Kristi’s War

In February of 1997, I met this girl. She was sarcastic, full of life, hilarious, beautiful, spunky, and so on mission. She told me that her favorite verse in Scripture and constant reminder was Isaiah 55:8,9 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

I didn’t fully comprehend the depths of these verses and the life she would live!

I finally convinced her to go out with me. I was determined to marry her! Before the year was up, she was my bride. Over the years we fought like cats, loved like crazy, and have had incredible adventures together. We have laughed, wept, fought, grown, suffered, endured, and bonded over the past 25 years. She is amazing! 

I couldn’t give her babies and she loves me anyway. I couldn’t give her riches, and she loves me anyway. I pulled her away from her family, and she loves me anyway. I brought her back to her family, and she loves me anyway! 😘 I’ve disappointed her, let her down, broke her heart, made her sad, and she loves me anyway. She is my lover, friend, partner, confidant, bride, and mate.

In 2002, I took her on an adventure that was so hard. She left comfort, family, friends, security, and country. She learned a new language, culture, and diet. She loved it!! She thrived! We started a ministry together and saw God work incredibly in redemption of our neighbors, friends, and families.

She endured disappointment after disappointment with one failed adoption after another. She fell in love with a little girl from the jungle who calls her mama and a little boy from Hoosier country who calls her mom. She has transitioned through change, adventure, and heartache like a warrior. She has joined me on all of life’s adventures with wit, wisdom, and laughter. She does get stressed! I think she was born that way – just look at her baby picture 😁.

In 2015 she joined me to relocate. She was willing to go anywhere in the world – and I brought her to Yukon, OK. The adventure continued. She has homeschooled, mothered, worked, served, loved, and outdone any expectation.

She found a passion in speaking. Oh, and she is incredible!! With a little encouragement, she has become the joy and spark at Bethel. Every time she steps on stage, the world fades away and she dominates attention. She speaks on the fly and puts up with my sermon illustrations and loving jabs at her. She is a faithful partner and colaborar. She loves deeply, fights passionately, and is consistently stepping up to do it again.

A new adventure has found her. A new enemy has shown its ugly head. A new war has called her out. Seemingly overnight her health has failed. Her pain has increased. Her fight had already started.

She has no diagnosis as of today, but she has a mass taking over her abdomen. Her lungs were filled with liquid. Her lymph notes are affected. Most likely it’s cancer

We would like to invite you onto this journey with us. We will not be silent nor private. We will open our lives to you. 

Understand our humanity.
We may act poorly at times.
Pray for Kristi!
Pray for my kids!
Pray for me!

Because there are so many people to update, we will do our best to update this blog

Please text us. But we probably won’t respond. Understand we have thousands of people reaching out.

1 “Is anyone thirsty?
    Come and drink—
    even if you have no money!
Come, take your choice of wine or milk—
    it’s all free!
Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength?
    Why pay for food that does you no good?
Listen to me, and you will eat what is good.
    You will enjoy the finest food.

“Come to me with your ears wide open.
    Listen, and you will find life.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you.
    I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.
See how I used him to display my power among the peoples.
    I made him a leader among the nations.
You also will command nations you do not know,
    and peoples unknown to you will come running to obey,
because I, the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, have made you glorious.”

Seek the Lord while you can find him.
    Call on him now while he is near.
Let the wicked change their ways
    and banish the very thought of doing wrong.
Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them.
    Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens
    and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
    producing seed for the farmer
    and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word.
    I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
    and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
12 You will live in joy and peace.
    The mountains and hills will burst into song,
    and the trees of the field will clap their hands!
13 Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow.
    Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up.
These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name;
    they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”

Isaiah 55

v 1-2 —- Come to the Father, He is generous and gives refreshment freely.

v 3 —- Listen and find life

v 4-5 —- Pointing to the sovereignty of Jesus. He has been given authority!

v 6-7 —- Find mercy and love and forgiveness

v 8-9 —- He is over everything

10-13 — He will give you the adventure of your life!!! Come to Him!!!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 

The gift of life.

As life ends, new life begins. As we sit in the hospital room with all the needles, biopsies, tests, blood draws, nurse, and doctors, there is also new life. Every time a baby is born a lullaby plays over the speakers. This reminds us that life is short and full of joy. New life is amazing and something to celebrate. In the midst of suffering, we can always find rejoicing.


  • Who else could we trust but God? He is creator, author, sustainer, giver, and taker.


  • Why not me? He is in charge, we trust. He can do anything He wants and we have accepted the challenge.


  • Instead of anger, we submit. We joyfully submit. If God thinks we are worthy of suffering and has called us to this war. We accept.


“If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place.

Exodus 33:15

Moses was asking God not to make him walk alone. We are asking the same from God. Moses went on to say “Show me your presence!” We humbly only ask God to show us His presence.

We trust, we humble ourselves, we submit.

God will do a miracle!

God can do a miracle!

Even if He doesn’t, we will still trust Him!

Ray Rhoton

January 8, 2022

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17 thoughts on “Kristi’s War

  1. Know that you both are loved and we are now praying you through this war. Ray and I are here if there is anything you need or we can do to help out in anyway. We are sorry and very sad to hear news! Trust God and praying for a miracle!!


  2. Praying for all of you. I grew up with Kristi and her sisters. My heart is breaking… But God.

    Thank you for sharing the Good News of Jesus in the midst of your pain. It’s in the name of Jesus our Savior we pray for healing, comfort and a peace that is beyond our understanding.


  3. My dear Kristi…how shocking to read this account of what you have been going through…my heart aches for you and Ray and your beautiful family! I’m so thankful that now at least you are able to sleep and get some much needed rest. I’m praying along with many, many others for answers that will help the doctors with your treatment! May our Lord continue to hold you close and give you comfort…as we continue to pray for your return to good health.
    Lots of comforting hugs and my love,
    Carol Christiansen


  4. My husband, Rick Kelley, and I haven’t gotten to know you, Ray, as an adult, since God took us on different paths. We remember spending several days with your family and our family at Yellowstone National Park when we were all on deputation back in the 80s. But we have thought of your family over the years and prayed for you all. We haven’t met Kristi, but please know the Kelley family are praying for her and all your family for God’s strength and healing.


  5. I am so sad when I heard this, so sorry, praying every time I think of Kristi and the family, she has a special place in my heart, Love You


  6. Praying for you and your family. My daughter had breast cancer and we saw first hand what a mighty God we serve. He does hear and answer our prayers. My prayers for you tonight is to get answers and relief from the pain. I pray God uses you to show others to Christ and may his tender mercies help you daily.


  7. Always loved & respected both of you much…but I read this now and love & respect you much more. If my selfish ornery human hide does–how much more does that awesome God you serve!? Pray you sense His presence, strength and lead amidst the journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kristi and Ray, I have been praying for you both and for Lily, Max and the church family since I saw you last.
    My prayers continue.
    I am praying for the cancer to be gone and complete healing to be done. Praying for strength in mind and body for all of you!
    Praise to our God and Father. He performs miracles daily!
    With love, Teri

    Liked by 1 person

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