As a young boy I remember staring with great anticipation at a brightly wrapped box under our Christmas tree that I was certain contained a Charlie Connerly football.

Christmas morning my elation was quickly replaced by painful disappointment. That box that had held such promise now revealed that it only contained socks and underwear.

Seeing the pained look on my face, mom said, “but these were what you needed for your winter Boy Scout camping trip.” It didn’t help.

The nation of Israel couldn’t wait for the promised Messiah to arrive. The Almighty Jehovah, creator of the universe was finally going to come in person to this planet. Yet what did they see on that first Christmas – an itinerant carpenter, a young mother, and a rather ordinary looking baby wrapped up in cloth strips and placed in a feeding trough.

Talk about disappointment!

Some of the kids in the Group Homes occasionally have tremendous expectations of their mentor – five course meals, shopping trips, and exciting destinations. Instead, they get a caring friend who has the secret of where true hope and contentment can be found.

Most of us have a long wish list of what we want from God, but he gave us exactly what we needed – a Savior.

Luke 2:11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

George  Bundt

You often hear of the One to One mentoring ministry or the Bridges ministry that George just spoke of. But many other children are receiving what they need in The Homework Club. The Homework Club is a neighborhood mentoring ministry that takes place in churches across Long Island and in our ministry center. It is similar to the One to One ministry in that the children are exposed to caring Godly adults on a weekly basis. It is different in that it takes place at the church, starts with homework help and then ends each week with a Biblical story. I have often wondered why the children so obviously love coming to the homework club. It is apparent to anyone who visits. This is a brief story, told by Cathi Sudler,  that exemplifies the peace and direction that is experienced by each child as they receive the homework help they need and the Godly direction that is eternally essential.

Great Grand-mom Suddenly becomes sole caregiver for two traumatized youngsters and searches for help.

Great Grand-mom walked into the Long Island Youth Ministry Center in Brentwood, in search of help and hope.  She is raising two great grands after the sudden death of their mom in a car accident a few months ago.  They were with dad but that didn’t work out for some reason. Now Great Grand-mom is trying to navigate the systems; education, health, counseling and support services.  She found out about the Homework Club from a flyer given to her by the school.

Overwhelmed would be an understatement in describing Great Grand-mom.  As she completed the paperwork for the youngest to attend the Homework Club and the older child to get a mentor, her concerns trickled out.  It was the sound of a world turned upside down.  As Great Grand-mom prepared to leave she said “everybody has been telling me it is hopeless and this is the first place that said things will work out”.

Great Grand-mom returned a few hours later for the Homework Club with the youngest great grandchild.  He was tentative and asked Great Grand-mom not to leave.  She sat across the gym near the door as he met with his new mentor.  Initially his eyes darted repeatedly to the door as if his gaze would keep her in her seat. About 20 minutes passed, when his hand went up with a wave and he declared, “Okay, you can leave now”.  Great Grand-mom’s face went from concern to relief as she walked out the door.

What happened in 20 minutes?  Was it the undivided attention from his mentor? Was it the presence of God that rests in the room?  Or was it simply the joy his fellow students had in being a part of the club?

I don’t know exactly what gave him the confidence to trust a room full of strangers but what I do know is that God is doing something amazing in the Homework Club week by week. Homework is getting done, the Gospel is going forth to the next generation and God is being honored and glorified.

Cathi Sudler

I want to thank you for your partnership in this effort to be obedient to God’s call to care for His ‘fatherless’ children. 

John Cragg

Executive Director