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Ministry leaders for Chapel Builders: Richard & Robyn Wharton
Richard and Robyn Wharton
Being a preachers kid, I grew up in church. One summer I came under conviction on a Thursday night at church camp, so I knelt down next to the log I was sitting on because I was shy and didn’t want to go down to the front. Knowing I was a sinner, I accepted Christ as my Savior at the age of ten.
My father, a pastor of a Missionary Baptist church, found himself having to also work a secular job to meet the needs of his family. I grew up helping him, weekends and summers learning how to be a plumber. After high school I attended a year of technical school and then got into the pool and spa business and then back to the building trade building and remodeling homes with my dad and brother.
We have a home base which is in California. We aren’t there very much because we are constantly on the move. Now I look back and see how God used everything in my past to bring about what He is now doing in my life. I now work for my Lord and Savior and am using skills from every trade and circumstance that God allowed me to go through earlier in my life.
Howard Frakes was the original Chapel Builder and a true inspiration to me. He had a heart of gold and would have done just about anything for someone in need. I learned a lot during the times that I worked with Howard and saw his Love for God and His people. He was a builder and found a way to serve his Savior through a ministry that He and his home church, First Missionary Baptist Church, Fresno, founded. They called it Chapel Builders of California. It officially began in 1988. Then, in 1996 Howard went home to be with his Lord. Later that year the church asked if I would be willing to continue the ministry that Howard started.
It’s hard to describe the struggles and blessings that this request brought to our lives. God has taken both Robyn and I from working secular jobs to working for the Lord full time. It is such a blessing working for the Lord and watching Him work in our lives and going from thinking that I was providing for my family with the skills giving to me by God. To realizing that the truth was and is that God is the one that has always provided for us!
It is totally different to think that you are the one providing, and then going into a situation where you are supported by churches that are sending in offerings each month to meet your needs. Being raised in church I knew how easily this can change when a church can meet one month and decide to send the funds that they were sending to you and place it somewhere else. I can tell you know after doing this ministry for almost 27 years that even though men may change, God does not and when He is in it, He supply’s!
Robyn was born in LA “a southern girl”, my dad always told me that I should find me one of those southern girls. She is the love of my life and has blessed us with three beautiful girls. Robyn homeschooled the girls as we traveled and now all of the girls are married and have blessed us with three beautiful grandkids. She is a great mother and a wonderful wife. Robyn takes care of me now as we travel and helps to cook on the projects and is often found painting when the opportunity allows.