Yoder Update - June 2024

Single Moms Raising Sons (SMRS) is one of Christian World Outreach’s (CWO) newest ministries. In three short years the ministry has expanded from Bible studies for single moms to also hosting Women2Women events, Men Molding Men camps for boys and Men Around the Fire events. The Women2Women events are helping single moms and grannies who are raising their grandsons deal with the hurts they are dealing with and introducing them to the Bible studies. The camps are helping boys deal with their issues from not having a father in their lives and building good character. Men Around the Fire events are a time for men, who were raised by a single mother, deal with the past hurts in their lives and develop mentors for young boys and young men.

It was a blessing to have gone to South Africa to visit and participate in the ministry with Bruce and Laurie and Sarah. Laurie has co-authored the SMRS Bible studies with Thembi and Sarah assisted Thembi while she was at Denver Seminary.   I (Greg) was able to hear many stories from people whose lives have been touched by the ministry. Telling your story seems to be a theme in South Africa which was even on a billboard along the highway.

Laurie and Sarah were able to participate in several events with single mothers and grannies who are raising boys. They began these events by letting the women tell their stories which sometimes were heart wrenching. Laurie then introduced them to the SMRS Bible studies by sharing about some of the stories of single moms raising sons from the Bible. Sarah (a parenting coach) followed up by sharing some parenting skills that the women could use while raising their boys.

After getting the ladies set for their events, Solami (Thembi’s eldest son), Bruce and I would go order lunch for the ladies and then meet with men who have participated in Men Around the Fire or boys being raised by single moms who are being mentored. The Men Around the Fire are events are for men who were raised by single moms. This is a time for them to share their stories about the struggles they had while being raised by a single mom or grannie. Some of these times were spent watching a movie from Fathers Matter followed by a discussion time.

While waiting for Solami to order lunch for one of the events one of the men we met with shared how he was raised by his grannie. He struggled with this as a boy but appreciated the care he was given by his grannie. Now as an adult he is caring for her in her old age.

Bruce and I also had the privileged of participating in a Men Molding Men Camp. These camps are for boys being raised by single moms or grannies giving mentors a time to help build positive characteristics and introduce them to a Father who will never leave them. The boys quickly accepted us as their “uncles” for the weekend.  We had a great time playing games used for teaching, teaching them about peer pressure, empathy and courage, having devotions and hearing their stories.

During our teaching times it was sad to hear some of the things these boys have done because of not having a father in their lives. One boy shared how he would steal lunches from other students at school. The interesting thing about his story was that he would wash the container the lunch was in and return it to the owner. Another boy shared how he would steal bicycles. Both of these boys have stopped stealing because of the things they have learned at camp and because of the love they have received from the camp mentors.

Thank you for praying for us as we participate in and lead the ministries of CWO and for financially supporting us. You are making a difference in the lives of people in Burkina Faso, Haiti, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.

Serving Together,

Greg and Laura

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