About 23 years ago, John and Gigi Cox sat in the CEM Director’s office discussing the opportunity to join the staff of the ministry. John and I reminisced about our growing up years in Humboldt County. We attended sister churches in Arcata and Eureka, played in the same church basketball league, attended Humboldt State, and shared friendships and fellowship with many other Christians in the community. Later, as a young married couple, John and Gigi visited CEM and expressed their interest in serving here. We remained in contact and by the mid-90s, John had become a licensed contractor and was in the midst of a Marriage and Family Therapist Master’s program. When the door to serve at CEM finally opened, we talked about the practical difficulties of changing careers and moving with three young boys into a very small two-bedroom cabin. I asked Gigi about this, and she leaned across the table and proclaimed confidently, “This is an adventure from God!” And so it was!
The Cox family brought their unique gifts and talents to CEM and for the past two decades have been a solid fixture of love and kindness in the Ranch family. John’s experience in the building trade, his former employment in the Juvenile Hall, and his mature Christian family values made him an excellent fit as lead counselor. John has been central to the formation of CEM’s family environment, and for the progress of growth of those with the deepest of hurts. Recently, John counseled all of the young men in CEM programs, and has been the confidant of many interns and students. John’s casual blend of knowledge, encouragement, correction, and understanding has broken through many barriers of distrust to bring healing of mind and soul and spirit to students of CEM.
To the staff, John’s good humor, patience, and peaceful, unhurried demeanor was a blessed gift for the sometimes hectic Ranch life. On untold occasions a short conversation with John defused a young person’s brewing anxiety or depression or rage, settling a difficult situation in just a few moments of calming wisdom. The essence of his counsel was often trust, trusting a loving Heavenly Father as we walk along in faith. For many of us, John was also a sounding board for theories of self-esteem, child development, traumatic emotional injury, brain chemistry, and various scientific and theological fields of thought. John served the whole Ranch family with a wide range of intellectual, musical, physical and spiritual gifts, all of which makes him a hard fellow to replace!
These farewell moments are never easy, but we are grateful and happy to say that the Cox Family enriched our lives, helped to make the Ranch a good place to live, and brought Jesus’ love closer to us all. So, for now, we wish John and Gigi Godspeed and His richest blessing on the next stage of His great Adventure!