrate Father's Day.
I am usually gone from my family on Father's Day because the NAOMI board meets on that weekend in June. But, my family celebrates Father's Day early or after I get back.
I am so thankful that I was raised in a loving Christian family, and that I have a loving and caring family today.
Even though my father died when I was young (I was in the fourth grade), I have such fond memories of my dad. He loved us and worked hard to provide for us.
I still miss him all these years later.
Most of the children at NAOMI don't have good memories of their fathers. And for so many other children across the country, young and old alike, the thought of Father's Day does not bring happy thoughts.
But, at NAOMI, the staff of workers and the many volunteers who give of their time and resources work hard to make happy memories for the children there today.
Linda Thompson, NAOMI's director, is a kind and compassionate woman who has dedicated her life to provide Christ's love for children in need. She has not only been a foster mother to hundreds of Native American children over the years, but she has adopted a number of them and raised them as her own.
I consider it an honor to serve on this board, even if it means being away from my family for a little while. Even on Father's Day.
I am awaiting the birth of my second granddaughter. Koriana Lynn is due anytime. I love being a father and a grandfather, and there are children at NAOMI that call me Grandpa too. I like that.
The children at NAOMI learn that their Heavenly Father loves them and is always there to protect them and watch over them
So, I am going to be away from my family in Tennessee this year, but I will be with my family at NAOMI. I want them to see Jesus in and through me.
It will be a happy Father's Day for me. And I sure hope it will be a wonderful day for you too.
Happy Father's Day!
Doug Dezotell is the pastor of Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church and is a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette. He can be reached at email@example.com.