Grace and Peace to you from God our Father, and our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen!
To the Saints of St. John’s,
I write this letter to you to share difficult news. My time as the associate pastor of St. John’s is coming to an end. Deanna and I have begun the process of stepping into global mission work and are working to become missionaries to the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus in Ethiopia. We are in the process of joining the World Mission Prayer League.
Never would I have thought that God was calling me or my family to missionary work. And this call is not something that we have taken lightly. Being your pastor; walking with you through so many life events and ministry milestones; and watching our children grow among you has been one of my greatest joys. To move away from this loving faith web is extremely difficult. I have grown as a pastor, preacher, and disciple in our time together. For this I am eternally grateful. And, I assure you that I am not leaving with anything other than joy for our time together and sadness that it is coming to an end.
Matthew 4:19 is the simple call that Jesus offers. “Come, follow me.” Following Jesus has been the pursuit that I have done my best to live throughout our time together. It was this invitation that first led my family to St. John’s. It was following Jesus’s lead that expanded our family through the adoption of 3 of our children. Learning to follow Jesus is a life’s work and you have helped me to learn this lesson. I hope that I have helped you in this pursuit as well. The problem with following Jesus is that He often leads you to places you don’t expect to go. Moving our family to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia has never been a part of our plan. And yet, in the past year it has been made exceedingly clear to both Deanna and me that this is, in fact, where the Lord is leading us.
Moving our family of 8 to another continent is no simple task. We have developed a timeline to help us navigate the months ahead. This timeline includes sharing this news with you. My last Sunday at St. John’s will be February 26th. Deanna and I will continue our preparations with the World Mission Prayer League as well as preparing for our move. We will have a built-in sabbatical into this time period in order to prepare. We will be arriving in Ethiopia in time for the beginning of the next school year which starts in August.
I know this news is difficult to hear. It is difficult to share. I have so loved being a part of St. John’s. You have made it so easy to make this place home. I have learned so much from you. I have cherished the opportunities to be welcomed into your families. The relationships that we have forged have touched our hearts. Our Faith Web is broad among you and your impact upon us and upon our children makes this new venture all the more difficult. Over the next several weeks I look forward to sharing in conversation with you, in sharing tears together, and in dreaming about what God is preparing each of us for in His Kingdom. There will be opportunities for you to hear about how God called us into this new chapter and to learn about what we will be doing in Ethiopia. But mostly, I look forward to celebrating our time together, and laughing and crying together.
Deanna and I have been in prayer about this move for many months. We have not taken it lightly. Please know that St. John’s has been included in those prayers. And in our prayers, you will remain.
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