Don & Susan White
- Our Local
- Our Reach
- Our Self
Don and Susan White serve in the Grand Valley of Colorado, a large region hosting everything from rural towns to the city of Grand Junction. The Colorado River runs through this land, supplying water for the many farms and ranches. To the west of the valley are the rocky canyons of the Colorado National Monument, climbing from an elevation of 4,500 feet at Grand Junction to 8,000 feet at the Pinyon Mesa. To the east is the largest flattop mountain in the world, the Grand Mesa, with elevations near 11,000 feet. To the south are the San Juan Mountains, home to old mining towns, and to the north are the coal and oil fields of Picance Creek and Rangely.
The people that call the Grand Valley home are as diverse as the landscape surrounding them. Rural areas host large communities of ranchers, fruit growers, and oil field workers, while Grand Junction provides employment for all types of city professionals. Grand Junction has always been a “boom and bust” town due to the heavy reliance upon jobs in the energy field, specifically coal, oil, and gas.
Of the roughly thirty-five percent of the Grand Junction population that claims to be religious, the community affiliated with the LDS (Mormon) church is the largest. There is a great need to bring Christian teaching to both the LDS community and the nearly sixty-five percent of the population that claims no religious background or affiliation. Local churches and ministries have spent years working to meet the needs they perceive in the community. While much good ministry is done, there has historically been little communication or cross-pollination between these churches and ministries.
There are several prominent needs in Grand Junction and the surrounding Mesa County. The suicide rate here is double the national average, with thirty-seven suicides in 2015. Seventy-three percent of these were men, driven to suicide as a result of depression and feelings of purposelessness. The county needs a voice of hope to answer the pain experienced by many of its residents. Another group in need of mentorship are the large number of teens that have aged out of the foster care system in Mesa County. These young adults often struggle to find housing and employment, and need healing from past emotional and spiritual wounds.
After seeing the need in their community, the Whites began InFaith: Search and Rescue, a ministry dedicated to finding and reaching individuals for relationship, healing, and discipleship in Jesus. “Our hope is that we can make a difference in an area where the suicide rate among men is three times the national average, and where there is a growing epidemic of teen suicides as well. We seek to bring hope to the hopeless and strength to the wounded and fallen,” explains Don.
Working primarily in an economically depressed area, the Whites’ ministry has sought out and made connection with several existing ministries in the area, including Karis, a ministry to aged-out foster kids, and the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter. Key to their current work is a relationship with Warrior At Heart Ministry, a fellowship and teaching organization focused on the healing and mentoring of men through the power of Christ’s love. Don ministers to these men one-on-one, in small groups, and through weekend camp experiences.
Susan does much of the same work for local women through pastoral prayer and discipleship in a “Comforting Conversations” ministry. She has also been part of a local ministry known as Warriors of L.O.V.E. (Leaders, Overcomers, Victors, and Evangelists). Don and Susan have also developed Kaleidoscope Country, a cottage industry involving wood and fabric. They hope to use this business to employ and mentor young adults as they develop life skills.
Each of the Whites’ ministries seek to provide non-threatening venues that bring in those currently outside of the kingdom, in hopes of relating and revealing a life in the kingdom that is faithful, inviting, enlightening, and convicting.
The Whites have served as InFaith field staff since August 2017.
Don is an ordained minister in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). He went to seminary in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, and worked at Shepherd’s Heart Fellowship, a congregation for the homeless and addicted in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh, as part of his field training. Don and Susan stayed on with Shepherd’s Heart after graduation as part of the full-time staff, living in community with the senior pastor and other ministry leaders.
Following their experience in Pittsburgh, Don took a pastorate in Long Beach, California. There he learned the ins and outs of congregational ministry in a more traditional setting. At the end of that pastorate, the Whites returned to Don’s native Colorado with their eldest son and his family, including two of their six grandchildren.
Don and Susan feel strongly that involvement in the local community church is a priority. To this end, Don is an elder and Susan does children’s ministry, and both serve on the music team at their local church in Glade Park, atop the Colorado National Monument.