When I think of the Schwartings, among other things I think warmth. And hospitality. And humor. And genuineness. In fact, one of the reasons Ben and Andrea were interested in helping begin Sovereign Hope was their desire to share life with believers whose faith is genuine, whose faith is lived out with no pretense in the everyday. They were tired of the facade of so many who seemed to be merely "playing" church.
Little did they know that when they went to a church conference in Phoenix in 2010 that the emphasis for the weekend was going to be on church planting. But, God knew. Church planting never had even been on their radar! That weekend began a "stirring" in their hearts. And, it was very soon afterwards that Adam Vinson contacted Ben about helping begin Sovereign Hope. Needless to say, the Schwartings were prepped in advance to prayerfully consider it. And, thankfully for all of us, they decided to jump on board.
How did the Schwarting family begin? Well, more than 20 years ago, our Ben Schwarting was a young student at Liberty University as was Andrea Corley. And, on one providential night a group of students decided to go see the movie Sabrina. Ben took one look at Andrea and the empty seat next to her, and said to the guys with him, "Back off, guys! That seat is mine. That girl is taken." (Or something like that.) Ben chose Andrea that evening, pursued her in the next few months, and finally won her over (much to a poor guy named Peter's dismay).
Leaving his large family in Virginia behind, Ben transplanted to Georgia after he and Andrea married 19 years ago. His geographical roots explain his being a die-hard Washington Redskins fan and being a bad influence on his family in that area---a fact we must all choose to overlook. (Of course, given the recent Falcons fiasco, maybe he is the wise one after all.)
For those who do not know, Ben is the manager of IT at Coweta-Fayette EMC, president of the GA EMC Technology Association, plus he owns his own business, Ben's Odds & Ends, with Andrea. Whew! Their business has been richly blessed, and their basement is presently bursting at the seams with the odds and ends! Pray that God will provide another facility for their business soon.
After only a short time with Andrea you realize the depth of her love for her husband and her children. She runs her household WELL. As she chooses to say, she is the cleaner, chef and baker of her home (if you have never had Andrea's food, make it a priority to do so---I've never had anything she has made that is not delicious!), taxi driver for her kids, kisser of boo-boos, hostess extraordinaire (okay, those are my words), and keeper of the pantry/storage closets for Sovereign Hope. In her gentle way Andrea is one of those women who is definitely "given to hospitality."
We are thankful for the example the Schwartings present for both marriage and parenthood. They truly enjoy one another and their children. God has blessed them richly with those 3 miracle children, who were not even supposed to be here based on the world's viewpoint and diagnosis. But God . . .
After 6 years and lots of prayer, Luke was born. He is 11 years old and in the 6th grade at Trinity. Luke is quite the athlete; he played football in the fall and will be playing soccer with the Lasers this spring! Also playing with the Lasers this spring is their daughter, Libby, who is presently 9 and a 4th grader at Coweta Charter Academy. Following in her mom's footsteps as a sports person, Libby also played softball for the first time last fall and is considering basketball in the future. And, lastly, they have spectacled Logan, who will turn 6 on February 18th (Happy Birthday, Logan!) and is in kindergarten at Coweta Charter. Logan throws a mean football and baseball. It has been difficult for them to see their last child head off to school, but one of the pleasures in all of their lives is spending time together and playing as a family.
Ben and Andrea are headed to Uganda in a week to bring encouragement to Chris and Melissa and to find out anything we need to know as a church to help and pray for the Ugandan ministry. Ben became a member of the Board of Directors for Grace for Education just a few months ago. Pray for all the details of their trip to go smoothly, pray for the 3 children left at home and their caretakers, pray for safety, and pray for wisdom.
God has richly blessed us with the Schwarting family. Get to know them---they make it easy. Pray for them. Eat Andrea's cooking.