It never fails. At the closing of Project Mañana International’s Returning Hearts Celebration in the Dominican Republic, a little boy of probably five or six was having a hard time saying goodbye. It was a complete turnaround from earlier when the same boy approached a man he hardly knew with apprehension. Yet after a couple of hours of companionship, sharing, and fun, this little guy quickly gained something he had never had in his life: love from his father. But as the day ended, this child was beside himself in tears. He couldn’t process how the immense feelings he had experienced could be quickly torn away.

And I stood there, as I do at every RHC, with tears falling down my cheeks. It is impossible to attend this event and not feel the mix of emotions. From the beginning, you witness the joy that can only be experienced from a child and parent running into each other’s arms. To the sadness that comes from the brokenness that allowed these instances to take place.

However, in sadness, there is redemption. In the midst of tears and sorrow, relationships are forging that will last for a lifetime. Fathers (in this case) are getting another chance to be in their children’s lives. Although the day ends with physical separation, bonds have been formed that allow God to move in the life of both the parent and child. The sadness is created by the sin that caused this situation to happen. The joy, though, comes from God’s grace that can forever restore the broken chains of the family dynamic.

In His Name,
Dr. Romney Ruder

Malachi Dad and son hugging