Years ago, Rick McClung’s Bible was tucked away so far gone at home, he couldn’t even find it.
“You know, you pack things away,” he says. “I never really got into religion.”
But today, that same Bible sits on his lap, pages fresh in his mind and faith alive in his heart.
“I am more involved in the church now than I have ever been in my life,” Rick says.
And that’s because he met James Swanson.
James is the founder of Corporate Care of the Sioux Empire, a ministry that provides meaningful on-site employee care to businesses in the region. James met Rick when he first visited Adams Thermal Systems four years ago, a manufacturing plant in Canton where Rick works as a welder. He’s been there for over 25 years.
“When I first met James, my mother was dying of cancer, and I wanted her to go peacefully,” Rick says. “James had told us that if we had any concerns about anybody, he’d pray with us. So whenever he came in, we’d get together and pray, and that worked out real well.”
James works with up to 1,000 employees around the region today, and his time with them is spent in prayer and group Bible studies. Even though Rick had no practicing faith at the time, he was drawn to James’ mission.
“Our prayers together made my mom’s passing a lot better,” Rick says. “Both for me and I think her, too.”
After his mom’s passing, he continued to pray with James and still does today. He also joined one of the Bible studies James was offering at the plant.
“I had a friend who was doing it, and I wasn’t too excited about it, but he said, ‘Come on, you should try it! If you don’t like it, you don’t have to go anymore.’ So I went with him,” Rick says, “and it really caught my attention. I really enjoyed it.”
The Bible studies include opening and closing prayers, readings and discussions.
“It’s great,” Rick says. “There are people there I’ve never met before, all getting together for the same goal, and that feels nice.”
Rick says there are different opinions in the discussions, but everyone is understanding and wanting to learn from one another.
“The best part is considering during the discussion how I can help myself and how I can help other people,” he says.
Today, Rick can see an absolute change in himself, both at home and at work.
“I’m more forgiving, and I’m more caring, too,” he says. “I train a lot of people at work. I help new welders and watch over them. Years ago, I wouldn’t even give the time of day to new employees. I’d just show them how to do the job and leave. Now, I care about the person I’m helping. I want to help them succeed at their job.”
And Rick says those same employees will come back around months later to tell him how much they appreciated his time and support.
“It feels good to help people,” Rick says. “And James helped me a lot, so I hope he can continue to help other people, too.”