Our Story

Eric and Bethany

Chapter 1 – a guy and a girl

We first met in 2003 at First Baptist Church in Cave City, Arkansas. I was 13 and Eric was 19. We are 5 years apart in age, something that doesn’t matter now, but back then it was like a huge chasm we couldn’t figure out how to cross.

Precisely 4 hours after meeting, speaking briefly and exchanging MSN info (I know, right?) we were chatting it up over the internet. We must have spent a minimum of 5 hours a day talking to eachother, sharing our lives. Throughout the next few months our friendship grew into something really beautiful, Christ-centered and platonic. We grew a lot in the first few years of our friendship, going through a lot of ups and downs that life threw at us and challenging each other to stay strong and live each day for the glory of Christ.

 It wasn’t until 2005 that I turned 16 and we decided to try and give this friendship a shot at something more. Eric prayed the very night we decided to move beyond friendship that the Lord would remain the center of our lives together; that He would keep His hand on us and not allow us to stray or give in to the temptations of the flesh. Let’s just say, if I wasn’t smitten up until then, I was now for sure. A guy that prayed over a first date? Totally romantic. (Eric is rolling his eyes at me. But seriously girls, can I get an amen?)

Pushing aside the mushy stuff and looking at our spiritual lives, we were going through some seriously hard stuff which just so happened to mean, we were at our strongest in the Lord. We had an amazing youth group and leaders to learn from. Nathan Rogers, Amy Matthews and Ericka Rogers taught us what it meant to own your faith and put it into action. We practically lived at the church and began going on every youth trip possible. It was then that we really began getting involved in domestic mission trips. We went to Wyoming, Colorado, Pennsylvania and more, some of these even multiple times.

We then went on our first international trip together (Eric had been to Romania in 2002 before we met) to Belize with Praying Pelican Missions. It was indescribable. We worked in Ladyville, Belize and did construction, school ministry, mercy ministry and VBS. That week, PPM asked Eric to come back later in the summer to assist in leading trips. After some mulling it over, he felt at peace with the decision and returned to Belize a couple of weeks later. Thus began our relationship with PPM.

We continued in missions domestically in New Jersey and Arkansas and each summer Eric worked with PPM in Belize.
Fast forward to 2009 and Eric finally after what seemed like an eternity, proposed to me and the wedding maddness began. We decided to move back to Cave City and bought a house next door to our friends.

We were married January 1st, 2010 renewing in our vows some of the same commitments Eric made to Christ at the catalyst of our relationship. We would keep the Lord’s will above our own, we would not stray from His teachings and encourage one another to deepen our relationships with Christ each day. Little did we know, the Lord planned to hold us to those vows…

We took the summer off and to the excellent advice of a mentor, focused on strengthening our marriage. But by 2011, we were ready to get back to our calling, the mission-field. So since I was finally old enough to work with PPM, I began assisting in Belize that summer with Eric.

While in Belize, we recieved an email from PPM’s president, Matt Pfingsten about a need for missionaries in Haiti. The conviction was deep and real on my heart to fill this need. So we both decided to pray about it until we got home and re-visit it again. But it was impossible to wait that long! We talked almost everyday about it, answering the hard questions and praying for peace, wisdom and clarity.

Two weeks later we decided we must move forward and in January of 2012, I boarded the plane for Haiti to stay for 4 months. Eric came down to see me in March over Spring Break and the week after. I came home in April for a month, then we both headed back to Haiti from June-July trip leading with Praying Pelican like we had summers before in Belize.

We had no idea the Lord wasn’t through with us yet! We recieved the opportunity to work as Missions Coordinators with Praying Pelican and after yet more praying, we gave it over to the Lord and He said yes!

So here we are today, officially working for PPM and living out our passion each day. We are so blessed! We know this isn’t the end but yet the beginning to another beautiful chapter in our lives. Thank you all for your love and support and most of all, thank You Lord for loving us so much. We are forever unworthy of Your love and yet, You love us, mushiness and all.

Chapter 2 – a wild child-ling appears

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On October 6th, 2014, just 1 day after my 25th birthday, we were blessed with the birth of our son, Edison Glass Richardson. He came out screaming, which will remain the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard in my life and our lives were changed forever.

Edison is changing the world everyday as he brings joy and peace into the lives of those around him. He’s traveling along with us to Haiti for the time being, and we are excited to watch him grow up living in both worlds.

So here we are, a family of 3. Feeling incredibly unworthy of the beauty that is surrounding our lives each day.

-Bethany

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