So many changes have taken place since we wrote Joy in a Foreign land. Here are some updates to our family story.
Kari will be thirty-one years old in October. She is an amazingly contented young lady. Though she continues to battle seizures, her health is relatively stable. We continue to care for her in our home.
Jeremy graduated from Lancaster Bible College. He is employed with a non-profit organzation that cares for adults with disabilities through residential group homes. Jeremy is a coordinator of four of those residencies.
After twenty-five years of church planting ministry, in 2011 we returned to Lancaster County, PA. We began a ministry to medically needy foster children, which we call “Ryan’s Home Ministry.” Out of the seven children who were in our home, one became available for adoption. And so, we became parents again in 2015 (of a three year old).
Shortly after beginning foster care, we built an addition to our home in order to care for Joan’s parents. As a result, family members now range from four to eighty-four years old.
In addition to the personal care we are providing to family members, each of us are working on book projects. Joan’s book tells of our stepping out in faith in 2000 to become a resource to other church planters. It is the adventure of our five years of living on the road. Ron’s book flows out of the experience of twenty-five years of pastoral ministry and his desire to see the local church follow New Testament principles in the area of church leadership.
Last year we had the priviledge of meeting Chuck Girard. He was the worship leader and Ron was the Bible teacher at the Willimantic Camp Meeting Association in Willimantic, CT last year.
On the 16th of this month, our family attended his concert at the Junction Center (Manheim, PA). It was so good to connect with him again. We loved the concert, especially because we've come to love the man. Also, If you are interested in the history of contemporary Christian music, Chuck is the guy to listen to. Anyone remember the group "Love Song?" But perhaps more significant to us is that Chuck was part of the Jesus Movement, what some refer to as the 5th Awakening / Revival in American history. It is one thing to hear or read about awakenings. It is much more gripping to have a personal connection to such history. In his concert, Chuck showed video of a large baptism in the Pacific Ocean. He tells of concerts in a park in which large groups wouldspontaneously gather and many would respond to the gospel. It whets the appetite for God to move in a similar way in a parched and weary land.
With only ten days notice, Ron got a call asking if he would be able to fill in as camp pastor for Christian Overcomers. He said yes, which meant preparing ten messages for the evening and morning chapels! God provided. It was an awesome week of ministry. And the weather was perfect at Spruce Lake Retreat in the Poconos (see photos).
After nearly 13 years of having an adult child with a disability, our home is well outiffted with disability equipment. Never before have we had the combination of a 1) full-size van with wheel-chair lift 2) ramp to our front door and 3) a ceiling lift for transfers. We are grateful (see photo of our wheelchair van)