As I write this, it has been almost a year since we officially made the decision to trust the Lord’s guidance to take us to Michigan. It started out with doubts and sadness as we had to move away from dear people that we have served alongside for ten years in Beloit, Wisconsin. We were being asked to leave a house that we considered home. We were being asked to leave a city where two of our kids were born and all of them were raised. We had our favorite restaurants, knew fun places to go, started traditions, and had friends.
This past year has been a reminder that He alone is worthy of our trust! God is good all of the time! While we will never replace the friends and memories that we had made, He has provided new friends and memories for which we give Him thanks.
Our arrival to Michigan kept us busy with switching licenses, finding new doctors, searching for a home, and a seemingly endless supply of things that needed to be done. While going through the stresses and trials of life, we often forget how God can use them for His honor and glory. The summer brought memories in the form of one broken arm, several pet frogs, multiple walks to the library, a summer-fest celebration, another edifying Cowboy Camp experience in Missouri, visits with Nana Mac, and countless other memories.
Probably the biggest task we faced was finding an affordable home to fit seven people. Well, at the end of August, we signed the papers on our new home. It wasn’t the smoothest of transactions (difficult previous owners, a seeming endless amount of papers to sign) but the Ritchey family is excited to be settled in our own home. Not only did the Lord provide for our need in a cost-effective way, He graced us with a place with some land for the kids to play and explore.
The Lord has also given us a church where we have felt the excitement and warmth of serving the Lord together. We have felt appreciated and welcomed by our new church family. It has been a joy to get to know the dear saints and we are excited to partner with them as we serve the Lord in the Croton Community. We’ve already recognized the Lord using these people in our lives.
Now, we get to Bible Doctrines to Live By. As a minister, I find it is difficult to compartmentalize my life into factions. What happens at church helps our family which helps Bible Doctrines which helps the church which helps…you get the idea. It was a step of faith for Bible Doctrines to add me to their staff, but they were convinced of the need to reach our young people for the Lord. I have wonderful co-workers who have been patient and kind, and even though the ladies tend to get a little rowdy at times as Joel and I are meticulously and methodically working on various projects, they work hard for the Lord. This is the reason we have been able to get things accomplished – we work together for His honor.
Last but not least, I have been humbled by the response from so many of you toward the decision of Bible Doctrines to add me to the ministry. Your financial support, notes, and prayers have served to verify the Lord’s leading. From the bottom of all of our hearts, we wish to thank you for your encouragement.
From the Ritchey family to you, we wish you a Merry CHRISTmas and a Christ-filled New Year!