February 1, 2011
We aren’t quite out the door yet, but we are scheduled to move to Wichita on February 14. That doesn’t give us a whole lot of time left with you, but we do look forward to the remaining days. West Side has been our home since August of 2004. Charity and I came here with a lot of excitement but not much experience when it came to full-time ministry. We’ve had our children here, learned a lot along the way, and we’ve come to love you all as individuals and as a church.
As is always the case when a minister leaves a large congregation, some people are impacted more than others. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get to know everyone here. That, however, is okay as long as we remember that God never expected any one of us to carry too much of the load. He expects us to all find people we can care for and look after and share life with. Many, many of you have done that with our family, and we truly appreciate your kindness and love.
As our days dwindle here, we hope to get the chance to say good-bye to each of you and to let you know how much we will miss you. We believe we’re going to another great place, but we never replace our families. We simply grow them.
I also wanted to be sure you all understand that we are leaving because we believe God is leading our family to a new ministry challenge. I’ve always had the desire to preach, and our move to Wichita will give me that opportunity. I also believe that Charity’s work here with the young ladies and her teaching opportunities have prepared her to play an important role in our ministry in Wichita. Our time here with you has been a gift from God.
As I’ve said to you before, God always gives us gifts so that we can become gift givers ourselves. We should always be thankful for God’s blessings, but we shouldn’t stop with a prayer of thanksgiving. Christ has shown us that the blessings we receive are meant to be shared. God wants us to grow and share and sacrifice—even if we have to leave people and places we love.
We aren’t leaving to get away from you; we’re leaving to draw nearer to what God wants us to be. His is a big Kingdom, and it’s comforting to know that all of our separations in the family of God are temporary. As the song says, “There is coming a day when no heartaches will come…. What a day, glorious day, that will be!” In the meantime, you are all invited to visit us in Wichita. Our home will always be open to you—our friends and family.
Please keep us in your prayers. We will be praying that God will continue to bless West Side and that your future will outshine your past as the sun outshines the moon. May God bless you as you bless others, and may He give you comfort, peace, and a clear vision of your place in His mission. We love you all.
Grace and peace,