Father’s Day always reminds me of the sacred responsibility that comes with being a parent – the responsibility to shepherd hearts and point them to Jesus. This past weekend, as I celebrated with my family in the States, I thought of each of our Country Directors on the ground in Africa. I realized how much they carry the weight of that responsibility – not only for their families, but for their congregations, their ministries, and their countries. 

I watch them continually mentor their teachers. I see how those teachers in turn patiently shepherd their students towards a rich interaction with their Savior. I hear those student pastors stand before their congregations and speak of the love of a God who uniquely made and called each one of them. And when I remember that our Country Directors intentionally and knowingly carry the weight of this entire cycle, I am in awe of the way they understand their relationship with their Heavenly Father.

I also have the privilege of connecting with our in-country leaders in Africa each week. This week, I spoke with our South Sudan Country Director Tito. Tito, always full of life, mentioned how little sleep he gets these days. He and his wife Edwina just welcomed their new baby boy, Benjamin – and amidst the sleepless nights and busy days, he is already dreaming of the ways he will teach his son the passion of his heart and expose him to the depths of the love of God. And soon Benjamin, too, will join the ranks of the thousands of other hearts Tito has shepherded towards their Father. 

I am grateful for fathers and mothers, for the men and women who work diligently across Africa to train up a generation – both in their homes and in their work. And I hold to the promise that those they point towards their Father will not depart from Him.


Emily Blackledge