Friday, August 20, 2010

11 years later

Right now 11 years ago, I was sleeping with our Great Dane Chloe, and mini schnauzer Ellie, on the floor upstairs at 82 Eastview Avenue here in Valparaiso. We had moved down that day from Macon Georgia to begin serving God with the people of New Hope Baptist Church. Bunny and Sean slept that night at the Holiday Inn Express but I was there to make sure what we moved with us - stayed with us.

It was an incredibly hard day. We left our beloved son Adam in the house we had lived in for 12 years. He had just turned 21 the week before. None of us understood just how hard that was going to be. Our future here in Valparaiso was in doubt in a church who had gone through a pastoral meltdown. There was a clear call to come, but whether or not we could stay was another matter.

When we got to Valparaiso and started unloading, Chloe the Dane bounded upstairs and promptly refused to come down. I had to carry her down. The next day began the adventure that continues to this day.

Would I do it again?


Say what? Some of you probably didn't expect that answer.You were looking for the standard preacher's answer affirming God's call and positioning our obedience in the face of insecurities and heartbreak as an example of what everyone should always do. Sorry, but I'm one of the honest guys. I wouldn't.

We dearly love the people we serve with here. I believe we have made a difference.

But if I had known then what it would cost to stay here until now?


Guess that's why God doesn't let us see the future. Sure we'd miss the struggles and heartaches, but we'd miss the blessings on the other side too.

I've told everyone here this story several times, but I want you to know it too. My greatest fear in coming here was that the church would fall apart and I would be unable to take care of my family. I left a good job with benefits behind when I came here. Resigning abruptly as I had to do, my boss was kind of miffed. Two months after we had moved here, he called me out of the blue and asked me a question "How did you find out?"  I was baffled and asked "Find out what?"

"That the company was about to lay off the entire sales force."

That job I would have stayed at instead of moving here? Would have gone away.

So would I do it again? No. But man plans, and God laughs and I'm still here 11 years later.

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