A Word from Commander Garza
The boy commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless defending the fatherless and the oppressed. In order that man who is of the earth may terrify no more....
The absence of fathers is the root of many modern social problems in our nation. I believe that the most important job for a man is to be a dad. Millions of American boys have no fathers in their homes or in their lives. The absence of fathers is the most single important predictor of criminal behavior in young men. Violent crime and absent fathers are some of the greatest threats facing American boys. “The problems confronting our boys truly are challenges to all of America. Either we meet these challenges or they will become obstacles to our future.” states Mary Ellen Maxwell, president of the National School Board Association. She went on to say, “Just a few months ago it was announced that America has moved past the two million mark in the number of people incarcerated in its prisons and jails. The two million mark represents a five-fold increase over the nations 1972-prison population. Colin Powell, chairmen of America’s Promise states that there are nearly 15 million kids who are not on the right path in this nation.
In our district of the 6,000 men in HonorBound, only 10% of them serve in a direct leadership role in Royal Rangers. How can that be? Why do men in our churches ignore the urgent call to minister to our boys? They much rather serve in a non-committed role such as an usher, perhaps once a month or be a member of HonorBound, attending the monthly breakfast on Saturday morning or going on a fishing expedition with the rest of the men in the church. But what about our boys? Who is going to stand in the gap for them?
Sometime ago a commander in a church approached a father on the possibility of assisting with Royal Rangers. This father was a prime candidate for commander for the simple reason that he had 5 boys in Rangers. Week after week he would leave his 5 boys in the outpost meeting and he would walk to the main sanctuary for midweek service. Surely if there was a father that should be involved in rangers, it should be him. His reply was, “I don’t even spend time with my boys much less the boys of the “hermanos” ”. What a strong statement! This father was so self-centered, only thinking of himself. The commander was shocked by this father’s attitude. This father forgot that the best teachers for our sons are we the fathers.
Most of the commanders in our district know Joe Ruiz. Joe happens to be our Deputy District Commander for the Southwest Sector and also serves as Senior Commander of Outpost #47 in Uvalde, Texas. A few years ago, a boy by the name of Paul Fuentes and his two siblings joined Royal Rangers. Paul was probably 9 years old at the time. He came from an ungodly and single-parent home. His father was in prison.
Paul and his brothers were very unruly during the outpost meetings. They often used bad language and were insubordinate most of the time. However, Joe Ruiz and the rest of the commanders continued to work with them week in and week out. As time went on, the commanders were noticing a change in Paul and his brothers. God was beginning to work in the lives. The work of all the commanders was paying off. The boys accepted the Lord as their savior. Four years ago, I had the honor of presenting Paul with the Royal Rangers Gold Medal of Achievement. Thanks to Joe Ruiz, he believed in Paul and never gave up on him! Joe decided that he wanted to make a difference. I am somewhat reluctant to tell you Paul’s whole story. I am wrestling with the issue now! However, I will tell you this, while Paul and his 2 brothers were members of the Rangers, they witnessed the murder of their mother in their home. I was at the funeral in Uvalde! All these years, I have called Paul, My Boy. He enjoys me calling him My Boy.
I will close with this scripture verse. It seems that this is the way I feel this morning, One day before leaving for long trip to El Paso to complete the final phase of an LTC.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “ For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. “
Perhaps as you read The Mariner, you will feel this way, believing that the night will come when we will labor no more.