Jon & Sherry Rivers are former morning co-hosts on Positive, Encouraging KLOVE radio.
How did you meet?
(Jon)We met somewhere in the late eighties, we were both in the horse world, showing horses and that kind of thing. We officially met up close in 1989 when we first started talking; Sheri worked for the veterinarian who took care of my horses. I thought she was so cute, and so good with the horses. There was a time where I couldn't take care of the horses and I thought , "I betcha that little cute blond would come and take care of my horses." And she did. [Sherry laughs] By the end of the year — I predicted and she didn't believe it — we would be man and wife. And so we were, on December 9, 1989.
(Sherry) It was a quick courtship. He... what's the word I'm looking for...
(Jon) Swept her off her feet?
(Sherry) He did! Jon made the prediction in September and we were married in December.
So, you swept her off her saddle, is that right Jon?(Jon) [laughs] We rode off on a big white horse; I had the shining armor.
You do the KLOVE radio show from your home every morning. Working together and seeing so much of each other, how does that work for you?
(Jon) I don't think it has a negative impact at all. There are times when things are stressful because it's very busy and a lot of technical things are going on. But still, somehow we mesh well together 24-7 with very few problems.(Sherry) We've been with KLOVE for quite a few years now, and it's been great.
What happens off-air? What happens in the River's home after the show?
(Jon) It looks like Sherry rushing around, and getting up our little empress, baby Lexi who's a little over two years old. I'm still working in the studio for a while, then I'll come in for lunch and we'll have prayer. From then on Sherry is pretty much dedicated to Lexi until naptime. Then we're both back in the studio. All the while, we're on a 160-acre ranch with about twenty horses that need to be cared for...
(Sherry) But no illusions: It's me, Jon and Lexi. We have no help — we have no nanny, no housekeeper, we have no barn help — we clean the stalls, we clean the horses. It's just us on the ranch. [laughs]
Tell us about the adoption process — how did little Lexi come into your lives?
(Jon) God just spoke to me. I didn't want to adopt anything, let alone a child from a foreign country.
(Sherry) We had dealt with infertility for fifteen years. We've been down that road and certainly understand it. We've wanted a child since we first got married.
(Jon) And even though we were around Steven Curtis Chapman and
Geoff Moore and saw their cute little babies, that had no affect on me whatsoever, other than disgust because I just had no interest in adoption at all. One day God simply slapped me upside the head and said, "Go get her!". And that moment we started the adoption process.
Sherry was ready to go all along, I was just — like so many husbands — too daft to be sensitive to my wife's wants, dreams, and hopes. We went through the process, which can be grueling, and a year later — July 4th, 2004 — little Lexi came home and became an American citizen — Lexi Rivers, our daughter.
What happens if Lexi wakes up, say at 5:00am, during the show?(Jon) This is the almost unbelievable part [laughs]. There will be parents who will say, "It's not fair!". Sherry tell the story...
(Sherry) God's hands were so all over this thing, from the very beginning of our adoption journey. We have been blessed with a baby who's an incredible sleeper. She goes to bed at nine every night and she sleeps. I think since we've had her, there have been two times when she woke during the night. And those weren't even work nights.
We have a monitor that allows us to see and hear her from the studio...
(Jon) It's a night vision camera, so it can be pitch dark and we can see her like it's daylight.
(Sherry) There have been one or two occasions where she woke early, and she just comes on the show with us. She's just with us and part of it. Moms and dads certainly understand what's going on. That's real life.
I think that 's so natural and a God-honoring touch to the show, when we hear your affection. It's not entertainment; it's part of your life.
Can you share your spiritual background?
(Jon) I was raised agnostic. I came to know Jesus through the witness of a lot of friends when I was in my twenties. In 1976 I came to know Him as Jesus, as my friend Jesus. As my savior.
We had an odd upbringing; I could have spun off in any direction because I was set at zero. We never really had any spiritual input. My mom was a Christian, but she wasn't allowed to tell us much about it because my Dad was so evil and agnostic. Like so many of us are, I needed to be brought to my knees. The seed that was planted by friends needed to spring forth and rescue me at a desperate time in my life.
(Sherry) I was raised knowing about Jesus, and became a Christian at an early age. I've always known about Jesus. I was blessed, even in college, to be surrounded by strong Christian women and then I was blessed with this Godly man. We want to raise this child in a Christian-filled home like I was blessed with.
While you were dating, was that a deal breaker? Did you both need to marry a Believer?
(Jon) Well I quizzed Sherry an awful lot. I wasn't willing to marry a non-Christian.
(Sherry) We talked about it a lot.
(Jon) Sherry was raised in a home where Jesus was always present. I wanted to make sure there was a time in her life where she consciously made the decision. That was paramount.
(Sherry) It may have been a quick courtship, but that would have been a first date discussion. And I think it was, at that Mexican restaurant [laughs].
How do you guys get spiritually fed?
(Jon) We have bible studies and we're blessed with friends who are pastors and teachers who visit our home. We're at a turning point — probably next weekend — where we're about to resume our regular church attendance and introduce Lexi to the church experience.
What's it like to have all these Christian artists in your home?We treat them like they're our next-door neighbors; we just hang out. Michael W. Smith flew in a couple weeks ago, spent the night with us. Despite the fact we had a Christian icon in our house, wearing a Camp David jacket — since he's a personal friend with the President of the United States — he was just one of us. It's all pretty much eating and talking.
(Sherry) On every Thursday, our local auction barn has a plate lunch special. We even took Michael to the sale barn for a plate lunch [laughs]. He loved it!
(Jon) The truth is these girls and guys are just people. And they want to be treated just like people. And when they're here, this is like a retreat; we really are in the middle of nowhere out here. I think they like that.
If we were to peek in your CD player, what music would we find?
(Sherry) Newsboys, Devotion; Todd Agnew, Reflection; Leighton Howerton, Dyed in the Wool.
(Jon) You'd find, ColdPlay, because I want to stay on top of what the world is doing — even though it's disappointing [laughs]
(Sherry) He's gonna tell you what he thinks [laughs]
(Jon) You'll find every song we play on KLOVE, or a portion of it, because we're constantly assembling music tests, and listening. We try to listen to every CD that comes in.
(Sherry) Uh oh. I see on the monitor Lexi just popped her head up. [laughs]
Every day I'm amazed and blessed by God's goodness. As I look at this child and the miracle of adoption. God is so good.
(Jon) And there are thousands of these little babies waiting right now, to be loved and taught about our Lord and Savior. At two years old, already, without being instructed, Lexi will not eat or go to sleep without praying.
What it comes to is go with God; obey God. Even when you're weeping at the age of fifty-something because He's told you to go to China and get a baby girlv ...
(Sherry) Wait a minute, I'm not over fifty. I'm a long way to fifty! [laughs]
(Jon) ... still go with God. Remember delayed obedience is disobedience.