DSC00049 Parents that InspireIn American families today, things aren’t what they used to be. More and more parents are missing from the picture, and it’s causing big problems. Just think about this: over 25 million kids in the US—like one out of every three—don’t live with their biological dad, according to the Census Bureau. And almost half of all kids are born to moms who aren’t married. That means a lot of kids are growing up without both parents around, and it’s really tough, especially for the kids.

Studies show that kids who grow up without one or both parents have real challenges. They’re way more likely to be poor, have behavior issues, struggle in school, and even get into trouble with the law. Plus, not having a parent there can mess with a kid’s feelings, making them feel unwanted, not good enough, and depressed.DSC00073 Parents that Inspire

However, this isn’t just a problem in America. In places like the Dominican Republic, it’s a big deal too. At Students International, our staff have been challenging each other to boldly proclaim the Gospel, recognizing Jesus as the answer to our daily dilemmas including familiy life. Through our conversations with those we serve, it’s become clear that many are grappling with real problems related to broken families, marriages, and parenting.

In response, our Microfinance site recently put on an event called “Parents that Inspire.” Over 35 parents came and talked in small groups sharing what it’s like being a mom or dad. We cheered each other on and shared ideas. Our pastor, Benjamin Sede finished up the event encouraged each one there to recognize that parenting is an incredible gift and calling from God. He shared about the importance of parents connecting emotionally with their kids, encouraging kids to embrace their God given identities, fostering a healthy culture at home, and motivating them to dream big for God.

The response was huge. A grandmother named Rubira asked if we could do the event in her neighborhood because so many parents there feel like giving up. Please, pray for us as we discern how SI may continue to use this event or others like it to build up families moving forward.

DSC00052 Parents that InspireThe truth is, SI doesn’t have all the practical answers for the complex challenges families face in today’s world. However, after the event we are confident of two things: Jesus’ love, hope, and forgiveness are the foundation to the answers and parents need a community to share their joys, struggles, and challenges along the way.

Please keep Students International, our staff, and the families we serve in Jarabacoa in your prayers. Trusting in Jesus, we believe that healing and restoration are possible not only for the families in the Dominican Republic, but also for those of you who are or have experience brokenness in your own families. The good news about Jesus is enough to heal any kind of brokenness. With His love and grace, families everywhere can find strength, hope, and change for the better.