These girls are on a roll...err...I mean on honor roll...for second quarter! Anthony, who also finished high school this January, is not pictured here. Well done, girls, and a big congratulations to Anthony!
From L to R: Kalah, Dorrie, Savannah, Kalani
It was late in the evening when the doorbell rang. Dorrie, who was four at the time, looked at her brother Zakeri and raced to the door. She was greeted by men in black uniforms, asking to speak with her mother, who had just entered the room. Her mother immediately began shouting at them and told Dorrie and her brother to leave the room. The next thing she knew, she and her brother were getting into a car with the men at the door. It would be the last time Dorrie would be allowed in her own home.
The court did not rule in Dorrie’s parents’ favor, thrusting Dorrie, Zakeri, and their two sisters into the foster care system. It was difficult to keep all the siblings together, but after four moves in six months, Dorrie was reunited with her siblings. This lasted for two years before ongoing abuse in the home was reported, catapulting them back into the system. Dorrie and Zakeri continued on to a few different placements together before Zakeri was adopted by the Collins family. Dorrie proceeded in her search for family on her own.
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!
In 2014 CEM entered a time of great change. Several long-term Ranch leaders began to reach retirement age and transition out, beginning with Jim and Marion Parker. Mike Petrillo followed shortly after, and a couple of staff changes have happened each year since. Late last year, our beloved Counseling Director, John Cox, announced his imminent retirement in June of this year. Mike Petrillo has written a beautiful and spot-on article about John and his impact on the Ranch family featured in this issue.
Personally, back in 2014 I wondered how CEM as an organization would handle the retirements of these key leaders. Losing them was a huge blow to the ministry! But the Lord has clearly not withdrawn His blessing and provision from CEM: He has been calling talented, committed, high-integrity, and creative new people to come join our ministry team.