The Way of a Bride with Her Groom
The text was simple that portentous Tuesday morning: "Please pray for us, we've been hit by a truck." It came from my daughter, Kristi, as I was entering the Wal-Mart there in Canon City, Colorado, where I was waiting for Rachel to arrive. We had planned to help Asher, Teresa, and her family prepare for their wedding in just four days. But, out of nowhere, a hulking Dodge Ram pickup came crashing through the driver's door, right into the delicate body of my wife. It was 10:40, the morning of November 6, 2012. Nothing could have prepared me for what lay ahead. Rachel and I had seldom talked about what it would be like to lose each other. We had filed an official will with the Griffith Law Office in International Falls, Minnesota, many years before. We had both outlined basic funeral plans as well, and she had updated hers just the year before in 2011. But to actually try to imagine what such a scenario would be like… it just wasn't something we wanted to do.
Ernest Witmer is an ordained minister in the Mennonite church. For over twenty-five years he has pastored churches in northern Minnesota and southern California where he now resides with his family in the Los Angeles community of Highland Park. He lost Rachel, his bride of 28 years and 17 days, in a tragic car accident on the weekend of their second son's wedding in November 2012. Ernest and Rachel have five adult children, and his children and three grand-buddies are his constant delight. Teaching from the Scriptures about marriage and family is a favorite for Ernest. He teaches in Bible schools as well as church and youth camp settings and does itinerant work in churches throughout the United States and in some foreign contexts. Ernest is an avid Facebook contributor and has written for Sunday school publications and Christian school curricula. Ernest is currently the president of the L.A. ROAD (Los Angeles Real-Life Opportunities and Discipleship) ministry, a 501c3 non-profit in Los Angeles. The L.A. ROAD does house church development throughout Los Angeles and the Greater Los Angeles Surrounding Suburbs (GLASS). The L.A. ROAD also orchestrates an annual two-week Evening Bible Camp (EBC) in July and does systematic follow-up with a weekly Kids Club ministry year round. Ernest does in-home marriage and family counseling, regularly meeting with couples and children from various church and non-church backgrounds and ethnicities. He is a certified administrator for the Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis profile and regularly facilitates seminars using the Caring for the Heart and Hope for the Family materials. Not the least of all, Ernest loves to mentor men. He will give whatever time it takes to encourage fathers and sons, husbands, divorcees and their children to follow in the footsteps of Jesus to become sacrificial servant leaders in their homes, churches, and communities. Ernest can be reached at 323-333-2279 or by writing to (or stopping by) 230 S. Avenue 55, Los Angeles, CA 90042. His email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. He can also be contacted via: https://www.facebook.com/ernest.witmer.