Michael and Joanna Rahming, who co-own Rahming's In Home Care, relocated their family from California to East Tennessee.
A sense of adventure and a certain level of risk-taking are essential elements in most business owners. Michael and Joanna Rahming, who co-own Rahming's In Home Care, have those qualities in abundance. The new office on Blakely Drive has been open just over month, offering medical care, assistance with personal hygiene and household assistance - literally, help with anything a person might need in order to stay in his or her home.
Married for seven years, both Michael and Joanna are employed by Holston Valley Medical Center as patient care technicians, in addition to owning their own business. Native Californians, who just a short while ago were completely unfamiliar with East Tennessee, they uprooted their considerable household (comprised of eight people) from the West Coast, and literally started new jobs, a new business and new lives.
The road to East Tennessee was not a direct one, but it was a clear one, Joanna explains.
"I grew up in foster care. I knew my mother but who my father was, was a mystery. Three years ago, I prayed that God would lead me to my three siblings and my father. I found a man in Arizona who had my brother’s name, but instead of finding my brother, as I expected, he turned out to be my father," Joanna said.
She learned much about her father and his extended family who were originally from East Tennessee, where her father eventually relocated. He invited her to a family reunion in Elizabethton.
"He wanted me to meet the whole family and he said he had an important question to ask me that needed to be asked in person, not on the phone," she said.
She agreed to come for a three-day trip. Michael stayed behind in California. For a woman in her 30s with such a limited experience of family, it was "overwhelming" to meet 50 or more family members at one time. While on that trip, her father revealed that he had five major illnesses and had a terminal diagnosis.
"He said it was his dying wish that I would move to East Tennessee so he could spend his final days near me. As a result, I told the Lord that I would move if it was Michael's idea - but I wasn’t going to bring it up to him. My husband called that night and almost out of the blue, said, ‘Joanna, I think we should move to East Tennessee.’ That was enough confirmation for me," Joanna said.
Every aspect of moving - from acquiring jobs at the same company to how they found a house that was not only suitable, but large enough to accommodate the family that (by that time) had grown to 12 household members (six adults and a total of six foster/birth children) - is a story of what Joanna believes was "the providence and provision of God."
"He completely provided our needs," she says with passion.
Being caretakers, whether it is something they are personally providing or working through their home care agency, is what motivates and inspires Michael and Joanna.
"We are not in this for a paycheck," Michael says. "It is our ministry, not our profession."
Joanna nods her head enthusiastically in the background.
East Tennessee may not be the promised land but, for the Rahmings, it is truly a journey that started and continues daily with faith.