Episode 5–“The Year”
Lisa and I have come to affectionately call the 12 months following my resignation from First Baptist in July 08 The Year. It was a year of set-backs, disapointments, frustrations, confusion, and anger. It was also a year of hope, dreaming of the future, total dependance on God’s provision, great family time, awe at God’s timing, joy, lots of growth and a ever deepening peace.
I resigned because for several years we had both been feeling a tug to move out and into mission. After six years serving at FBC we finally felt released to pursue that tug. Our first plan was to move to Alaska to serve at the Kodiak Baptist Mission. When that fell through we were devastated. But it didn’t take long for God to confirm to us that Alaska was not our destination and that we were to keep dreaming. Finances quickly became a new concern, but according to God’s provision, painting jobs began to line up. Then we pursued a missions/college pastor position which also fell through. Our next attempt was a college ministry through an organization based out of Pennsylvania. By the end of February that too had fizzled. Through the winter God provided more odd jobs and enough income to keep eating and paying our bills. In March, with no other options, we began making plans for graduate school. I had long dreamed of teaching and using my summers to lead mission trips for college students. But pursuing a PhD is a long, slow process…just to apply…and it was apparent that I needed to get a “real” job. I again began applying for youth ministry jobs.
On a Friday in June I was finishing up a paint job and the home owner mentioned to me that Bethany Lutheran in Elkhorn was hiring. I applied that night, got a call on Sunday and had a first interview on Monday, a second on Wednesday and met the pastor the next week. In mid July I was hired and began working on August 1. After 12 months and 9 different sources of income between Lisa and I, I was once again employed…and quite happy to be given the opportunity to serve in a church that was turning the corner to becoming a missional church. God’s timing, directing and guidance in our lives and in those who hired me made it quite clear to all of us that this was no accident and God must have some big things in mind for the future.