CLOVIS – “I forgive you,” the little girl told Ron Climer. “You are not the same man that shot my daddy. Jesus has made you different.”
“The night that I asked Jesus to come into my heart, I knew that I was sorry for the things that I had done,” Ron Climer said. “But I had no idea how sorry I was until eight months later at the end of junior church when I had to tell that little girl that I was the man that shot her daddy in the face during a bar fight on Christmas Eve.”
“I was shaking and crying and praying under my breath, Lord, please just take me now. Don’t make me have to be in front of this little girl any more,” Ron related.
A horrible wave of guilt and shame swamped Ron while that little girl hugged him. He remembered God’s Word in Isaiah where it said that Jesus bore the shame and guilt of the sins of mankind.
“I realized that day what it cost for God to save us,” Ron reflected. “When Jesus went to the cross, it cost Him infinitely more than anything else He could have done. It wasn’t just the physical pain of the cross that He endured, but it was the suffering of bearing our guilt and the shame of our sin that cost Him so much. I had done many wrong things, but it felt as if just that one sin of shooting that little girl’s daddy was going to kill me, and Jesus had borne the guilt and the shame of all of my sins. Oh, wow!”
That was the first day that little girl had attended Ron’s church; that was the day she accepted Jesus as her Savior.
Ron Climer is Community Ministry Field Specialist with the California Southern Baptist Convention (CSBC) Healthy Church Group. God changed Ron when he was an undesirable sociopath into a man who loves Jesus whole-heartedly.
Not raised in a Christian home, the extent of Ron’s religious education was that God was “a pretend guy who kept you in line whenever your folks weren’t around.” He and his wife of 46 years, Carol, married when they were 17 and 18-years old respectively. By the time Ron was 24, he had a son and a daughter, a police record, and a $100 a day heroin habit.
In January 1973, in a local parking lot, Ron heard a former crime partner tell his friend, Larry, that God loved him just the way he was. He said that if you opened your heart to Him, God would change your life.
“I watched Leroy as he talked to Larry,” Ron said. “I thought that this guy looks like he believes what he’s saying. When he talked, he spoke with authority—like he really believed it. For some reason that day, I started thinking that maybe there was a God. If there was a God and He could love Larry and Leroy then maybe He could love me too.”
The road to recovery was physically and emotionally painful. After three years, Ron surrendered to God’s call to ministry. With only a high school-night school diploma from Clovis Adult Night School, the prospect of further education was discouraging. However, after taking 12 units his first semester in college to see if success was possible, God enabled Ron to finish nine years of college work in six years. He obtained his master degree in 1982 from California State University, Fresno, and obtained his license as a clinical psychotherapist from the California Board of Behavioral Sciences in 1984.
Ron Climer is the director and chief clinician for the Counseling Resource Center (CRC) in Clovis, California. He holds licenses and certification in several specialty fields including critical incident response, stress management, grief therapy, marriage enrichment, anger management, communications, drug and alcohol addiction, and time management.
The CRC provides a low cost, Biblical based, professional counseling service for the community. The goal of CRC is to provide quality interventions, train competent counselors, and remain a needs driven clinic rather than a fee driven practice.
Ron is the head chaplain for the Fresno County Probation Department Juvenile Division where he supervises over 300 volunteers and 17 chaplains. Ron’s work with juvenile offenders through a military style boot camp, annual three- and four-day camps, and an extensive mentoring program has resulted in a recidivism rate as low as .08 percent.
The North American Mission Board (NAMB) commissioned Ron and Carol as career missionaries in 1982. They receive support from CSBC, NAMB, and the Mid-Valley Southern Baptist Association.
Ron’s message to California Southern Baptists:
“Here in California there are people that live all around us, and they are dying and going to a Christless grave unless we tell them about Jesus. We not only have the responsibility, but we have the privilege of being able to do that.
“People become more willing to talk and to be in a relationship when they know you want to hear about them. Find something that you like to do and use it to share Christ with the people who like to do the same thing that you like to do. Find something in common with somebody, and you will find opportunities to share Christ through that commonality.
“Our sharing Jesus has been God’s only plan from the very beginning. He does not have a Plan B, and He uses the most unlikely—the most undesirable folks—to carry out His plan. I count it as a privilege to share Christ, and I just wish that everybody else would see it that way.”
- Pray for Ron and Carol’s daughter, Lori, who continues to suffer with post-concussive syndrome (PCS) from a traumatic high school cheerleading accident over 25 years ago.
- Pray for their son, Jamie, as he seeks God’s direction into ministry.
- Pray God’s blessing on Ron and Jamie as they minister in churches through Ron’s testimony and Jamie’s Christian rap music.
- Pray that God will supply good health for Ron and Carol and that He will meet their every need as they share their faith through the various ministries that He has entrusted to them.
- Pray that God will touch hearts to provide the $3000 necessary to finance each of the seven camps provided annually.
- I praise God that I am alive.
- I praise God for the many different opportunities for sharing Christ through this ministry. I praise God that he has given me a heart for needs based ministries.
- I praise Him for my wife, my kids, and my grand kids.
Did you know?
Can you recognize gang members and wannabes who attend your church? CSBC provides training for pastors, youth directors, parents, and volunteer youth workers in gang awareness. Included in the training is learning to recognize, prevent, and minister to at-risk children and youth. Contact CSBC for more information to schedule a training conference.
Ron’s contact information:
Counseling Resource Center
875 West Ashlan, Suite 103
Clovis, California 93612