Andy & I were talking last night about how many people were asking what we were up to---and realized we just hadn't kept everyone up-to-date on what's going on in our lives. So...here goes!
Andy resigned from his position as Missions & Evangelism Pastor at First Baptist Church Borger last April (where we'd been and loved the people for 25 years!). We just knew it was time and Andy clearly heard God tell him to "step out of the box." We'd gotten way too comfortable! Almost immediately, we were talking to a Chinese church in Dallas about going there as pastor. (You know how much we love the Chinese people!! And this is the church that supports our trips by sending interpreters...so we already had some great friends there.) We were in that process for 4 months. We made several trips to Dallas during that time and took full advantage of being with our family. We also caught up with some friends we hadn't seen in a long time. But God clearly shut the door to that church and Andy withdrew his name from consideration. Andy's had his resume' in several churches, he's filled the pulpit of several churches, but we have no clear direction for our future. God has put a desire to pastor a church in Andy's heart, but there's also a desire to speak in churches, help churches with conflict resolution, and develop a business in China to help our friends there have jobs.
What God has been doing in our lives in the meantime:
- Teaching us to rest. We're terrible at it--and always have been! Andy had great benefits at FBC including weeks of vacation. He seldom took them. We spent more time going on mission trips (which were fun--but lots of work!) than vacations.
- Refining our hearts. This has been an ongoing process all of our lives, but it seems to have intensified while we've had some quiet time to listen. There have been some strongholds in our lives He's been digging up. Ouch!
- Giving us time with our family. It's been awesome to spend so much time with our kids and grandkids!! In fact, if you didn't know, we've been living with our son, David, his wife, Lindsey, and their two kids in the house they bought from us. So we're still at the same old address in Borger...but just living in the basement. They have been very gracious hosts and have loved on us through this process.
- Teaching us about The Church as we've visited about a dozen churches in the past 5 months. It's been enlightening! It's also given us vision for what we'd want a church to look like if Andy should pastor.
- Waiting. We're terrible at this, too. It's hard to know whether we should just pursue other jobs to support ourselves (since we don't have an endless supply of money) or...what. We're listening closely and we're willing!!
- We don't want to retire. Period.
- Andy's been working on getting his book published. We hope it will be ready before Christmas!
- Realizing how much we need the prayers of others. We even had some friends fasting with us a couple of weeks ago. So encouraging!
- And probably the most important thing we've learned is how valuable our friends are. We've learned that people love us for us...lumps and all. That's been so encouraging. And we've learned just how deep some of those friendships run.
We're reminded of the verse, "Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. So pray to the Lord of the harvest to force out and thrust laborers into His harvest." in Matthew 9:37-38.
And we're raising our hands and saying, "Pick us!! Please!"