On March 10, 2011, Ricky Leach stood alongside his 11-year-old grandson, Caden, for one of the most important events of their lives—Christian baptism. For Ricky, it was a moment that brought healing to a long-gone childhood marked by father abandonment. For Caden, it was a moment that will hopefully bring healing to the remaining years of childhood that are threatened by father abandonment. Grandfather and grandson—both marked by the wound of fatherlessness, but both now claimed by the blood of Christ. Ricky Leach has since become a Fathers in the Field Mentor Father and talks about the power of the ministry.
How did you become a Fathers in the Field Mentor Father?
I got to see the power of Fathers in the Field through my grandson, Caden. His father has not been a consistent presence in his life and it definitely has impacted him. He carries a wound of abandonment, which I recognize because my own dad left me when I was a boy and it messed me up for most of my life. In 2010, Caden’s Mentor Father, Jerry, began working with him, and I was impressed. I was really glad to see the positive influence Jerry was having in Caden’s life. I decided I could do the same thing in another boy’s life. So I signed up through my church to be a Fathers in the Field Mentor Father.
Tell us about your Field Buddy.
His name is JJ and he has had a pretty tough childhood. His mom is in prison and his dad isn’t in the picture. He has never had a positive male influence in his life, and it shows. To be honest, I feel like I am WAY out of my element (or what used to be my element) as his Mentor Father, but we’re having a great time. I never was much of a husband or a father for the first 20 years of my family. I am ashamed of that. But I know God can redeem it. With JJ, I may not be able to tell him all the right roads to take, but I can tell him the wrong roads. It’s exciting to me to have the opportunity to help spare decades of pain for these boys.
JJ and your grandson, Caden, both struggle with father abandonment. What is your hope for them?
I hope that they grow into good Christian men and decent fathers and husbands one day. I was about their age when I started getting out of control. So, I feel a sense of urgency for them now. I can recognize the abandonment wound in both of them. Both are reserved and cut off at times. You can just tell that they need a father in their lives. I hope that we, as Mentor Fathers, can be that difference in their lives. And, I hope that by realizing that they have a Father in Heaven who loves them, they will be able to grow up and make different choices than I did.