Blending of families to include the biological children of house parents with house residents

Each moment we trek beyond serves as direction for the next. I can walk a path everyday, reading the Bible repeatedly within those days, just as an aspiring doctor can study every medical book ever printed, and at those times, I have only attained knowledge. Everything may not manifest in its proper understanding at the moment, but what’s being created is perspective, the gift that memory discerns for us. In my walk and Bible studies, I knew the path I trekked, but didn’t conceive where I stood within it, and within those medical books, the aspiring doctor had yet to come across the revealing wisdom of experience. What I’m saying is, we can be talked to and given all the knowledge there is, but without the experience, the knowledge will have no perspective of understanding. 

So as a troubled youth, to have no examples to fall back on would only create a life long struggling adult.  But because of the Release Ministries Group Home I was in with Garrett and Becky Swanberg, the knowledge and love they had given me, I accepted but didn’t know what I had, and life was still in front of me to live.  

I believe what that home did for me and so many other kids was show, not only that there are people that see you, hear you, and love you, but when the road gets tough and there’s less tangible things to hold onto, we can reach into our memory banks of guidance and knowledge, of godly love prayed and contemplated over in many Bible studies, with the life experience coupled that can finally bring into proper perspective what some stories and lessons meant, instead of falling back onto the same nothingness that only served to have us lost and hurt in the first place.

Until we learn to discern and seek for ourselves, we are ultimately the progeny of our teachers, therefore what they may not know, neither will you, and so in my experience, I had great teachers that knew what I didn’t and their lessons have been a continual light in my life ever since. I am no longer completely lost, hopeless, doomed, and incapable because of the teachers I had, because of Release Ministries, namely in my personal voyage, Garrett and Becky, where I was showed unconditional love and relationship more than religion, where I was able to see God and Jesus in vast ways that my mind never believed prior. I was released from so many internal and external prisons just within the walk and the ministry provided by them both.

I am eternally grateful for the family I will always have in them, the safest most colorless and heartfelt place I know to this day. After all, I stole their car, gotta own that one, but it was a moment, looking back, now I see where I went wrong…I shouldn’t have done a U-Turn on a ramp towards the highway of course 😉

Thank you-
Russell ‘WayOfLife’ Wardlow

A group of former staff and residents joined together in 2018 to catch up.
In 2018 we hosted a reunion for former staff and residents to gather together. Seeing the lifelong bonds and relationships was a huge indicator of the work being done in the homes.