Bob Spath and his wife Sara pose with their children at Willow Bend Country Club for the community’s annual Good Friday Morning Prayer Breakfast Friday morning. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
Bob Spath and his wife Sara pose with their children at Willow Bend Country Club for the community’s annual Good Friday Morning Prayer Breakfast Friday morning. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
VAN WERT – A crowd of 250 people gathered at Willow Bend Country Club for the community’s annual Good Friday Morning Prayer Breakfast at 7 a.m. on Friday.

Following breakfast, Van Wert educator Bob Spath told the story of his family’s efforts to adopt a Haitian child, a journey that lasted for two and a half years before Eli, now age five, was finally secured.

“We knew that God had planned for Eli to be with us since the beginning of time,” said Spath. “Sara (wife) and I decided to adopt. We prayed about it; we read a book, God kept pushing us toward adoption.”

“I believe that adoption into a family teaches children how much God loves us,” continued Spath, an engineering teacher at Van Wert High School. “It took two and a half years to get this done. We never realized the time, energy and expenses that would be involved.”

“Those of you that are here, you know how much you would do for your children,” added Spath. “We felt the same way about Eli and all of our children. This was our son and we were willing to do all that we can to bring him around. We were willing to go to the ends of the earth to get him here.”

Earlier in his speech, Spath had referred to the passing of his own father several years earlier at Van Wert Manor. Spath said that God’s timing in taking his father was perfect. He had been asked to make a decision about a feeding tube for his father. The night before he was to give an answer, his father passed away, relieving him of the tough choice about the feeding tube.

“I think about my relationship with our children and my relationship with dad, right up to the time that he passed,” said Spath. “It reminded me of the relationship Jesus had with His Father and how He went to the ends of the Earth for us.”

Spath and his wife were both involved in the U.S. Navy, Sara for five years and Bob for eight years. Following their wedding during a major snowstorm in January of 1999, they each went to their respective deployments.

“I had little knowledge of who God was,” said Spath. “When she left, I was struggling with a lot of things. I felt like I was the only one on the planet struggling with the garbage that I was. I had placed a big wall around me and I was embarrassed about it.”

It was while he was in Virginia one night, Spath said, that God opened His eyes.

“That evening changed my life forever; God gave me an understanding of who Jesus Christ was and what He was to me,” noted Spath.

These days, the experience of that night still kindles the fire of faith that He shares with His family, Bible Study group and those God leads into His path that He prays with.