“At the heart of the modern crisis of manhood is the extension of adolescence, a boyhood that is stretching on for a longer and longer period of time.” -The Art of Manliness
In every boy’s heart is a desire to someday grow up and become a man. In its essence, manhood can be scary because of the unfamiliarity of responsibility, the expectation to provide and the sadness of leaving behind juvenile glee. Yet, manhood calls them all. No matter what it looks like, TRUE manhood does not exist outside of a relationship with Jesus Christ because it’s through Him that one can truly know himself.
This past weekend, me and Micah Ennis (also a Coreluv missionary in Haiti) had the greatest honor of introducing the older boys in the Myan orphanage to the primitive, MANLY EVENT know as CAMPING! This event was birthed from a desire in my heart to share with the older boys (some already teenagers) the same JOY I experienced with my father. To this day, camping with my dad holds some of my fondest memories! Setting up camp, huddling up by a campfire when it got chilly, making s’mores, telling stories, then gazing into the endless starlit sky until sleep overcame me and I awoke to the smell of eggs and sausage being cooked over a rekindled fire. That was PRICELESS and definitely something I wanted our older boys in Haiti to experience!
In preparation for our trip, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit to not just make this a fun 24 hours away from home, but to use it as an opportunity. AN OPPORTUNITY TO CALL THOSE YOUNG BOYS INTO MANHOOD! I desired to stand in the gap for them where their biological fathers were missing.
After arriving at our beach-front campsite, myself, Micah, and 8 of our oldest boys barreled out of the Coreluv truck and excitedly began setting up camp.
As we were putting together our tents for the night, the call of the ocean as the sun was setting over the water overtook their interest. Soon it was just Micah and I working as I listened to the sound of a boy’s freedom heard through the splashes and laughter of our Haitian sons.
(What a fun time they were having!)
When it became too dark to play, the boys returned to the crackling of the campfire ready to roast and eat as many hot dogs as their hearts desired. It was there where they truly realized they would not be returning home but sleeping in tents amongst nature, something none of them had ever experienced.
After dinner I began to share with them several stories of boys who were called to be men and what it meant for them. With their hearts full of wonder, I began to share with them the responsibility of becoming a man. We talked about purity, respect for all women (their sisters until marriage), honor for their parents, leadership, humility, speaking up for those who can’t, standing strong to their convictions, and most importantly, a life of service to Jesus.
After our talk, we enjoyed s’mores and then the boys decided it was time to go to sleep. Let’s just say that CHOCOLATE and SUGAR didn’t condone to a restful night’s sleep! Two tents were set up, 4 boys in each, while Micah and I slept in hammocks hung between a nearby fallen tree. The conversations that ensued once the tents were zipped up tight were a reflection of what was spoke about over the campfire that night. I knew that a fire in their hearts was set ablaze with a desire to be what God created them to be.
The next morning, we ate breakfast and with the rising heat of day we decided we would play in the surf. As we played, the boys would ask questions and make comments about things we had spoken about the night before. I encouraged their questions and established an open door with them that they seemed willing and ready to walk through.
When we dropped them off at the orphanage that afternoon, they were dirty from the salt water, smelled of campfire smoke and completely exhausted. They walked through those gates not as they had left, but called out and empowered to be what God created them to be. All the other boys who stayed behind watched with wonder as their older brothers came home. They were aching to ask questions and dreamt about the day when they too would go camping and be called out to be a man!
I’ll admit, they still have a few more years of boyhood in their lives, but I see MIGHTY MEN who are going to CHANGE THIS NATION!!!
For more children to be raised in a Christ-centered home, consider partnering with Coreluv through our Orphan Care Partnership Program.