By the time you read this post, you may have heard about what you will read through the wonders of social media. News about these types of matters travel fast. I wanted to be able to share a big decision that Vicky and I have made in our lives.
I have decided to accept a pastoral call to lead a “two point” Church in McCall and Cascade Idaho. The acceptance of that call means that we will be leaving Monroe soon after Thanksgiving this year and moving to Idaho. My final Sunday in Monroe, Washington will be December 4th. We anticipate making the move to Idaho that week. My first “official” Sunday @ the churches in Idaho will be Sunday, December 18th.
I wanted to share with you how this decision was made: first of all, I was contacted by the churches in the Spring of this year and turned down the offer and call. Vicky and I were not in a place to clearly decide on this major step in our lives for two reasons – one, we were more than happy sharing life in Jesus with our friends and community in Monroe; BUT secondly (and this was the big reason), because of the cancer battle in our granddaughter’s life, we had big emotional issues in which we were already engulfed. Moving from a place of “security” was a wrong decision at that time. I would have counseled anybody going through an issue like we were facing NOT to make life altering decisions. SO…life was proceeding as usual through the summer until, at the beginning of September, we were back in conversation with the congregations in Idaho. The story of how that happened is a miraculous one…one told at another time! It was those conversations that culminated in the call that I have just received and accepted.
Here’s the reason for this move at this season in our lives – as you know, one of the driving forces in all our lives that bring us life fulfillment, joy and a sense of being grounded is living with family. Vicky and I moved to Monroe six years ago anticipating that by the time I was ready to retire we would be returning to Idaho to be able to be closer to our children and grandchildren. As you may remember, our son, Shad, took his life two years ago. Since that time, there has been a sincere and constant prayer in our lives to be the parents and grandparents in our family’s life that we feel called to be. This opportunity to return to Idaho is being led by Jesus, yes, (and, trust me, having the opportunity to lead two wonderful churches in a marvelous recreational area of the state of Idaho is VERY exciting) but it has been accepted primarily to be able to return to an area where we can be more intentionally involved in our family’s life. This move has nothing to do with any dissatisfaction for life and ministry at Peace @ Monroe. We love all of our friends and we love what God has done in all of our lives together over the past six years. Personally, I’m excited and blessed to say that Peace has grown to be a very joyous, peaceful and intentional congregation in doing with work of the Kingdom of God. I know that that will continue. Even so, the reasoning is being primarily driven by family and our need and desire to be involved in our son’s daughter’s life as well as our daughter’s growing family. It takes one of the corners of the family “triangle” (Arizona, Colorado and Idaho) out of the equation and gives us more time to be able to see all of our children and families.
So, I close the post with one word – gratitude. The brothers and sisters in Jesus who live in Monroe, WA took a risk on me six years ago…they had no idea what they were getting into with me as their spiritual mentor and leader. But God blessed us all! The people of Peace @ Monroe are a generous people…they will be a gift to anyone in the future who comes to join them in what Jesus is doing at Peace. In addition, we have made life-long friends in the Monroe community! What may appear on the surface to be small and insignificant is really a community bubbling over with opportunity and possibility for what God can do through people who love and follow Him! We will be forever blessed by that reality! Even so, we are blessed and grateful for an opportunity to share life with family AND have the opportunity to take some new spiritual risks in seeing how Jesus can grow His Kingdom in McCall and Cascade. Wow…life and ministry in a beautiful, recreational community – mountains, skiing, boating, relaxing…you name it, that area has it…you don’t have to drive to it…it is RIGHT there! A dream come true! (PS – for those of you who know me, you do know how I LOVE new challenges!).
So, our plan is this – Vicky and I will be temporarily moving back into the house we have in Idaho. I will be moving into our 5th wheel trailer in McCall through the winter. It is about 1 1/2 hour drive between the two locations. I’ll take my days off in Eagle with Vicky and the pups…and she’ll join me for worship weekends up in the mountains. There are many other “moving pieces” that need to be considered…but temporarily this is our plan. Our phone numbers will be the same, our email addresses will be the same…I will continue to send the email weekly devotionals that I have written for over 10 years and will continue to do my teaching, speaking and mentoring through the wonders of technology and the incredible mobility that is accessible to us all. I just received news that I got a “promotion” at Azusa Pacific University to be a Senior Adjunct Professor (I teach New Testament courses for the Biblical Studies Department of APU focusing primarily on Nursing Cohorts and the Study Abroad programs – undergraduate students). That was a HUGE blessing to me! Even as I write this, it makes me smile! I continue to teach and mentor Doctoral students at Concordia University in Portland, OR (teaching Religion courses for Ed.D students) and will continue to mentor congregational leaders in classes that I teach on Biblical Interpretation and Pastoral Care through the Mission Training Center. All I know is that whether we are in Monroe or in McCall, we are all connected by the Spirit of God. Thank you for being our friends and partners in the journey of a lifetime in serving and living in the love of Jesus! Keep us in prayer as we do you!
Love in Jesus,
Robin and Vicky