Who is Grace in the Desert?
We Believe Teach and Confess
As Lutherans, we use these words often. Grace in the Desert (GTD) is affiliated with an association of Lutheran congregations called Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC). GTD and LCMC share a belief that the Scriptures are the inspired word of God -- given through the Holy Spirit to people who wrote what we now call the Bible. We believe that the Bible is Truth and that all that is included in its pages really happened -- no matter how hard it is to believe. What this means for us is that we stand on Scripture in all that we do -- Bible studies and preaching all rest on the Truth of God's Word.
We believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, just as He claims in John 14:6. We believe that it is our commission as His disciples to spread the knowledge of Him and His grace and salvation to all we come in contact with.
Pastor Ceri Ahlborn is our lead pastor at Grace in the Desert. She has a deep and abiding Love of the Triune God and seeks to live out her faith in everything she does. Her vision for Grace in the Desert is that she be true to the Scriptures and lives out the mission that all disciples are called to -- to be the hands and feet and face of Jesus to all we meet. Pastor Ceri has never met a stranger.
Pastor Ceri grew up in the military -- her Dad proudly served in the Air Force for over 20 years. She moved around a lot until she was about seven years old and then settled in Wisconsin. After many years in Wisconsin, she met and married her husband, Greg, and they, in 1985, made the move to Arizona.
Pastor Ceri has been married for 35 years to Greg, the love of her life. They live in the community of Wittmann which is about 50 miles northwest of downtown Phoenix. Greg is Pastor Ceri's biggest supporter -- always there in good times and not so much -- encouraging and sharing the faith they both hold so dear. The Grace in the Desert journey would not be happening without his love and support -- and,They love the country life and Pastor Ceri really enjoys watching the quail and doves and other desert critters from her office window. Their household is made complete with three furry boys who provide unconditional love and cuddle time -- Oreo, a Brittany, is the oldest, and is a rescue; he is about 10 years old but still carries the scars of the abuse he suffered during his first year of life. Geyser is a golden retriever who is 2-1/2 years old; he is a big golden (91 pounds) and has finally won the heart of crotchety uncle Oreo. Their newest addition is just 3 months old. He is a golden retriever mix named Biscuit (after Biscuit Basin in Yellowstone -- but he does also look like a fluffy buttermilk biscuit). Oreo is still playing the crotchety uncle with him but they are hoping time will cure that. Geyser is playing the part of big brother and Biscuit adores him, just as many little brothers adore their older siblings.
If you notice a Yellowstone theme in the names of their goldens, you would be spot on. Greg and Pastor Ceri travel to Yellowstone as often as they can -- it is where Pastoer Ceri gets her soul refreshed and sees her beloved wolves in the wild.
Pastor Ceri and Greg are blessed to live a short distance from daughter Shawn, son-in-law (son) Kevin, and their three kiddos -- Gabriel, Caleb, and Jaden. Shawn is a high school biology teacher and Kevin is a firefighter/EMT -- both believe in giving back to the community, not only in their jobs, but in their personal lives, as well. They have also instilled this important value in their boys.
Pastor Ceri is informal, down-to-earth, and laid back and shows her Love of God in her preaching and directing of Grace in the Desert. Come and meet her -- she is very serious about her faith, but believes that Joy should rule the day and we should be joyful in our worship and in all that we do in and out of church.