In 1985, Jon’s family faced a crisis. When his father walked out on the family, his mother and two siblings were left in chaos. Through a church in Columbia, MO, she found out about a place that could care for her children while she got back on her feet. Jon’s mother made the toughest decision of her life: to place her young children at Show-Me Christian Youth Home.
At Show-Me, Jon came alive. For the first time ever, he didn’t have to worry about the burdens of life – he could be a boy. “I remember having the freedom to just run across a field and kick a ball and just be free, “ Jon recalls. His first and happiest childhood memories revolve around his time at Show-Me.
During this time in his life, Jon made the most important decision of his life: to follow Christ. He remembers standing in the house discussing with his houseparents what Christ meant to him, and receiving Christ in baptism soon after. Although he grew up in church, he never had a faith before Show-Me. A variety of activities and experiences nurtured his young faith. “This is where I made the decision that this is what I am going to live for…grounded in Christ…follow Christ – that is my hope.”
After a year at Show-Me, Jon’s mother reunited the family. Jon reflects, “Honestly, my childhood would have probably been better if I had stayed here longer.” The family continued to struggle back in Columbia. Jon took on an adult role, trying to help his mother and siblings, worrying about bills, food, and housing, even leading the family to escape an abusive step-father. “I wished somedays that I had a better childhood, I really do, but I am very thankful for the lessons learned. “ Show-Me laid a foundation of confidence for him to overcome any challenge life threw his way.
Jon now has a family of his own. He married Robyn, a dermatologist, in 2001 and they have three children: Hannah, 7, Claire, 5, and Henry, 1. They reside in Columbia where he’s active in his church, leading a weekly small group. He has his master’s degree in Business Management and works as a Consultant for Anderson Custom Homes. He’s known in Columbia as “a guy who’s willing to help any way he can
Jon received this year’s Overcomers Award at our Annual Open House. He stands as a testimony of what a place like Show-Me can do for a young life and an inspiration to the young people who currently call Show-Me “home.” He shared with the audience, “Show-Me is an arm of God’s grace. It was a big influence that helped steer me to the successful life I have now.”
Jon strives to raise his children with the structure, responsibilities, and fun he remembers made such a difference in his life. He contributes greatly to his community and to the ministry of Show-Me. In 2014, Jon accepted a position on the Board of Directors here at Show-Me Christian Youth Home. “I never dreamed I would be on the Show-Me Board of Directors, able to help kids in the same shoes I was in.”
A child in crisis became a man of influence thanks to a place called Show-Me Christian Youth Home. In his speech to the staff and supporters of Show-Me, Jon concluded, “I am merely one instance of how your efforts have helped change lives.”