Not on Beth Steward’s Watch

A Child without a Birthday Cake? ….


The Elmo version of her cake is a big hit.

So are the Spiderman and the football cakes – at least when the Indianapolis Colts are winning.


But no matter which one of the 20 different characters Beth Steward places on a cake, the delectable treat is sure to be met with a heart of gratitude from a child who otherwise would not have a cake on his or her birthday.


Steward, for the past couple of years, has volunteered with The Caring Place by creating birthday cakes for the inner-city children the ministry serves in Indianapolis. She makes about two cakes each month for kids she’s probably never met, just so that they have birthdays they will never forget – birthdays during which they experience the love of Christ. Each birthday cake is accompanied with a Bible scripture, birthday card and candles.

“My heart goes to the kids,” Steward says. “A child without a birthday cake? That’s just not right. That’s basically how I got started. I like doing it for the kids.”


And Steward’s nine-year-old granddaughter likes doing it for the other kids, too. The mission-minded girl helps Steward with her cakes sometimes.

“They were no Picasso,” Steward says with a laugh, “but they were pretty good.”


The activity is allowing her granddaughter to learn just how much her acts of kindness can be a blessing to other people. One of the first cakes they made together featured a butterfly illustration, she recalls.


Steward also has had the opportunity to auction off two of her cakes at The Caring Place’s annual benefit auction along with two certificates guaranteeing that she would make a certain cake upon request. The volunteer had always created cakes for her own kids when they were growing up, and she realizes that many kids in today’s society take for granted that they will have cakes on their birthdays.


Steward says her efforts to give aren’t very costly: They require just a few hours, some cake mix and a couple of eggs. To her, it’s a small investment that goes a long way in showing kids God’s love through chocolate and French vanilla.


“God has really blessed my hands to do a lot of different things, and I just feel that’s the way to give,” Steward says.



Boys ll Men Ministry


                                    Bringing Young Incarcerated Souls to Christ





Eddie Rosario still remembers hearing God speak subtly to him, right in his 10-foot-by-10-foot prison cell: “Follow me.” Years later, he is using those same words – and making them loud and clear – when he invites about 30 incarcerated boys each month to accept Jesus. His efforts with the ministry he started, called Boys II Men, has helped to bring hundreds of children in the juvenile detention center to a saving knowledge of Christ.


Boys II Men, which will be five years old in January 2013, allows Rosario along with Steve McIntyre and Simon Deleon to minister to members of the juvenile justice system in Indianapolis twice a month. After Rosario spent 20 years in the penitentiary for murder, his passion goes beyond merely rehabilitating the incarcerated but rather keeping young boys from throwing their lives away in crime in the first place.



“It’s been a true blessing to have these guys share this vision with me,” Rosario says of McIntyre and Deleon. “It’s my passion because my philosophy is prevention.”



When the three men visit boys in the juvenile justice system each month, they share their personal testimonies along with the Word of God. Their goal, hence the name of their ministry, is to teach boys how to become real men – but their chief aim is to teach them how to become true men of God. They use the season of the year or a holiday of the current month as their theme when relaying the message of Christ to the kids.


Many boys from the juvenile justice system have always been told they would remain gangbangers, drug dealers or thieves all of their lives. They also have been taught incorrect information about Jesus and salvation. Rosario always encourages these boys not to “let anyone lead you to the Word of God – do it on your own.” In addition to encouraging the boys to read the Word and to pursue God for themselves, he always ends each session asking the kids if they are ready to give themselves to God.


Out of the 12 to 15 kids that Boys II Men speaks with in each session, about 80 percent choose to accept the Lord.

Rosario, who was born and raised in Chicago, makes it clear to the kids that all of the people they put first in their lives – their family members and friends – eventually will die. If they put Jesus in fifth place, how can they expect a blessing? After all, blessings don’t come from the floor up, he says.


Rosario actually first came to Jesus when he heard a subtle call to him by his family name while he was in prison – a name no one else in the prison knew. He opened his eyes in the middle of the night, heard the words, “Follow me,” and jumped up. No one was around. That is when he finally opened the Bible his female friend had sent him eight years ago. He came across a highlighted verse that showed him God had been with him the entire time:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).


The female friend that gave him this Bible is now his wife of 10 years, and the Boys II Men founder keeps the Jeremiah 29:11 verse inscribed in his wedding ring and hanging in his home. It’s the same message he takes with him to the juvenile detention cells every month to boys who desperately need a second chance at hope.


Rosario, McIntyre and Deleon ask, “Please pray for us as we continue to minister to young incarcerated boys who need to know Christ, and pray specifically that we can disciple them so that they remain committed to living their lives for Christ!”







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