I was born in Ohio in the heart of Amish country. I grew up with three sisters. My parents were Christians and we were in church everytime the doors were open. We had a good family.
I accepted Jesus at the age of thirteen but did not really allow Him to change me until I was nineteen and some life experiences made me realize I wanted God to make a difference in my life. When I was twenty, I decided there must be a bigger world out there somewhere and decided to see it. I traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, where I lived for five years.
During that time I met the young lady I would marry and moved to California to be closer to her. We married a year later and soon began our family. Our children, Ryan, Matt, and Amy, are the greatest blessing we could have ever asked for. Other than a few small bumps in the road, our family life with them was the best part of my life. I have so many wonderful memories of them growing up, and I miss them now that they are all married and on their own.
From the day we were married, my wife and I were determined to give our children the best life we were able to give them and to tell and show them every day how much we loved them! We also wanted them to grow up knowing God and making Him a part of their lives just as He was a part of ours.
We were part of a non-denominational church in Visalia and were actively involved for the years we lived there. We were part of an ABF (adult sunday school) and had many wonderful friendships. I was involved in church leadership for ten years. Our children had many friends in the community and church. We had a great life. Leaving all that behind was the most difficult and painful thing we had ever experienced.
We moved back to Ohio when Ryan was in seventh grade, Matt in fourth, and Amy in kindergarten. It was a difficult transition for my wife and I and for some of the children. Even though we had a great place to live in the country, the schools were good, my family lived close by, and I had an enjoyable job, we missed the friends and church in California that we had known for fifteen years. Finding a church home here was a very frustrating and difficult search; even the children became tired of going to different places every Sunday. We finally found a home at a local Free Methodist church and loved it.
Life here in Ohio was good. We all adapted to living here and although we missed friends and family from California, after several years we all agreed this is where we wanted to be. It is an amazing story of God leading us here, providing a job for me better than I would have ever thought possible, a wonderful place to live, a new church family and friends, and a new life in Ohio that was better than we ever dreamed it would be when we first moved here. Eventually, we were able to build our “dream house” in the countryside, a place we all thought would be home for the Gerbers and Gerber grandchildren until we moved to the city with streets of gold.
Sadly, it was not going to be. It is not necessary to talk about why or when or how, but after twenty-five years of marriage and God’s blessings in our lives, I made decisions that took me down a terrible road. A road of adultery. A road of disappointment, devastation, and heartbreak to all of my family. Blinded by my own choices and selfishness, I destroyed the life God had blessed me with.
Through counseling, the love, support, and prayers of family and friends, and God’s grace and forgiveness, my life has been restored. No, my marriage has not been restored. But I have! I have children who have loved me through it all. I have a family that has always been here for me. I have a good job, a place to call home, and new friends along with a few old friends that never gave up on me. It is an ongoing and daily battle, but I put the past where it belongs — in the past.
In recent years, I have said that there is one good thing — and only one — that can come out of the choices I made. And that one thing is this: I have known for several years that God wants me to tell my story to as many people as possible. Perhaps after hearing my story, they will choose the right path and choose to avoid the selfish, self-centered, sinful road I travelled and avoid the heartache and devastation to themselves and their families. If, as a result of my telling my story, at least one man, one woman, and one marriage will be saved, then some good has resulted.
So that is why I am here. That is why I am telling again so many things I would love to forget. When my daughter Amy shared her vision for a ministry to families, I knew it was from God. He has used her in a very powerful way to make “Redeem the Family” a reality. It is through her that God has begun a work in her life and mine that will hopefully touch the lives of many and redeem lives of men and women and children.
I had often wondered what I was going to do with my life now that my children are married and have new lives (besides spoiling my grandchildren!) Now I know without any doubt what God has for me to do.
Amy and I are both on a mission. We want God to use us through Redeem The Family in every possible way. There is so much we want to share with you. We want you to learn and grow from our experiences. We are here to help you in any way we can!