The Greatest Need

Published on Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The following blog post is written by Stephen Elder. Stephen went on the first ever Man Up and Go mission trip and serves on the Board of Directors for Man Up and Go. He lives with his wife Wynne in Bryan, TX, and has two beautiful Ethiopian children. Read more about Stephen's bio HERE.

"The Greatest need in the world today is Fatherhood."

stephen elder holding baby

Those were the words spoken by Pastor Samuel in Kampala, Uganda, on the first Man Up trip back in 2011. I have never forgot them, and they couldn't be more true. 

Men have trouble defining what it means to be good father in this day in age. We have lost our way as fathers. Families worldwide have suffered as a result of men not realizing the responsibility of fatherhood. I believe the majority of the turmoil in the world today is tied to directly to fatherhood or lack there of. Here are some stats to ponder:

  • 63% of teen suicides come from fatherless homes. (5 times the national average) SOURCE: U.S. Dept of Health
  • 90% of all runaways and homeless children are from fatherless homes. (32 times the national average)
  • 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes. (14 times the national average) SOURCE: Justice and Behavior
  • 85% of children with behavioral problems come from fatherless homes. (20 times the national average.) SOURCE: Center for Disease Control
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. (9 times the national average.) SOURCE: National Principals Association Report
  • 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes. (20 times the national average) SOURCE: U.S. Dept. of Justice

These stats are all tied to fathers not doing their job. Back in the day our calling was better understood and much clearer; we did not have as many distractions as we do today. Men were warriors and farmers. We worked the land and fought for our families and freedom. We spent all of our time working toward building a better future for our families. We stood our ground and loved our children and wives; we didn’t flee when things got hard. Today as fathers we are faced with so many temptations to run away, be lazy and not care. This is the world we live in, where fatherhood is trending toward selfishness and carelessness, resulting in broken families. Fathers are wanted. Fathers need to be present. Fathers need to care. Fathers need to hug and kiss their children. Fathers need to put on display how to treat others with respect and honor. Fathers need to show their kids how to be in a relationship with Jesus. In order for men to take hold of all we have been called to as fathers, we have to understand and apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, and then you will see the trend reverse.

stephen elder in ethiopia

God is calling all of us, all we have to do is say YES. I said yes in 2010. Little did I know that the adventure he was taking me on was one that would end up in my wife Wynne and I adopting 2 kids, Camp and Asher, from Ethiopia. I took my first trip to Uganda and Ethiopia with the Man Up movement in 2011 and returned to the States wrecked. God showed me first hand how bad the orphan crisis really was and the need for fatherhood. I saw hundreds of little empty souls begging to be embraced by a man so that for one second they could feel loved. Men, I pray that you would be broken for this. It broke me, and when I realized the need for fatherhood in the world a raging fire and passion was born in me to fight for the Man Up and Go cause.

stephen and wynne in ethiopia

I realized quickly that skin color, nationality, and gene pools have no bearing on what a family is - my definition of family quickly changed after I was broken. Being broken is a good thing because God has so many more pieces of us for him to work with. I pray that you would be broken by the need for fathers today. Don’t spend another second standing idle, missing the opportunity to grab hold of who God has called you to be. God is pushing us to be men of character. This task is hard, warrior - are you gonna fight, fathers? What say you?

Our passion at Man Up and Go is to see the Gospel take root in men’s lives so that they would care for their families and lead in their communities and be responsible fathers. “We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord,” says Romans 15:2. Without knowing the way, we will never truly have an impact. We know the way and God has laid out the plan, we just have to execute. God has given us the tools necessary to equip men for fatherhood, so that is what where we are headed - to equip and empower men.

This task is not an easy one but we are committed to seeing 20,000 families impacted by 2020 throughout the globe. Will you help us in our 20k by 2020 goal? You may do so by giving your tax-deductible gift HERE.

We are called to care for the orphan and the widow in James 1:27. The other part of James 1:27 is refusing to let the world corrupt us. Fatherhood has been corrupted which has led to disastrous statistics in the U.S. and in the World. In 5 years time there will be close to 1 billion children in the world without fathers. Men, are you ready to take back has been corrupted and stolen by the world? Will you join our fight and help fill the void in so many families today with the Hope of Jesus? It's going to take time, money, sacrifice, desire, passion, and a willingness to die to self. I pray you're up to the challenge.

In this Christmas season, I hope you'll pray with us to see more men around the globe MAN UP to their responsibilities as husbands and fathers.

stephen holding hand with boy

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