Leah and I grew up on the other side of the world as the kids of missionary parents to indigenous people groups in the country of Papua New Guinea (PNG). Both of our families served in different parts of the country, so the only connection between us was the mission organization Ethnos360 (formerly New Tribes Mission), which both of our families served under. Our paths first crossed at the mission boarding school, but being a few years separated in age, we rarely interacted with one another and never established any sort of a real relationship. Soon after this in 2005, my (Grant) family moved back to Pittsburgh, PA to serve in local church ministry while Leah's family remained in PNG serving the mission boarding school as dorm parents. Leah and I did not have any contact over the next seven years, but regardless of where our circumstances took us over these years, the Lord was still sovereignly at work in our lives and would eventually allow our paths to cross again. During this time between, I finished up high school, completed a 2 year Bible degree, served as an associate missionary and then headed to Moody Bible Institute to complete my undergraduate degree. Leah remained in PNG with her family until she finished high school in 2010 and then moved back to the Branson, MO where she began her undergraduate degree at the College of the Ozarks. In 2012, our lives intersected again. Due to a serious head and neck injury, I stepped out of college and remained in Pittsburgh, PA to undergo therapy and work toward full recovery. At the same time and few states away, Leah felt the need to step out of school for a semester to slow down and be near family. It just so happened that Leah's sister (and her husband) lived in Pittsburgh and was plugged into the same church community as my family. All this to say, upon Leah's move to Pittsburgh, our paths crossed again and we soon began a dating relationship that ultimately led toward our marriage in October of 2013. A week after our wedding, we moved to Chicago, IL where we lived for the next year and a half until Grant completed his Bachelor degree at Moody Bible Institute. In the summer of 2015, we moved to Branson, MO in order for I (Leah) to finish up my undergraduate degree at the College of the Ozarks (C of O). During that season, Grant woreked for the college as a Residence Director and also led a small group ministry for the campus called The Gathering. In September of 2017, we were blessed to welcome our first baby girl, Rae Amariah Ryder. She is truly a gracious gift from God and we could not be more grateful for her.
We were at C of O (College of the Ozarks) for 3 years and we often rejoice in the Lord for a very rewarding chapter of our lives there. As we continued to seek the Lord, we sensed Him moving us on to pursue pastoral ministry within the context of the local church. In faith as a family, we moved to Denver, CO to gain further ministry training at Denver Seminary. Our time in Denver has been full! Grant started into full time seminary along with a part time role as a community pastor at Stapleton Church. We welcomed our second daughter, Eliyanah Jordan in September of 2019 and the last 9 months the Lord has laid on our hearts to plant a church in the community we have been living in the last two years. As we follow this leading, we are now fully invested in the beginning stages of church planting!
We are excited for all that the Lord has in store ahead of us and we truly appreciate your love, support and prayer for our family!