Friday, March 2, 2012

Ministry to the Suffering

“I find that I’m serving God with a broken heart.” - Rev. Dan Rathmell

A life-shattering tragedy has indeed broken Dan Rathmell’s heart.  In June 2010, a relentless killer took captive his beloved wife, Cheryl. She will remain in captivity until her death, for this killer is known but is unstoppable.  The killer’s name is Frontotemporal Degeneration.  It is a wicked disease, which shrivels its victim’s world and decimates the lives of their loved ones.  After 40 years of a fulfilling marriage, he is watching his wife slowly slip away, and he didn’t even have the chance to say good-bye.  By the time she was diagnosed, it was too late.

In little more than one year, Cheryl Rathmell’s world shrank to the confines of a nursing home dementia unit.  Today this former Proverbs 31 woman cannot consistently name her own children nor does she know her grandchildren.  Previously an accomplished Diagnostic Cardiac Stenographer, Cheryl can no longer engage in significant conversation and struggles to grasp even simple concepts.  Frontotemporal degeneration took Cheryl captive and locked up her mind, heart and soul.  Although glimpses of memories and the torments of anxieties sometimes still pierce Cheryl's spirit, she cannot connect to others in any meaningful way.

The emptiness left in the life of her husband—and the burden of living that loss—gave birth to a ministry burden upon his heart.  In the midst of his brokenness, Dan Rathmell finds comfort from God that he longs to share with others.  God has given him a message of hope to the hurting.  God is teaching Dan to allow the Holy Spirit to transform this heartache to the truth of Romans 8:28.  It is a painful process with potential blessing even for others.

Beginning with Paul’s exhortations to practical living, Dan has developed a message that outlines principles every heart needs to survive the inevitable heartaches of life.  The power and love of God can fuel believers to rejoice in hope in every circumstance.  Yet igniting that fuel requires sacrifices of praise and engaging in warfare in the mind.  Dan’s message to the hurting shines with the very glory of God.  The treasures hidden in his heartache unlock truths about God Himself.  Dan’s on-going journey has revealed the great depths to the necessity and blessing of fellowship with others and with God. 

The message God has given to Dan can help each of us live a life of love with greater passion and purpose.  He would like to share his message taken from Romans 12:12, “Patience in Affliction,” with others for God’s glory.  For speaking engagements, you may contact him at

Biographical Information
Rev. Daniel H. Rathmell
33 years ministering at Davis College, Johnson  City, N.Y.
Assistant to the President, Davis College.
Ordained to the gospel ministry 1984.
Served 38 churches as an interim pastor.
Married 41 years; 6 children; 14 grandchildren.

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