Tabernacle Baptist organizes 'Letters from Dad' effort
GEORGE, Iowa -- "Letters from Dad," a program that teaches men how to bless their families and leave a legacy through the lost art of letter-writing, will be offered through the Tabernacle Baptist Church, 206 E. Indiana Ave., George.
"I know it sounds simple, but it is actually very profound," said Pastor Matt Yaley. "I'd kind of heard about it through the 'Focus on the Family' program, and it intrigued me. The biggest thing was when we started a men's Bible study last fall, and they alluded to it in some of the sessions. One of the deacons in the church, Roger Lamfers, was teaching this, and he got more intrigued, because he had been writing letters to his own daughters and wife, did that once a year and gave them to them for Christmas presents, so he really saw the potential, the power of writing words down."
Lamfers has now taken training through the Letters from Dad organization, and Tabernacle Baptist has purchased the materials to facilitate the program.
Letters from Dad was founded by Greg Vaughn, a Christian filmmaker.
"Four years ago I lost my father to Alzheimer's" explained Vaughn on the Letters from Dad Web site. "Shortly after his death, I found myself alone in my garage staring at his old rusty fishing equipment that I had somehow inherited. At that moment, I was overcome with feelings of anger and hurt. Angry at my father, at God and myself. I found myself asking the questions that many of you may have asked, 'Why couldn't my father tell me he loved me? Why couldn't we have been closer? Why couldn't you have given me a father like___?' I was saddened by the fact that I did not possess even a signature of my father.
"At that moment, a haunting question came to my mind, and it went something like this: 'Greg if you were to die today, what would your kids hold in their hands tomorrow that would let them know that they were the treasures of your life?' As I pondered that piercing question, I had to sadly answer... NOTHING, just like my father left me NOTHING.
"Shortly after this garage event, I called 12 of my closest friends and asked them to go with me on a journey I was calling Letters from Dad," Vaughn continues. "It was during our months together that God revealed a marvelous plan whereby we could leave a legacy of faith, hope and love through the lost art of letter-writing. Upon completion of our time together every one of these Godly men told me that it was one of the most significant events of their lives."
Since that beginning, Vaughn's concept has expanded and been presented in workshops all over the country. Tabernacle Baptist is the first church to offer it in this area and has opened it up to men in the larger community.
"There's a church in Sioux Falls (S.D.) that's doing it, and that's the closest one," said Yaley. "We feel it's a real privilege to offer it."
Interested men are invited to attend a dinner at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 30 at Tabernacle Baptist.
"We'll kick things off with that informational night, then we'll meet once a month for four months," Yaley explained. "We will each write a letter during those sessions. Ideally, we're going to schedule the first one for Feb. 11, and at that one, husbands are going to present the first letter that they each write to their wives for Valentine's Day. The second one will be to their kids, the third to their parents, whether they are alive or not, and then the last one that's supposed to be read after they're dead. Of course, it will not be limited to just four letters; they can build upon that for as long as they like."
The dinner is free, but men are asked to RSVP by calling the church, (712) 475-2801 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Yaley foresees offering the program twice a year, perhaps with a second session beginning in September.
"I think there's more that can come out of this than just the letters that get written," emphasized Yaley. "It's about being part of something that's going to outlive us all, leaving a legacy of something."
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