Here’s the in-depth bio for Sherry and Rick: RETURN HOME
- Married at 18 years old in Feb, 1972
- Both of us gave ourselves completely to Jesus on April Fool’s Day, 1973
- First child, Jason was born January 24th, 1976
- Sold everything and went to Tecate, Mexico in 1977, where Rick was Assistant to the Director of Tecate Mission
- After a year in Mexico, we set up a non-profit organization called The Fishermen, which was an evangelism and discipleship ministry to military and business folks. Rick’s part of the org was to focus on military (Balboa Naval Hospital) personnel and handle all the administrative activities of the corporation. After a couple of years, our funding completely dried up and we were asking the Lord to send us either a potful of $$ or a job that paid a certain amount. He chose the job . . .
- Second child, Carrie was born July 12th, 1978.
- Somewhere around 1980/1981, Rick was offered and accepted a position as Church Administrator for Mt. Soledad Presbyterian Church in La Jolla, CA. The church was at the time about 1,000 members. When the pastor’s theology and teaching began to change rather dramatically, the church suffered through a significant loss of members. When all was said and done, there were only about 200 left . . . and they sure didn’t need a Church Administrator!
- As my position at the church was winding down, the Choir Director’s husband invited me to start a new company with him, which I did – and began 25+ years in the commercial floorcovering marketplace as both a contractor and later a manufacturer’s rep. During this time, Sherry and I continued involvement in various community ministries, which we sometimes led – and sometimes just participated in. We were busy with 3 kids and concentrated on family and church.
- Third child, Daniel was born December 24th, 1980.
- In about 2001, things really began to change for us; Sherry began reading books like “Rich Christians In an Age of Hunger,” and started becoming aware of the horrific needs of the greater church in the Developing world. Our son, Daniel was an Intercultural Studies major at Biola University and feeding her books he was studying as part of his program. Then in 2002, Daniel’s girlfriend Bethany, (now his wife) came to live with us for the summer between her Junior and Senior year (our son was in Thailand and Afghanistan with World Vision). In order to graduate, Bethany had to complete 6 weeks in an intercultural setting. She went to Uganda for those 6 weeks, returned to our house and we were subjected to desktop photos of Bethany with Dr. Scott Kellermann and the Batwa pygmies. Sherry saw one photo with Bethany (who had no medical training) holding a stethoscope to the chest of a pygmy baby, and commented, “I could do that!” Our lives haven’t been the same since then!
- Somewhere around 2002-2003, we began attending Grace Brethren Church, Long Beach, where Pastor Lou Huesmann was teaching about a Kingdom Gospel that was so much bigger than “praying a prayer” and getting “fire insurance.” He spoke about a Gospel that was holistic and impacted all of people’s lives – including their heads and souls; that Jesus was inviting people into a missional life, participating with Him in His process of restoration and redemption.
- Sherry sent an email to the doc Bethany worked with in Uganda, saying, “We’ve never been to Africa; we have no medical training, but if you think we could be helpful, we’re willing to give it a try.” He wrote back two words, “Just come!” As a result, we spent the summer of 2005 in SW Uganda, at the entrance to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, caring with him and his staff, for the disenfranchised and displaced Batwa Pygmies. During that summer, Rick also spent two weeks in the NE part of Uganda in a region called Karamoja, where he helped a Veterinary missionary with CVM collect data on animal diseases. It was there that Rick was nearly killed by a witch doctor, surrounded by AK-47 wielding warriors, with the witch doctor yelling, “You’re white, you’re fat, you have money and I want it!” Rick didn’t give him money . . . and obviously lived to tell the tale. A story for another time
- Being in Africa that summer significantly shaped our future. Sherry had just finished a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal/Social Justice (not surprising that she finished #1 in her class!) and was starting Nursing School in the Fall of 2005. Rick had continued working full time in the flooring business while also going to Jr. College full time to complete General Ed requirements. When we returned from Africa, Rick walked away from floorcovering to concentrate on an Animal Science degree (and live at “the Farm” on the campus of Cal Poly Pomona), which he completed in March, 2007. [We had also leased our home in Huntington Beach, which became our only source of income during the time we were both in school full time; we lived a year at Cal Poly Pomona, then another year at Cal State Fullerton as house parents for the Alpha Chi Omega sorority and a final half year in an apartment in Long Beach] Rick went immediately into an MBA program focusing on International Development, which completed at the end of 2008. From the time we returned from Uganda at the end of the summer of 2005, every decision we made was focused on preparation to return to Africa and invest permanently in the lives of those without Hope and too often without an Advocate. It was during Rick’s MBA studies that he came across Water For All and began corresponding with Terry and Kathy Waller. Much of his studies focused on intercultural mission challenges, along with Appropriate Technology and water issues in sub-Saharan East Africa.
- Last year, Sherry and Rick spent March through early June in Africa, most of that time in Sudan, working at a very remote hospital in a village named Werkok. By that time, she was an experienced ER nurse and worked in the hospital every day. Rick worked with the local folks, ultimately negotiating a deal with Governor Kuol Manyang Juuk to bring a $40k tractor to the hospital at a cost of around $1,700. We planted the first 3 acres (sorghum) in that area in 10 years!
- This year (2010), Sherry spent February through May in Davao, Philippines, completing an internship as a midwife at a charity “lying-in clinic” for desperately poor women. Rick spent July and August with Terry Waller in San Julian, Bolivia, with the express intent to acquire enough experience to start well-drilling clubs in Africa.
- In September, 2010, we signed on with WFA, actually signing a contract, in which I agreed to become a WFA volunteer in Uganda! We leave the first week of January for Soroti, Uganda, to work in partnership with Global Care, an international NGO focused on addressing the needs of marginalized children.
- Sherry will be working with Progeny, Inc., an organization focused on orphans, along with the growing problem of child trafficking, enslavement, and sexual exploitation with a “boots-on-the-ground” approach to doing something about these insidious crimes against children.
Phew! Congratulations if you’ve read this far!! These last few years have been a whirlwind!