Ron and Rhonda – A little bit about us
Ron grew up in a good family on the south side of Chicago, but he wasn’t raised in church. He met Jesus through the witness of a neighbor in his apartment building when he was twenty-two years old. “I remember saying, ‘How come no one told me this before? Shouldn’t everyone be telling people about salvation?’”
Shortly after his born-again experience Ron decided to go to college to learn more about the bible. He attended a small school in Tennessee for two years and then received a scholarship to continue at Lee College in Cleveland, Tennessee where he earned his B.A. in Biblical Studies. After graduation God led him to law school because having been poor, he wanted to help others who were being taken advantage of by those with power. He had a successful career doing exactly that at East Tennessee Legal Aid, an organization that doesn’t charge clients but tries to help the poor for equal justice. After fourteen years as an attorney, Ron became the managing attorney of two Legal Aid offices. Two years later he received his call to the mission field and in 2009 he left the practice of law.
During his time in Tennessee he served the church filling in for pastors who needed time off, as youth pastor, children’s pastor, Sunday school teacher, outreach and evangelism leader, deacon, elder and actor for the church drama team.
Rhonda, compelled by her desire to reach the Aymara people of Bolivia in the best possible way, received her Master’s Degree in Intercultural Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. It is that same desire that keeps her studying currently for her PhD so that she can train and teach others to reach more with the message of the gospel. This has been her passion since the age of eight when she “loved to tell others about Jesus”. She received her bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from Covenant College by studying late into the night after putting her children to bed. She worked for various corporations as an information analyst until being called to the mission field full time in 2009. Between studying, working, and raising her children she served the Church in the choir, orchestra, Sunday school of all ages, and as part of the evangelism team.
Our calling to the Mission Field-A Real Miracle
Before the ministry was created, before we knew we were called, Rhonda and I both had successful careers. I was a lawyer working for Legal Aid, fighting for equal justice for the poor. It was a great job that allowed me to make an impact in the lives of poor people who were taken advantage of by those with power and money.
Rhonda was a information analyst, a job that required attention to detail and a lot of knowledge about the computer-technical world. She was respected and appreciated.
We were both in a good position and about to make “gains” in our careers. Our six kids were mostly grown and out of the house. We also served in our local church. Over the years we were Sunday school teachers, deacons, elders, on various committees, produced church dramas, conducted various outreaches, and played and sang in the church worship band. In other words, we were blessed.
But, both of us felt an uneasiness in our spirit. We were seeking God to see if there was something more, something else that He was calling us into. One long weekend Rhonda went away to Atlanta, Georgia to attend a woman’s conference. I decided to stay in the house and simply have a few days of prayer. It was during that time of prayer that I was “moved” in my spirit. Some might say God was speaking to me. Others might say God was laying a “burden” on me. I will simply tell you that God was delivering a message to me that He was calling me to the mission field.
Without any more direction than “To the mission field” I decided to call Rhonda and see how she would receive the news. I knew that if I called at the particular time in the afternoon she would still be in the conference so, I thought I would call and leave a message asking her to return the call as soon as she could. But when I called, she answered.
Rhonda asked me, “Why are you calling? I am supposed to be in the conference right now.”
I said, “Why are you answering? You are supposed to be in the conference right now-I was just going to leave a message.”
She then asked what I wanted to speak with her about and I told her the news-that God was telling me that we were to be missionaries. She immediately began to cry. I thought to myself, “Oh-oh. This is not good.” So, I said, “Don’t cry. I could be wrong.”
But Rhonda responded by saying, “I am crying because God is telling me the same thing. It’s why I am not in the conference. I can’t think of anything else.”
So we continued to seek God for more information. How? Where? When?
I can tell you that each response was just as miraculous. There continued to be crazy confirmations and always with agreement between us. There were encouragements just when we needed it. There was direction when we seemed lost. But those were just the first steps that led us in 2009 to quit our jobs and move to Bolivia with barely enough money to do so. Our youngest son, thirteen-year-old Sam, went with us and we simply laid it all out before God. We would either receive help financially or we would be on a plane flying back to the U.S. where we would start over. But God came through and so did people who believed in what we were doing.
This year, 2018, the ministry turns 10 years old. And as far as we are concerned, although we have 5 current church plants and one in the early stages of development, and we have saved many lives through medical efforts, and we have told many about Jesus who had never heard the name before, and though we have prayed for salvation with too many people to count, and seen many miracles, and taught, and baptized, and cried with those who cried, and laughed with those who laughed, …..we are just beginning.
Here I am Lord, send me. Isaiah 6:8