Meet Don Ortolano

Meet Don Ortolano

I am in no way exaggerating in saying the Explorers are family, and for a New York Italian, I do not take the word “family” lightly. This class has blessed us in more ways than I can possibly recount in this brief writing. It is their commitment to LIVE the word of God that excites me most. They care for each other as a loving, grounded family should. The wide diversity of our members, whether it be age, marital status, political affiliation or background does nothing to hinder the amazing unity that I see.

This love and unity are exhibited in action, not platitudes. Allow me to share an example that touched me greatly in just the past year.

A mom and her three children had to leave Texas for an extended period of time to handle some family matters. After being gone for some time, they found out that that they had to move back to Texas very quickly. The problem was that finances would not allow the move to happen as fast as it needed to happen. In addition, they had to pack up all the household goods again and move half way across the country back to Texas. The situation looked hopeless, and we prayed about it. I will never forget the email that I received from one of our guys. He simply said “Let’s go get her.”  With that simple statement, a group of men from our family drove and flew across the country, rented a truck, packed up this lovely family and drove them across the country back to Texas. I was amazed, blessed and humbled by what these guys did.

The Explorers have allowed me to see Christianity in action. No one asks for a thank you, no one is looking for a pat on the back, as a matter of fact, most of the time we have a hard time remembering who it was that started the initiative. It matters not. What matters is that this group “lives” the Gospel.

So often I do not feel adequate to lead such a group. It is a wonderful Blessing and God has used them to give my wife Rhonda and I a very close-up view of what the Family of God should look like. I am very thankful for the privilege and honor of being their teacher. To be honest, they have probably taught me more than I have taught them.

Then again, that’s what family is all about, right?
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