Promises and expectations have long memories. Her confidence shattered by a decade of dead ends to find a Godly mentor for her son, Mary Kittle has finally come to peace with the hurt and bitter overshocks of the Church’s deaf ears to her cries for help.
The single mom discovered Fathers in the Field on Facebook six months ago and immediately contacted Southeastern Missionary Kevin Drewry to ask if the ministry is available in her town near the West Virginia capitol of Charleston. Although the ministry has expanded to more than 26 states across the nation, West Virginia remains unchartered. With a viable church contact and a willing Church Champion to lead and recruit Mentor Fathers, that statistic could change and be an answer to Mary’s prayers and of other moms of fatherless boys in the state.
Mary’s quest for an intentional male mentoring relationship for her son began when her 16-year-old son, Zayne (pictured left with his mom), was seven. Mary realized she needed help in raising her son who was abandoned by his dad when he was a baby. She decided to ask her home church to help meet the need.
“One man stepped up and took Zayne fishing once,” said Mary. “Then with each passing Sunday, he would come up to my son and say, ‘Hey buddy, I haven’t forgotten about you. I’ll get with you soon.’ And then nothing. Finally, I told him to stop. His empty words were getting Zayne’s hopes up, just to let him down.”
With a second failed attempt at her church with a promise of a call that never came, Mary branched out to three other churches in her area with either no response or a dinner filled with talk of what’s to come only to never hear from the man again. Zayne’s youth pastor offered counseling and gave the boy a workbook. When Zayne didn’t follow through with the work, he dropped him, too.
No wonder the Facebook news feed featuring Fathers in the Field captured the desire of Mary’s heart for her son. The ministry’s mission to rekindle and establish the spirit of boys who have been abandoned by their fathers; mentoring them one-on-one in life skills through outdoor activities and by sharing a Christian understanding of our Heavenly Father’s love and sacrifice for his children is what she wanted for Zayne.
“I don’t think men realize how important it is to help a fatherless child. Men need to see that need is real and I’m not sure how to make that happen. So many are too busy with their own kids or careers and don’t see there are kids who desperately need them.”
Mary recalls being at a church screening of the movie Courageous in 2011. After the movie, her former church pastor implored men to step up and help those in need. 16 men stood up and took a pledge (the movie’s “Resolution”) about being a responsible, Godly father and husband.
“The pastor went through all the statistics of children with an uninvolved father. I was crying because, with the exception of drugs at the time and suicide, the statistics matched Zayne. After years of trying, there wasn’t one man in that church who would say, ‘Mary, I will do it. I will mentor your son.’”
But recently, a man offered to spend time with Zayne and the change in the teen’s life is already noticeable. The man who took on the challenge is a junior high classmate of Mary’s and a disabled veteran. He’s given Zayne the gift of time to talk man to man and the tools to do hands on “man things” like cutting grass and putting in ponds and filtration systems.
“Zayne’s learning how to be a man. He’s more grown up now that he has a man in his life that trusts in his ability to do things,” said Mary. “Even so, I’m torn since my friend doesn’t have a relationship with the Lord. I’m praying that God will work through this relationship and draw my friend to God.”
Mary’s search for a Godly Mentor Father and Fathers in the Field’s work to find new church partners continues. Gratefully, God works with or without His people’s faithfulness and is using one man’s yes to make a difference in a Zayne’s life.
The American church has a growing mission field to the fatherless in its local community. Fathers in the Field is an easy ministry tool for men to begin an intentional mentoring relationship with a Field Buddy. Centered around Jesus and the outdoors, Fathers in the Field also provides a turn-key curriculum to help heal the abandonment wound and speak into the lives and souls of fatherless boys.
Thank you for being a vital part of this much-needed ministry.