When I started ordained ministry, just over nine years ago, I never imagined the places it would take me or the opportunities it would give me.
I never imagined moving to the South, learning the finer points of BBQ and sweet tea, becoming a Georgia football fan, or discovering a heartbreak worse than the 2015 Super Bowl when the Seahawks failed to score from the one-yard line (thanks Falcons for that 2017 Super Bowl).
I never imagined moving to Montana, gaining access to Yellowstone and Glacier seemingly out my back door, learning to cross-country ski, and figuring out how to run outside when its minus 10 degrees. If I’m being honest, I never imagined becoming a solo pastor at all.
But this call has also taken me to surprising places beyond where I live and call home. Egypt, of course, is the prime example. I never imagined that I would travel to Egypt on four occasions and build lifelong friends with our brothers and sisters in Christ there.
By now, the surprises probably shouldn’t be quite so surprising. But, by the time you’re reading this, I will be in Istanbul, Turkey. For my continuing education this year, I have the opportunity and privilege of joining a group of Presbyterian leaders in participating in and leading several conferences with Christians from around the Middle East.
It’s an opportunity I never really imagined, and if I’m being honest, I feel completely inadequate, especially to be participating in the leadership of these conferences. But I am also confident that God is in the midst of this experience. And I am deeply grateful for the privilege and opportunity before me.
I am once again traveling with the Outreach Foundation, the group with whom I have travelled to Egypt. And like Egypt, I hope to return home with stories about God’s work in the rest of the world. I hope my faith is stretched and grown as I learn the stories of the faithful witness of my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I welcome your prayers for my remaining time, and particularly as I preach as part of a conference on the 15th.
And, I look forward to returning home and worshipping with you all on October 22nd.
Grace and peace,