by Julie Cramer Posted on Tuesday, January 17, 2017
As Orphan Outreach celebrates a decade of care for orphans and vulnerable children, we're inviting our US-based staff to share their thoughts about the ministry and its mission - and we're giving a sneak peek into their lives and loves. First up is Ronne Rock. She manages feature stories and social media for Orphan Outreach, and she's been leading mission trips since 2009.The "voice" of Orphan Outreach on social media is an Oklahoma-born wallflower who now hangs her hat in the Texas hill country. Ronne Rock is as comfortable in a landscape of live oaks as she is in grasslands of acacia in Kenya. While her passionate pursuit of her Savior’s work carries her to far-flung corners of the world, Ronne’s roots run deep.“Home for me is anywhere my heart finds its beat,” she says. Ten years ago, Ronne left corporate America—having worked with giants such as American Airlines, Blockbuster, and NBC—to follow a childhood dream. She funneled her years of corporate marketing into promoting the cause of orphans at Buckner International. It was through this role that she had the opportunity to hear Orphan Outreach president and founder, Mike Douris, speak at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit in 2007, the year the ministry launched. The integrity of his message and his team resonated with her—and two years later, she began volunteering for the agency that would become a home for her heart’s work.“When I was 8 years old, I proudly announced to my mom that I was going to be an archaeologist and adopt children. There was something in me even then that knew stories mattered—people mattered. I wanted to dig deep to find them, and I wanted to make kids feel loved," she says. “That dream, I believe, has been realized in my work with Orphan Outreach. The honor of telling stories that change stories is humbling." In 2014 she officially joined the Orphan Outreach team, further expanding her definition of “family.”“The Lord has revealed His true heart for the fatherless through the programs supported by Orphan Outreach, and He has demonstrated His great love in every person who says ‘yes’ to caring for orphans and vulnerable children. Ten years ago, the emphasis was on international adoption as the solution to the orphan crisis. But that’s changed significantly over time. While adoption is one piece of the puzzle, now quality ministries are focusing on everything from family preservation to safe and secure, high-quality, family-centered residential care to foster care, mentoring, and adoption,” she says. “The true solution to the orphan crisis is being family to children wherever they are—building a community of Christ-centered care and kindness.”When she does return home to Austin from places like Guatemala and India, Ronne and her husband, Brad, dish up robust dinners around their table for their son, Ian; his wife, Gina; and their two grandchildren, Sawyer and Tyler. It’s “CasaRock,” the secret gem of the Live Musical Capital of the World, where good food, a solid soundtrack, conversation, and free WiFi abound. Should the Rocks be in Guatemala, Russia, or India, Ronne recommends their friends’ El Patio for hearty Tex-Mex— a family-run business for more than 60 years.“I believe in the healing power of time around the table,” Ronne says. “I adore #kitchentherapy and share recipes on my website.” Beyond the skillet, Ronne and her husband often jump in the Jeep for back-country road trips or to catch a sunset over the lake. If it’s the kind of night that calls for a movie, The Princess Bride, rom-coms, and espionage flicks top her list. Should she push pause for a snack, it could be a banana and Miracle Whip sandwich—a far cry from a hot pot of Texas chili, but the range in tastes indicate Ronne’s zest for life, which seasons all she does.And as a self-declared creative insomniac, she gets a lot done.In addition to her role at Orphan Outreach, Ronne has done graduate work in global issues at St. Edwards University, and is a reporter for Mission Network News and a regular contributor to Orange and Fiftiness. Her articles on leadership, faith, and life have been featured in Huffington Post, The Redbud Post, The Mudroom, Phoenix Soul, and Bedlam Magazine. She is currently writing two books—a responsive prayer journal and an exploration of women in leadership.“My prayer is that the things I write might encourage others because I believe with all my heart that we’re in this together—living a life that is beautiful and awful and wrapped in threads of hope,” she says. “I am hopelessly addicted to that hope.” And for 10 years, Ronne has seen Orphan Outreach work with in-country partners to invigorate just that.“I’ve watched the ministry continue to invest time, talent, and treasure into care for orphans and vulnerable children. We’ve expanded into Ukraine and the United States; we’ve developed programs and partnerships that strengthen families in severely depressed communities; we’ve been bold about saying ‘yes’ to expansion but do it with great wisdom. In every country, there is a ministry or a child or a moment that is embossed on my heart.”Perhaps that is why Ronne wishes her superpower was teleportation. “That way, I could dance with my kids in India, serve lunch in Kenya, help with apartment repairs in Russia, pray with friends in Guatemala, and still be home in time to make dinner.”
Firmly rooted. Growing deeper. Making a real difference.