While in the states for the summit on the orphan in Chicago on May 1-2, we extended our trip a few weeks for some fundraising and time at the U.S. office in Ohio. It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks, but very productive.

While I was in Cincinnati having meetings at our U.S. office, I got an email listing the funeral details for a man from our home church in Indiana named Keith Riffell.


Keith was a pillar in my church growing up. He wasn’t on the worship team or on the board, but he WAS the church. You know those people? The ones that build into everyone around them and are never derogatory or negative? The ones who are faithful for years and decades and are always ready with a kind word and a quick smile.

At the celebration service, there was so much joy in the room. A palpable, penetrating emotion of joy for a life well-lived and a heritage and legacy that will last centuries. As the old song, that Keith’s wife sang to us over and over again in Sunday School goes, “the wise man built his house upon the rock.”

Keith was a wise man of God and built his house and family on the rock that cannot be moved and is always faithful.

I began thinking of the impact he had on my life growing up and of all of those great men of God, those giant oak trees of the faith that shaded and gently corrected my ignorant steps as a young (and not so young) boy growing up. My mind wandered to the quote about “It takes a village…” and the statistic that states that a normal healthy child grows up learning and growing under approximately 20 different people to become a fully formed and emotionally healthy person.

I have spoken of this statistic before when sharing with people about the orphan, and how they usually grow up with the exact opposite of this. Instead of 20 adults building into one child, its one adult, the caretaker, “building into” 20 children.

I began to tear up singing at Keith’s service thinking about the children that we work with here in Cancun that will never know a Keith in their lives. Somehow, I have to show them how God can fill that role in their hearts. I want so desperately for God to use me to bring those 20 people into these kids lives who can help them become all that God has planned for each of them.

Towards the end of the service, Keith’s entire family, some 40 or so of them, stood up, turned around and faced the rest of the people there. They proceeded to sing their family song, which I am sure Keith started many years ago. I pray these words are true of me and that God gives me the strength and grace to impact my own children as well as the children we serve here in Cancun in such a way, that they would one day have a legacy of faithfulness of their own.

We’re pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who’ve gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful,
encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who’ve gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift though all we’ve left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find

Find Us Faithful – by Steve Green

Would you pray this along with me for just one of these kids?

Back2Back loves the cliche’d analogy about the thousands of starfish on the beach and the man walking and picking them up and throwing them back into the water. As the story goes, someone sees him doing this and asks him, “Your never going to be able to throw enough of them back to make a difference.” The man responds quietly as he tosses another helpless starfish back into the waves: “I made a difference to that one.”

Be the difference for one. Its not just a catchy tag line or a PR stunt to maximize our social media traffic. Its a statement of belief that is based on countless lives that we have seen changed because people just like you chose to believe along with us that if you can make a difference.


It Takes A Village

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *