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joshua sundquist

“This has truly been a joy-filled year for my family and me,” says JOSHUA SUNDQUIST of Arlington, Virginia. “My dad, who has long dreamed of putting his financial skills to work for a ministry, got a job as an accountant for a large church in my area, and he, my mother, and my sister relocated nearby. I finished a draft of my next book and continue to give motivational speeches around the world. My girlfriend, Ashley, and I are still in a wonderful relationship. She persuaded me to paint my previously austere apartment and even to hang up some decorations.”

Melody Bonnette Swang
MELODY BONNETTE SWANG of Mandeville, Louisiana, recalls telling the hospice nurse who helped her care for her terminally ill husband that she just wanted it to be three years down the road so she'd be past the enormous grief she knew was coming. "Now, as I reflect back over the years, I'm so grateful for God's mercy, which carried me through those dark days." Today, Melody has many reasons to smile again—her church, her job producing shows for a local TV station, her four children and eleven grandchildren, and now an unexpected relationship. "I ran into an old friend whom I've known for over forty years, and we've talked every day since. I've learned through the years to trust God's perfect timing in my life."
Jon Sweeney

JON SWEENEY moved from the Midwest back to northern New England (Montpelier, Vermont), changed jobs, graduated a child from college, and took his 4-year-old every day to preschool. Jon's popular history, The Pope Who Quit, was a History Book Club selection and optioned by HBO. A screenplay is currently in development.

Featured in 2013 Edition
CAMY TANG grew up in Hawaii and now lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious mutt Snickers. She used to be a biologist, but now she writes full time, is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service. This past year she's been learning to be thankful despite the washing machine breaking down at exactly the wrong time and her father having back surgery. Thanks to friends expressing God's grace, she's found grace in trying circumstances and strength in frustration. When she's not reading a book on her e-book reader, she's knitting socks, training for her second marathon or scolding her dog for chewing her shoes.

karen valentin

"I'm in disbelief as I open the box that's just been delivered," writes KAREN VALENTIN of New York City. "It's been one year since I left my job. 'You're crazy!' was the consensus at the outset. I didn't know what the future held, but there was a fierce sense that I was meant to take the step. I wanted to spend more time with my children and nurture their talents. I also wanted to nurture my own. I was in God's hands. He created me to be the artist and mother I longed to be, and I was confident He'd lead me there. I hold my memoir in my hands, The Mother God Made Me to Be, and I'm filled with gratitude. God has brought me here, and I can't wait to see what's next.

scott walker

"Beth and I recently experienced the birth of our first grandchild, Alice Rushton Walker," writes SCOTT WALKER of Macon, Georgia. "Generations flow together, and we glimpse the promise of the future. I visited Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to plan for Mercer University graduates to go there to teach English to work in public-health clinics through the program Service First. Two young women will be our initial volunteers, and I ask you to pray for them. I published a new biography, To Make a Difference, which tells the story of a couple who discovers that their greatest joy is giving their wealth to worthy causes. I always learn the most from the lives and stories of other people. This is the Guideposts ways!"

dolphus weary

Featured in 2013 Edition
DOLPHUS WEARY of Richland, Mississippi, writes, “In March 2011, we took our second trip to Liberia, and after returning I was diagnosed with malaria. After going through six months of blood-thinning medicine, I was scheduled for a right hip replacement. With so many people praying for me I was able to give God thanks throughout the process. Our daughter Danita got married in May 2012. Ryan continues to work as a computer data manager for a construction project, and yes, Lil' Reggie is seven years old and in the second grade. We are blessed by him every day. I am now engaged full-time with Rosie in developing REAL Christian Foundation as a connector of resources for rural Christian ministries in Mississippi. My second book—Crossing the Tracks: Hope for the Hopeless and Help for the Poor in Rural Mississippi and Your Community—came out in June 2012.”

brigitte weeks

“My life in retirement continues to be involved with both the beginning and the end of life,” writes BRIGITTE WEEKS of New York City. “My five grandchildren provide a lively lesson on how to manage growing up. The oldest is now 11 and the youngest 6. They cheerfully play intricate video games with friends on the other side of the Atlantic or in the same room. My work-shifts at a hospice bring me close to patients at the end of life. I am constantly struck by the calm and fortitude of those I meet. Some just want a prayer—I’ve committed a few to memory so as not to be struck dumb. Others are eager to chat about their diverse lives, from opera singer to housewife. And the dedication of the full-time staff is an ongoing inspiration to me.”

Marion Bond West

"My husband, Gene, suddenly lost the ability to speak," writes MARION BOND WEST of Watkinsville, Georgia. "My son Jon continued denying his long-standing addictions and remained homeless. Jon's twin, Jeremy, stopped taking prescription medications for bipolar disorder and began a perilous concoction of drugs. God promised in Isaiah 41:10 (NAS): 'Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God....Surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' Remaining steadfast in God's hand, I am shielded from fear."

Ashley Wiersma

“This year,” writes ASHLEY WIERSMA, “I finally found my sweet spot in terms of the number of freelance projects I can say yes to, while still prizing motherhood as my primary role. And it's a gratifying place to be.” In the past two years, she's completed three book projects—Sons and Daughters, a collaboration with Pastor Brady Boyd of New Life Church in Colorado Springs; Unseen, a collaboration with Pastor Jack Graham in the Dallas area; and Empowered to Serve, a youth-advocacy curriculum—and a video curriculum with Pastor Bill Hybels, based on his best-selling classic Too Busy Not to Pray. She and her husband, Perry, enjoy working from home in Monument, Colorado, and including daughter, Prisca, now 3, in the flow of their daily life.