This Father’s Day, 18 dads from St. Andrew’s took a group of recently homeless fathers to a baseball game at Anaheim Stadium. These men were now in stable housing thanks to the work of our ministry partner, Project Hope Alliance.
Several of these fathers had seen incredible difficulties in their lives but were given the chance to relax while taking in the smell of the grass and hot dogs, viewing some of the spectacular players, and enjoying fresh lemonade.The Angels took a quick lead, only to have the opposing team come roaring back. In the end, a fantastic outing by closing pitcher, Houston Street sealed Minnesota’s fate, as Anaheim won 5-4. For the fathers who do not normally get the opportunity to enjoy a night at the ballpark, it was more than just a baseball victory. With so many stressors that come with the struggles defining homelessness, having a few hours to check out and watch a baseball game brings forth a more powerful victory than the game itself ever could. It brings forth a victory of normality. That luxury is often lost when facing or recovering from homelessness.During the game, a staff member from Project Hope Alliance sat next to a 30-year-old father of 5 named Francisco. The night began without much talking, but after a few innings, the conversation turned to the game. Ignoring any language or cultural divides, these two men ended up discussing which team they thought would win that night. Francisco explained that he had recently become an Angels fan, but only when they were not playing the Dodgers. Later in the conversation, he shared that he faithfully goes to church every Sunday. He said, “I go because I love God and I love my wife. Things may be hard, but I’m alive.” The two talked a little more and Francisco shared how one of his family members had recently passed away, leaving him to care for their children as well. Now, he wakes up at 4:30 a.m. each day and comes home to help take care of his family.
The highlight of the evening did not seem to be the game as much as the newfound fellowship and rest received by all involved. It served to be a reminder that despite the chaos around us, our peace is best found in Christ as we continue to love one another fully.