​Teresa Ross Richer runs at the 2021 Indiana semi-state qualifier meet at Oxbow Park in Elkhart, Indiana. Photographer: Jordan Ross Richer

By Lynda Hollinger-Janzen
Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Teresa Ross Richer celebrated her high-school graduation by running a marathon on June 5. She is preparing to study at Goshen (Indiana) College in the fall.

Teresa Ross Richer and her family have been part of a two-way mission, serving in Ecuador and the United States since 2015. They live among Indigenous communities half of the year in the eastern rain forest region of Ecuador, and during the other six months each year, they serve as mission educators in the United States. Teresa and her siblings have an important role to play in this ministry. They have learned the Cofán language and integrated into cultural life in ways that have come less easily for their parents, Jane and Jerrell Ross Richer. In a family, whose trademark is thinking outside the box, Teresa Ross Richer, especially, is known for stretching her limits.

Jessica Rios, a friend, said that Teresa is "by far the most courageous person I have ever met. She teaches me to persevere in the face of hardship."

However, occasionally, Teresa's body doesn't do what she expects it to, and epileptic seizures take control. Given this reality, her sister, Naomi, said that Teresa's positive attitude toward life is a miracle.

"My faith in God has grown a lot stronger … throughout my journey with epilepsy," Teresa said. "Epilepsy has opened my eyes, and in some ways taken me farther than I could have gone without it."

Although Teresa would have never asked for epilepsy, she says that the limits put on her life have shown her that the small things are the biggest blessings ever.

"Epilepsy is a blessing in disguise," Teresa said.

Watch this video, that Teresa made for a senior class project, in which she talks about trusting those who surround her and her faith in God. 






Lynda Hollinger-Janzen is a writer for Mennonite Mission Network.



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