To the church at 4th and Race in Philadelphia, greetings in God’s grace and peace.
Wayne are I writing to let you know that we thank God for your ministry to the least, the lost and the lowest in Philadelphia. We have felt welcomed into your community and outreach ministries with love and encouragement. A simple invitation for a ride from Glenside to Old City opened our hearts to a world of service in our “backyard” that your church family has embraced as part of your identity. God is truly working through the services you provide to every guest who arrives in need.
While our hearts and minds have grown in mercy with you, we have also been invested volunteers in a home repair ministry based in Johnson City, Tennessee. With the mission of making homes warmer, safer and drier, Appalachia Service Project (ASP) deploys thousands of volunteers per year in both a summer youth program and year round adult program working on more than 650 homes in 2014.
ASP was started in 1969 by a United Methodist minister whose dream was to accept people right where they are, just the way they are, and provide an opportunity for youth to be impacted. Turns out we have been deeply impacted.
We were invited to serve as youth leaders when we had children in high school who attended the trip and kept participating after they graduated. We have been blessed to lead more than 10 youth trips and most recently have started taking multiple adult trips per year.
Over the last 18 months, God has been working in our hearts and leading us through a series of circumstances that have put us in a position of feeling invited to commit ourselves more fully to the ministry of ASP. As a result, we will be relocating to TN with the intention that Jen will be available to volunteer full time while Wayne will be pursuing a staff position with ASP.
We’re grateful for the relationships, experiences and opportunities we’ve shared with you. And, as we step out in faith, we pray that you will recognize the invitations and opportunities you have to be used by God here in Philadelphia and wherever God might nudge you to consider.
Living into our life verse, James 1.22 — “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says ” — and trusting all of God’s promises,
Wayne and Jen Rickert