A few weeks ago I shared a moving video about a young couple and their newborn child that inspired many of you to tell me your own stories of love, loss and the dignity of every human life. Today I want to tell you how that video came to be – and to introduce you to the two very special men, a real-life father and son, who starred in the short feature “A Letter from Dad.”
Jim Mhoon serves as the vice president of content development here at Focus. Among other things, Jim is heading up our efforts on The Family Project, our follow-up to The Truth Project. One day, a member of his team gave Jim a letter which had been forwarded to us from our Australia office. Jim cried as he read the letter, and enthusiastically agreed that it should be made into a video.
Soon it came time to cast the actors for the video, including someone to play a father, and a young man with special needs to play his son. Once again, Jim was approached, and once again, he said yes. You see, the reason why Jim had been especially moved by the letter is because his own son, Kyle, was born with a rare genetic condition that has left him with severe cognitive disabilities and profound hearing loss.
“Who you see in the video is my son exactly as he is in real life,” Jim explains. “Kyle is calm and observant.” He’s also Jim’s faithful companion on fly-fishing trips and some Focus on the Family events. “Whatever I’m doing, he does.”
Jim readily admits it was tough to finally receive the diagnosis of Coffin-Lowry syndrome when Kyle was four years old. After a period of struggle, however, God’s reply to Moses at the burning bush jumped out to Jim:
Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? (Exodus 4:11)
He was reminded again that God not only created Kyle but that He was also big enough to take ownership for Kyle. What Jim needed to do was trust God every day, and do his best to take care of his son. It would be a lifelong learning process, but Jim was committed to it.
Through the years of raising Kyle, God imprinted a deep truth on Jim’s heart. The phrases found in Scripture, “no greater love” and “laying down one’s life,” sometimes mean living for someone else. That revelation changed Jim’s outlook on the tasks he shares with all parents of children with special needs.
“After all,” Jim earnestly asks, “who are we really serving? You can express your love for Christ every single day by serving them. You can pour your life out for them. If you can remember that, it changes everything.”
I’ve shared this because I want to give you a small glimpse of the types of hearts of the men and women here at Focus, working on initiatives like The Family Project. This is more than just a job to them. It’s a passion birthed out of their own encounters with God, and the lessons He’s taught them along life’s journey. Someone like Jim lives and breathes to share with others the truth that every life is created in God’s image and has inherent dignity. I hope that sense of conviction and calling is evident in everything we do.
In the end, isn’t it fitting that the Lord would use a young man unable to communicate via traditional means to help lift up and relay profound truths?