Kevin and Becca Rich are members of the Tacoma core that will be planting Mars Hill Tacoma next fall. They live in Lakewood with their 4 kids: Hope, Cambria, Abraham and Israel. You’ve probably seen them around Mars Hill Federal Way serving the church with their cameras. They help document God’s work in his family here in the south sound.
We met with them a few days after Christmas and asked them about how they became part of God’s family and what that has meant to them.
HOW DID YOU BECOME A PART OF GOD’S FAMILY?
I prayed “the prayer” when I was 14 at a youth group camp, looking back in my life I can see how God protected me and my sister from a lot of things that could have been really dangerous. I still continued to make really bad decisions. My faith in Christ played a no role in my day-to-day life.
It wasn’t until I was 19 or 20 that I really understood what it meant to die to yourself and live for Christ… and have that be everything. It took a lot of bad decisions, getting knocked down, and an abusive marriage that led to being a single mom before I was in that place.
My dad was a youth pastor so we always went to church growing up. I remember accepting Christ and being baptized when I was very young. I went through that same thing that a lot of kids go through in the church… you go through that crisis of whether this is your faith or your parent’s faith.
I never really doubted that God or Jesus was real or that he impacted me and effected what I did, but I didn’t really feel it personally until I was 20 and in Bible college. I realized I was not who I used to be… that everything had changed. I recognized it as my own faith. I never doubted God’s hand in my life, but thats when I grasped the implications of what it actually meant.
HOW HAS GOD MADE YOU FAMILY?
Kevin and I had dated when we were younger and went our separate ways after high school. 18 months later I married someone else and left when Hope was still a tiny baby.
I spent a lot of time being angry at God. I never questioned whether he was real but I was so mad at him for the cards that I had been dealt and continued to live in rebellion and sin. It wasn’t until after a lot of whining and kicking that I saw his hand in my life and became extremely grateful for his grace.
Becca and I had never really lost contact, we would still see how each other was doing from time to time even if it was briefly every 9 months.
When I was at Bible College, everyone was getting married, you know… that is what you go to Bible College for.
I remember having it on my mind but not really wanting to marry anyone there. It was about that time when I started to think that God was calling me to marry a single mom. Which was a strange thought, being at a Bible College, because there weren’t really any single moms there.
One of the times we talked, Becca shared with me how drastically her life had changed since the last time we touched base. As a friend, I began to pray for her…it wasn’t until later that I really started praying about marrying her.
We started dating again, and we didn’t really waste time. We had a conversation that either we were going to get married soon or we were going to be just friends and needed to rework our relationship. I knew I had made enough bad decisions and knew I needed to put Hope first.
When I told him, He said that he’d been praying about this moment for a year. We got engaged in March and got married in June!
We just barely squeezed in our pre-marital counseling!
WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING IN GOD’S FAMILY?
I think that living this life as a part of God’s family has changed everything.
Growing up I didn’t really have any family at all. I had a Grandfather who loved me very much and kept me from a lot of danger but that was pretty much it.
Being part of God’s family… is amazing. This life is really messy. People have their issues and their baggage and their sin. It’s not heaven. Being able to meet together as a community group and unpack our sin and still love each other despite of that because Jesus died on the cross for it… we can offer truth and clarity in each others lives. It’s changed my character, who I am, my kids… I can’t imagine how great it would be to be in community as a kid. We’re teaching them that even though these aren’t your blood relatives, these are your brothers and sisters in Christ. This is how you love one another, and they see that love given back to them. It’s so cool, because our kids don’t know anything different.
Being part of God’s family means it isn’t just the six of us. That’s been really evident in our community group. We get a lot of single guys who are away from the only “family” they’ve ever known. Some come because they’re tired of eating in the cafeteria so they come and join us for a meal. Little do they know… my kids will turn them into uncles that they climb on and chase around the house within 30 minutes. It’s been awesome to include them in our family.