Years ago a young Portland State University student, Kelsey Testerman, was brought to Agape by a friend. She stuck with us. She was active with our college group, children’s ministry, Agape Blitz teams, and downtown home communities. She was one of those who came to us with two goals–she was going to be a Christian and a Physician. A couple years later she met Russell Childress, who was living in Florida. We at Agape immediately liked Russell–not just because The Water Boy was filmed near his hometown in Louisiana, but because he had a calm and reflective spirit. They were a well loved part of our home community and church. They loved camping helping people, and listening.
They were married a year later in Bend, Oregon. Then the day came that we all dreaded–Kelsey was accepted to medical school somewhere other than Portland (University of Central Florida). After a tearful goodbye they left us and began the long road to being a family in medicine. Russell continued to work in HC and they put their nose to the grind (as they have always done). I was able to visit with them one evening while in Orlando and let them know that we all prayed God would lead them to Portland–however they would glorify Jesus wherever they went. It was a fun evening as they took me to the new medical school and showed me the campus and classrooms. I left feeling that they were doing well and we had been selfish to want them to stay in Portland. God had better plans for them.
Before Kelsey graduated May 22, 2016 Lori drew my attention to an article about Russell and Kelsey’s heart for foster children. This is a wonderful article that testifies to their life and dreams to bless others and unselfishly live out the call of Jesus. Christian martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, “When Christ calls a [person] to come, he bids [them] to die.” It is encouraging to see a couple who once passed through our community go on to live out the love, sacrifice, and faith that people in our world need–especially some of the most vulnerable.
Congratulations Russell and Kelsey–for all that you do, your hearts, and that you have many people proud of you–especially a bunch of us up here in the rainy Northwest. Congratulations Dr. Kelsey you did it, we always knew you could–and that you were “gonna do it.” Congratulations Russell, your calm spirit is already blessing little ones who live in a violent world, with angry males, and who need to see your patience. We look forward to hearing more from others who your family will touch in the future.