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sharon charles

I was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and grew up in a wonderful Christian family. Following a Child Evangelism Fellowship meeting in our own backyard, I trusted Jesus to be my Savior, asking Him to forgive me of all my sin.

Following high school, I attended Fort Wayne Bible College (now Taylor University) in Fort Wayne, Indiana, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Christian Education. While there I struggled with the question, “Do I really believe all this Christian stuff, because I believe it, or do I only believe because it’s the only thing I’ve heard about all my life? I decided to put God to the test, daring to see whether or not He was really real. The result was seeing Him work miraculously in my life, and my faith was solidified. Soon after this spiritual renewal, I met my future husband, John.

Immediately after our marriage in 1973 we moved to Berne, Indiana where I worked alongside John in his role as Youth Pastor and Pastor of Youth Music at First Missionary Church. While there we completed Missionary Internship in Dearborn, Michigan, preparing for missionary service in the country of Brazil.

After two and a half years in Berne, we headed to Brazil.  Following a grueling accelerated six-month Portuguese language study, we were assigned to work with youth as well as to assist a Brazilian pastor. This was a rewarding and enjoyable time of ministry and growth in both our lives.

Within three years we sensed the Lord leading us back to the United States… a very difficult decision (since we deeply loved Brazil and its people), but God’s direction was clear!

We moved back to Lancaster County, PA (John’s birthplace), assisting his parents, Norman and Betty Charles, in the founding of Abundant Living Ministries.

In the early years of ALM, my primary work was caring for the four wonderful children God blessed us with, although I did manage to teach at seminars and do a fair amount of behind-the-scenes work, from scheduling appointments to co-authoring the life-story of Norm and Betty, Heaven on Earth Family Style. When our last child entered kindergarten, I began counseling at the ministry and speaking at women’s meetings. I also volunteered as a teacher’s assistant at the Christian school our children attended and served on the Education committee, responsible for setting curriculum and hiring faculty.

About seven years after the founding of ALM, John became director of the ministry, although his parents remained very active in the ministry right up until their deaths. It was delightful living and working alongside them every day.

John and I have greatly enjoyed our work… counseling hundreds (probably thousands) of couples and individuals, and speaking at seminars, conferences, retreats and church events. I love helping people recognize and apply the practical truths of Scripture in their everyday situations. I became certified as a childbirth educator and one of my special loves has been teaching Open Arms prepared childbirth classes since 1984. Writing is also a favorite activity. Besides Norm and Betty’s autobiography, which has been published in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Swedish, I wrote Raising Eternity’s Child, a guidebook for parents of young children, as well as hundreds of marriage & family-related articles for ALM publications.

Our church home is Lancaster Evangelical Free Church (LEFC) in Lititz. In addition to John serving as an elder, he and I enjoy teaching Adult Bible Fellowship and assisting with ministry to married couples.

My hobbies include reading, knitting, crocheting, decorating, cooking, doing jigsaw puzzles, but most of all… spending time with my husband John (there’s still no one I’d rather be with!), spending time with our children (Monica and husband Madhav, Justin and wife Anita, Tim and wife Sophia and Joel… they’re the greatest kids in the world!) and spending time with our grandchildren (nine super ones so far and I’m sure lots more to come! Bring’em on!).

My mission in life is to reflect Jesus through my words and actions, so that others will be drawn to Him. I believe marriage and family to be of extreme importance to God and desire to do all I can to help strengthen these by teaching and modeling the timeless relationship principles found in the Bible.

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