Ours is a love story for which I am forever thankful. Susie took my hand in marriage August 27, 1982 and is treasured as My Bride to this day. The person I am today is because of her encouragement and unfailing love. When I was unsure of God's forgiveness, she became the expression of His grace. The many times I felt like giving up on my dreams, she reminded me it was God's work and not mine.
Together we are the parent of our Ebie fab five: Chrysta, Grace, Greg, Pearl and Michael. When the kids were little people said we had our hands full; Susie's favorite response was, "No only one hand; one, two, three, four, five." We always said, “Love never divides, but only multiplies.”
Our kids grew up PK's with all that means growing up in a 'glass house parsonage' (perhaps only other pastor's kids can appreciate that). Put simply family was our first priority of ministry, a priority not everyone understood or appreciated. One way we kept the kids first was our homeshool; all five of the kids spent the majority of their time learning from mom and dad. People were always wondering about their socialization; from our perspective it was great seeing the kids not only interact with their peers, but to also be comfortable talking with adults. Maybe that's what was uncomfortable for these questioning adults.
Today our kids are all young adults. We have watched love continue to multiply as four are now happily married. And yes, the best part of that is their gift to Nana and Papa: three grandchildren. Our legacy is that all of our kids and their families love Jesus. For this we will always rejoice; we could have no greater blessing!
When Susie first took my hand as her husband, she did so knowing my dream to answer the LORD’S call into fulltime ministry. It was an eight years struggle through a real ‘school of hard knocks’ to get there. However, through those early years of continuing our education, working and starting our family we learned some valuable life lessons.
No college or seminary prepares either the pastor or his wife to know how to identify with the people attending the church. It's not enough for us to know how to preach and be everyone's bible answer man. We needed the important life lessons God gave us to better love, understand and teach His sheep.
Together we gave the last twenty-nine years to three congregations and communities. It was time I pray has been well invested; only eternity will tell that story when we stand before the LORD.
When we came to Life Church in Garrettsville, it was with the desire to serve in the same place for twenty-five years or more. In the same way I loved Susie and was committed to her for better or worse, I did not want to leave a church, a part of the Bride of Christ, just because things were not going well. If God called me to leave, I wanted it to be when things were going well.
God had a different plan for us to follow. After nineteen years, I resigned saying for the final time, "I love you all" to the congregation at Life Chruch. Together Susie and I are walking hand in hand into a new chapter of ministry launching The First Faith in September 2017.
Our desire is to help followers of Jesus "to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). We invite you to join us on this journey to know Jesus through the faith first given.