Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What a Year!

I was reading last week's communication from the Presbytery, and on the calendar it mentioned that the annual consultations for the Committee on Preparation for Ministry would be held this week. Last year, that was me. I flew home from Japan specifically for this meeting, since in another 6 weeks, I'd be leaving Japan to come back to the US. I had been looking a little at Church Information Forms online in an unofficial capacity since until this meeting was completed, I couldn't do so in a formal manner. At my consultation I was asked if I wanted to serve in our presbytery. I said yes, and I was encouraged to hear that although I had not seen many CIFs from churches in our Presbytery that there were quite a few possibilities.
I went back to Japan to serve a crazy 3 weeks of ministry while trying to pack and ship my belongings back to the US, cleaning out my apartment, filling out a bunch of reports for Asian Access and trying to get my Personal Information Form online. The day before I left for our annual spring retreat, I had a two hour break and got my PIF completed. After our retreat I went up to Hokkaido to visit my old church. I hadn't checked email in a couple of weeks.
I checked it the day before flying back to the US. I had gotten a rejection email from some megachurch in Wilmington. I thought, "That's weird, I didn't even send them my stuff, nor would I ever want to work there." So I wasn't at all bothered by this. Then I got an email from our executive presbyter saying, "I hope you don't mind, but I sent your PIF to a bunch of churches in our Presbytery."
Okay, so that's how Wilmington got my stuff. I told him I didn't mind at all. In fact, I was really thankful! It saved me some work.
I flew back to the US and visted my cousins in Washington state whom I hadn't seen in 17 years, although we send pictures and emails. It was fun catching up in person.
Then I flew to California for reentry. During this time I got an email from Grace Presbyterian Church suggesting that we set up a phone meeting! I was totally excited. I had actually looked at Grace's CIF back in August. I had told my mom about it then, but I also told her not to think about it too much.
Well, you can ask the former Grace Pastor Nominating Committee how that first conversation went. Needless to say, it went very well. I was already coming to Morehead for Easter to visit my family, so it worked out quite nicely for me to meet them at that time. I had called some pastor colleagues for input because I knew I didn't want to use Grace for a practice interview! Well, things moved nicely, and I never had to candidate at any other church. I also only had to go without income for one month, which was something I had had my Grow Group in Japan pray for because I was thinking that it might have been more like three months with no income.
So it was totally a God thing to bring us together.
So far the journey has been wonderful, fun, messy, challenging, joyful, stressful, and I love it!

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