We are family from Lancaster County, PA. I (Ron) am a graduate of Lancaster Bible College and I (Joan) have my RN from Lancaster General School of Nursing. We’ve served as missionary church planters for 25 years. We’ve been married for 35 years. We have four children (two of which were severely disable from birth). We’ve planted two churches and have been a resource to many others through the Rural Home Missionary Association (RHMA). We’ve been foster parents to seven medically needy children, one of whom we adopted. We have authored three books. We are now full-time caregivers to family members (Joan’s parents and two of our children). (A four part podcast is found on our home page.)
In the telling of our story and the sharing of important principles, we would be remiss if we didn’t explain the most important of them. Of all the things that Joan and I have written, we wouldn’t want you to overlook this one. It explains, more than anything else, how we’ve been able to make it as a family. Before we can explain it we must set the backdrop for why this principle is so critical.
The disappointments of our life, the pain we have experienced in watching our children suffer, the frustration of not being able to find a cure or therapy that will substantially help – all of these undeniably and vividly remind us that we live in a broken world. Fortunately, there is an explanation for our experience, one that also points to the solution. The Bible contains that explanation – the presence of evil in our world, which directly or indirectly causes the suffering we experience.
God’s Word explains to us that the disobedience of the first man and woman was the entrance of evil into the world. It also says that, by nature and by choice, every individual fails to be the good person God asks him to be. If we are honest, we realize that we fail to live up to our own ideals of what it means to be a truly good person, let alone God’s expectations for us. The result is that we feel guilt, are guilty of wrongdoing before God and directly or indirectly experience a multitude of other ways in which the world is less satisfying and beautiful than what God originally designed for us. The bad news is that we share in the responsibility for the presence of evil in our world.
Fortunately, God in his love for us provided a solution. The answer was his coming into our world in the person of Jesus, that historic figure who changed the world. Through his life he modeled what it means to live a life of love for God and love for other people. He exhibited all the character that we, in our better moments, long to possess. Most importantly, what he accomplished was the cure each of us needs – forgiveness for sin and the undoing of the consequences of sin. He did this by laying down his life for us, taking the punishment for sin. This good news is for all who will receive it.
The best part of God’s solution, and the purpose of his providing it, is that we can know him. He is our joy.
In our youth, Joan and I have each responded to this good news from God, receiving his salvation. As we’ve grown older and faced various situations in our lives, we’ve also grown in our realization of what a valuable gift we have received.
With Jesus come all kinds of wonderful promises for those who receive him and his salvation. One of those promises is that one day our children will be healthy and whole in every way – physically and emotionally as well as spiritually. For us, this is not wishful thinking; it is our hope, a certainty that allows us to keep moving forward with our lives. Jesus is the ultimate reason for the success of our family. We gratefully give the credit to him.
Our friend, Nancy Landis Wright, wrote a song for our daughter. It is called Simple Things (Kari’s Song). Enjoy.