In Richard's dream, he strides without effort through one of the city's arched gates, along a golden, translucent highway, until he arrives at a bright, flower-speckled meadow. Standing at its edge, a playful breeze ruffles long wisps of silvery grass, causing them to brush across his feet. He smiles at the ticklish sensation, but his eyes are on a group of people, some sitting, some standing, beckoning him to join them....
The youngest of five children, Richard Wimer grew up in the small community of Laurelwood, Oregon. His father, Gaylord, was a strong spiritual leader who worked as a literature evangelist. On Sabbath afternoons, while mom prepared the meal and after the family had eaten, Gaylord would read stories to his children—personal, true stories of God's power and love lived out in everyday people. As a result, Richard decided at an early age that he would become a pastor, one who would share uplifting stories with others, just like his dad.
Richard graduated from Laurelwood Academy in 1969. He had served his class and school as a Missionary Volunteer leader, student body president and religious vice president. As a member of the theology club, Richard had opportunities to preach sermons at area churches, valuable experience for his future as a pastor. With each sermon, he told stories gleaned from sources like Quiet Hour Echoes, Reader's Digest and his own life.
He attended Walla Walla College, continuing his education toward becoming a pastor, when a vocational test score changed his life's direction. Richard switched his major and graduated with a bachelor's degree in business administration.
He married Nancy Simpson, a nurse from Portland, Oregon, in 1971, and together they raised two children, Elisa and Gary.
Over the next two decades, Richard's career included Blue Mountain Academy (Pennsylvania) assistant treasurer; Fletcher Hospital (North Carolina) chief accountant; Tillamook (Oregon) Hospital vice president; and Adventist Health System–West homecare coordinator in Roseville, California.
But in 1992, everything changed when Richard was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The chronic fatigue forced him to cut his work hours to half time in 1994 and stop completely by 1998.
Determined to keep his life meaningful, Richard began organizing uplifting, positive stories from a wide variety of sources and put together a magazine on the Internet—an "e-zine." It is comprised of inspiring stories, a thought for the day, humor and a trivia section that includes a variety of subjects such as history, health, nature and odd events. The e-zine is then placed on his Web site in an archive that dates back to 1998. He named the e-zine and the Web site WITandWISDOM™.
Today, Richard's free e-zine is sent every weekday by e-mail to approximately 3,500 people in more than 60 countries, including Israel, Pakistan, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates. Subscribers include pastors, business owners, teachers, students and hospital workers who let Richard know how his ministry touches them:
Student: "As a freshman at The Citadel (military college), it is wonderful to get such inspirational messages and messages that make me laugh. That is something I don't do a lot..."
Business Owner: "I pass it onto my brother and cousin. The format you send is great to forward to non-church attendees like the two of them..."
Pastor: "I have already put to use many of your insights. Certainly my congregation thanks you for keeping their pastor informed and interesting..."
Woman: "Every morning it is the first thing I read. Many, many times, when my heart is heavy...as I started reading the different offerings, I would once again focus on the real issues and remember the joy of living..."
Philippines: "I have been forwarding your thoughts within our business group and that is the whole Philippines, nationwide! And they are very enthusiastic about it..."
Britain: "...I am not a religious person (yet) but I do find your e-mails inspiring..."
South Africa: "...there is no mail that I look forward to more than yours..."
New Covenant Church, Ibadan: "...My people are usually blessed and expectant each time I come to the podium. Some confessed to me that even if they forget the message, they never forget the stories..."
In the Lord's own way, a young boy who wanted to be a pastor now ministers full-time to a global flock of thousands. And when he dreams of heaven, he sees a special place where they will all finally meet to share their stories...
“He [Jesus] did not tell them anything without using stories” (Mark 4:34, CEV).