I wrote this essay for a school assignment my freshman year at Johnson Bible College. I have changed and updated a few things in it but it is my life story. It gives background to how I became the person that I am today.My name is Julia Lynne (Ronk) Petry. I was born in Knoxville, TN on October 25, 1986. My parents are Paul and Rachel Ronk. When I was 11 months old, my parents and I moved to Haiti to be missionaries. My parents had a heart for the Haitian people and tried to teach them agriculture and about the word of God. Over a course of 11 years my family helped start 6 churches and a school with over 400 students.
Also in the 11 years we had three more additions to the family. Sarah is 20 years old and is married to Joe and they live in TN finishing up their college education. Rebecca is 18 and is in Cosmetology College. My brother, Jacob, is 14 and in junior high.
When it was time for me to start school, the only 2 options were to send me to boarding school 20 hours away , or to home school me. They decided they wanted me to stay home and be involved with the family and the mission. When I was 9 years old, on March 24, I recognized that I was sinner in need of Christ’s forgiveness. I had all of my Haitian family around me to encourage and celebrate with me.
When I was almost 11 years old, my dad had a nervous breakdown and needed to be hospitalized. I was forced to grow up fast when it all happened. I was put in charge of taking care of my sisters and brother, when my mother was trying to care for my dad and the mission. In a matter of less than 2 years, my dad was put in the hospital 2 other times for his depression.
In 1999, we had to resign from the mission, because my dad could no longer handle it. We moved to Beloit, Wisconsin. We did not know anyone in Wisconsin, but my parents believed that this was what God wanted of us. My dad went through 3 jobs in a year, before he was hired on at the electric company as a meter reader. We were finally able to by a nice little hobby farm and settle down.
When we moved back to the United states, my parents gave us the choice to either go to real school or remain home schooled. We decided that we wanted to remain home schooled. I did go to a co-op and took some classes that were taught by other home school moms or dads. My mother was a stay at home mom and wife, and sold Home & Garden Party products on the side.
I had a hard time adjusting to the American way of life. I have the best childhood experiences of growing up in a different culture and would never wish any other thing but for a long time I was hurt that God would make me go through all this pain when we were only trying to spread His message. I started to take it out on the Haitians and my whole upbringing. I never spoke the language with my family and I hated it when they would start talking about “Remember when we did this is Haiti..”. I tried my hardest to forget my childhood, when my parents tried to keep it alive for us. It has taken me almost 5 years get over my hurt. Now I get excited when my family starts talking about Haiti and the different experiences they had. I have forgotten a lot of my childhood memories and now I cherish what my parents are able to tell me .I still sometimes struggle with my painful past , but know that God will help me through. I am anxious to see where God will lead me in the future.
I have taken a missions trip every year of high school. My freshman year my family and I went back to Haiti for a month long visit. It was a little different going back, because I had become so American and was not the same little girl that the Haitians remembered. I saw things through adult eyes and understood more of what my parents went through while we lived there. While we were in Haiti, I helped paint school rooms, visited and encouraged different churches, visited the elderly and the sick, and helped with a childrens program.
The spring of my sophomore year, my sister and I went on a singing tour with the Continental Singers. We performed about 50 times and traveled in many different states out west. We also went to Canada for a couple of our performances. Our group had the unique opportunity of performing in a juvenile detention center for rapist and murderers. That was our best performance and we had over 40 of the kids accept Christ. We were not able to go and personal pray with them, but to this day, I still pray for them all.
My junior year I went with my youth group and we did outreach activities in St. Louis. We served dinner to the homeless, had lunch with the seniors of the community, helped with many different childrens activities and had a snow cone out reach.
For my senior year I was not sure if going on trip was really what God wanted me to do, or if it was my desires. An opportunity came up in m y church to go over to Ukraine and help a missionary give out Christmas gifts to orphans. I prayed and God kept opening doors and provide all of the funds and on December 26, I flew to Ukraine. I had never been to another country where I did not know the language or the culture. It was a huge growing experience, and I will never regret going. I helped make Christmas for over 300 orphans in one area. I hope to return one day and help more with the orphanages.
In 2005, I started to attended Johnson Bible College under the Teaching English as a Second Language program. I lived with my aunt and uncle off campus and started to bloom into the person that God meant for me to be. The fall of 2005, my family moved from WI down to family property in Alum Creek, WV. That was a huge adjustment for all of us. We knew nobody and had no friends. But soon my family became really involved at Kingsway Christian Church in Nitro WV.
In the fall of 2006, I met this really annoying guy from my parents church and we started to talk and e-mail. By Thanksgiving we were dating with the possible intent of marriage in the future.
In the fall of 2007, I decied to change my major to Chilrens Ministry/Preschool Daycare Director. I feel like God has giving me gift with working with kids and I want to make that my career.
On August 23, 2008 I became engaged to my first and only boyfriend. I love Rick with all my heart and wanted to serve God beside him for the rest of my life. I went back to JBC for my last semster of living at campus.
On January 31, 2009 I became Mrs. Rick Petry. Today marks our first month anniversay and I have never been happier.
This has been my life. I can not wait and see what God has in store for me and my marriage in the future.