Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A new phase of life

Well, it has been a while since we've posted anything to this blog, but that's not without reason. The last month has been a whirlwind of activity. Particularly the last week, and even more so this past weekend. We've been busy transitioning into what will be the next phase of our life as a family. But let me go back a little bit before looking forward.

On Friday night (May 1) we, along with both sets of our parents and our dear friends Chuck and Fran, attended the WBS Senior Banquet held at River Hills Country Club. It was a very emotional time for me as I reflected back over the last three years and realized they were about to come to an end. I was privileged to be one of the Seniors who was asked to share a brief reflection on my time at Wesley. Here is what I shared:

"If you had told me 5 years ago tonight that I would be here speaking to you on the eve of my graduation from a seminary in Jackson, MS of all places, preparing to go to Uganda as a missionary, you would have gotten one of two responses. One, I would have laughed in your face, or two, I would have bet you a million dollars that you were wrong, and I'd be a much poorer man than I already am.

You see, 5 years ago I probably would have told you that I'd be doing something like sp
orts broadcasting or web development. In fact, my dear wife Meg, who was only my girlfriend at the that time, knew she was called to the mission field and almost broke up with me because she wasn't going to let anything get in the way of God's call on her life -- the fact that she didn't is proof to me that there is prevenient grace.

But then God got a hold of a part of my heart that I didn't even realize I was holding on to. I began to take little steps in the direction He was leading and as I did His voice became clearer, and clearer, and clearer. When I accepted His call to Uganda, I knew that I wasn't equipped for that ministry, which is what led me to WBS.

I came here to be equipped, to get tools in my hands to do ministry -- and I have, don't
 get me wrong -- but even more than that, I have been shaped for ministry. I am not the same person I was when I arrived at WBS. Through classes, chapels, discipleship groups, the abortion clinic ministry, helping to plant a church, and the friendships I've built, God has taught me so much about who He is and who we can be in Him.

I know that there is still so much for me to learn, but I thank God that He brought me to Wesley Biblical Seminary and used so many of you all to form the foundation in my life for that to happen. Thank you."

Saturday was the big day: Seminary Graduation. 

It's hard to believe that this day had finally arrived, but here it was in all its academic glory. We had a beautiful service and the great honor of hearing Dr. John Oswalt give the commencement address as he retires from service at WBS. 

It was a wonderful time of celebration with our family and friends and mentors who had been with me along the way. A lot has changed in these 3 years of life in Mississippi, not the least of which is the addition of Tim to our family, which leads me to the next part of this great weekend.

Sunday morning we had Tim baptized in the midst of our church family at Bellwether. (We figured if our parents were coming down, we might as well make the miles count.) It was a precious thing for this step in the life of our family to take place among our Bellwether family that has loved us and become so dear to us in these past months. We're proud that Tim's baptism can forever bind us together with the beautiful body of Christ in Jackson, MS and look forward to their continued involvement in shaping him to be the man God desires, even if they do it across an ocean. 

All that to say, it was a wonderful weekend full of looking back at God's faithfulness to our family and looking ahead to that same reality being born out in the future. It's the end of one era in our life and the beginning of a new one, and so we go from here with a mixture of sadness and excitement; sadness, because Jackson, MS is the only place we've known as a family and has truly become home for us, but also excitement, because we know that we are in the center of God's will for us and there is no better place to be than in the palm of His hand.