From my back porch I can see five beautiful pine trees. They stand out in glorious green against the stark leafless background of the hill behind our pond. Each one is about 25 feet tall. They are the only survivors of about 30 pine seedlings we planted many years ago. The seedlings were a gift, but the soil was poor. Still we decided to plant them in spite of it. We dug holes about 4 inches deep around the back side of the pond bank, filled them with rotten wood from an old dead log for fertilizer, and lovingly placed the baby trees inside. Every one of them looked promising, but as time went on they began to die. One by one they shriveled up and disappeared until only five were left.

How did the five survive? They were all in poor soil and had the same rain and sunshine, but somewhere beneath the ground there was a source of nourishment the other seedlings didn’t have, and so they kept on growing.

I like to compare them to some of the hundreds of children and youth we have loved and ministered to over the years. Most came from dysfunctional backgrounds–poor soil if you will–and struggled to survive. Often, with broken hearts, we would have to leave a group behind, or a child would leave us, and many shriveled up and died from lack of nourishment. But sometimes someone would step in to supply the nourishment of love, prayer, caring and attention they needed. Many were able to overcome and grow to become a thing of beauty like the trees in my back yard.

Whether they be baby trees or children, all need nourishment to survive. Children need mentors and role models to supply the needed food so they can survive. Every one of us knows at least one struggling child (seedling) that can use our help. Please don’t pass them by. Don’t leave them to the destruction of the enemy. Step into their lives, introduce them to Jesus, and then help nourish the babies until they become strong enough to stand on their own. So they too can be survivors! “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:14

—Rebecca Somoskey