Rhonda Wenger, a dear sister who has been attending Crossway for several years, just left this past Friday for France, where she is pursuing language training to eventually serve in missions in the African nation of Togo. Rhonda has been a blessing to so many at Crossway. Here are a few voices (from the many!) to honor her as she heads out in service of our Lord:
I am so glad for this opportunity to honor my sister and best friend, Rhonda; there are numerous qualities in her life that are a reflection of Christ. She has great love for her Savior and the Gospel. She loves God’s word and, besides her regular study of it, has committed large segments to memory.
Rhonda loves to serve. For her it is pure joy, reflecting her love for God and people, rather than an attempt to fulfill her obligation to one of God’s requirements. Rhonda is quick to put others needs before her own. Just the other day, in the midst of the hectic busyness that precedes a move of this magnitude, we learned that one of our acquaintances had experienced a major disaster. Rhonda’s immediate response was, “Oh, they’ll be needing help—let’s go help them.” Never mind that she still had hundreds of things to do in a short time; in typical fashion, and without hesitation or sense of obligation, she was enthusiastically ready to be there for them.
Rhonda is an excellent encourager. It has long been her desire to grow in encouraging, and it is beautiful to see how God has been growing her in that area. She readily notices when others are faithful to Christ and then is purposeful in commending them for it. She is also faithful to point out sin, something I have benefitted from on multiple occasions. Knowing how much she loves God and the gospel, and that she desires my growth in God makes correction much easier to receive.
Rhonda connects well with people, taking genuine interest in them and in what is important to them. When I visited her in Africa she had only been there a short time, but everyone knew her (and she knew them) and they all loved her. She would spend time with the locals, eating their food, caring about their lives, struggling to learn their language and express herself in their mother tongue. She spent hours with the missionary kids and local kids, playing with them, enthusiastically participating in all sorts of things like butchering and eating a python or hiking to a waterfall. She took part in the missionaries lives and served them with joy. With her warm and welcoming spirit, and her contagious enthusiasm for life, who wouldn’t love her?
Rhonda, it is so beautiful to see how God has prepared you for this next season, and how he is molding you and shaping you more into His likeness. I know He will continue the good work in you which He has begun, and I’m excited to see how He will work in you and through you in this next chapter.
It has been a joy to have Rhonda in our care group these past 3 1/2 years. She has always been someone who brings honesty, humility, care, and fun to our group. One thing that our group has gotten to enjoy from Rhonda is her snack selections. She would often bring things that had been pickled and there seemed to be no limit to what that might be (green beans, beets, veggies, or even okra). To my surprise, they were always tried by everyone and the jars were frequently empty by the end of the night.
I have also greatly appreciated her servant heart. Her example is one that I hope each lady in the group will use as an example in how to honor God through serving women/families in our church. In preparation for the birth of our third child, Rhonda put together a cleaning crew to prep the house; she and her sister painted the baby’s room; and brought several meals after the pregnancy. Any time you thank Rhonda she is always sure to point back to God. She is always wanting to give God glory. She will be missed, but not forgotten for the excellent example she gave to all of us.
Rhonda… this lady is such a gift to our family. She has taught us so many things, but here’s one that means a lot to me. The other night we said goodbye to Rhonda and went around saying what we were grateful to God for in her life. My Weston, with tears in his eyes, said, “I love that Rhonda talks to me like I’m someone real, and she listens to me, too!” I was so affected by this. Rhonda has loved my children, and has taken the time to show them that she truly cares about them individually. While she could spend her time just engaging adults (which she does humbly), she has chosen to engage children, on their level, addressing them with the utmost respect, and that is the truest example of humility! There are so many other ways that Rhonda has been exemplary: serving our family by helping me clean (with a “Thank you” to ME when she leaves!), babysitting at a moment’s notice, asking questions about things to gain clarity in her beliefs and understanding, offering humble input on my mothering as she watched from her unique vantage point, encouraging me and the children any time she could, and countless other ways! We are going to miss her so much, and we are so grateful that God saved her and brought her to this Church, where he used her to teach us how to be more like Christ!