Imagine a Christian couple, both in their 70’s, struggling on a day-to-day basis. Meet Wanda and Joe Parker. I was blessed to work with Wanda as an intern in Children’s Ministry at Mariners Church while I was an undergrad at UCI. Wanda is a woman of God – faithful and obedient. I am blessed to have such a woman of strength as an example in my life.
Wanda has worked with children and families for 40+ years in both secular and Christian settings. She has served as a VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America), Children’s Director and Family Pastor in three Orange County, California churches, the co-founder of Children’s Christian Ministry Association, developed an after school ministry “SAY Yes!” for Campus Crusade, and presently serves as President/CEO of KidTrek. Wanda met Joe Parker the first day of VISTA training – little did they know what God had planned for them. Wanda and Joe were both assigned to serve in a migrant labor camp in Texas. Working side by side, they fell in love and were married when they returned to California. Joe served as a Boy’s Club Director for 10 years, for Brother Andrew’s Open Doors ministry, Wycliffe Associates, and Campus Crusade. Joe’s last vocation was as a fundraising consultant to various Christian ministries across the globe. Wanda and Joe have been married for 48 years. They have three grown children – all serving the Lord in some capacity – along with eight grandchildren (one of which they have never met in person).
Joe and Wanda have endured innumerable health issues over the last few years – painful for them both physically and financially. They lost their home when the mortgage became upside down. They’ve had to sell their cabin, at a Christian campground, that has been in their family for generations. Their funds are stretched as far and wide as they can possibly go. Now Joe has become afflicted with a mysterious illness that the doctors have yet to definitively diagnose and an unbearable level of pain that they have been unable to manage successfully.
God has pressed it upon my heart to do something to help. I thought it would be helpful to raise funds to cover the out-of-pocket medical expenses, gasoline for the many doctor and hospital visits, and to ease the cost of everyday living expenses for Joe and Wanda. It’s always interesting when a mere human tries to control how to help. ;-) I approached Wanda and expressed my interest in spearheading this campaign. I asked her WHAT she and Joe needed help with financially and HOW MUCH would realistically make a difference in their situation. She expressed that what would be most helpful would be to raise funds to assist her daughter Dana and family to come for an extended visit from Canada. This would involve the purchase of a vehicle for travel as they don’t currently have one, gasoline for the roundtrip, and living expenses for approximately three months while they would be in Southern California. Dana would be able to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual support to her mom and dad during this season. A tangible need that Dana will be assisting with is securing a less expensive home for Joe and Wanda, helping them to downsize (again), and finally to pack in preparation for this move. This would also provide the opportunity for Joe and Wanda to meet their youngest grandson who they have never met in person.
Please prayerfully consider making as generous a gift as you can. My hope is that we can raise enough funds to cover the travel expenses for family to get to Joe and Wanda plus still be able to assist them with their medical (insurance is $850 per month) and living expenses. Your donation will make a world of difference to Joe and Wanda. Thank you in advance for your prayers and financial generosity.