Grace Bible Church in Hutchinson, Kansas. I will never forget the first time talking to Rick Goertzen about the position. We had a common friend that told us about each other and so we touched base. It was only a little over a week from the first time that we talked until we were there on a visit. Most of that was because of a job I was entertaining (although, I later found out that Rick didn't mind moving that quickly). The way God orchestrated the events for our family to move out to Kansas was nothing short of a miracle. I knew we were to be there. And honestly, we were not initially thrilled about Kansas, but let me give the spoiler up front: we came to really enjoy it there! Alright, I said it, we did like Kansas. But please don't tell anyone, okay?
Those six years we spent in Hutchinson were by far the best ministry years we have ever experienced. God did some extraordinary things in some fairly ordinary people. In the ministry there, I was able to see people saved, lives transformed, babies born, friendships made, lives touched, and more babies born. There is so much to say about why I am thankful for my time there. Let me summarize it as I normally do, in a list.
First, the church leadership. I learned so much from you men. I call it a privilege to have been able to serve alongside of you as elders and shepherd the sheep of GBC. We had some tough times, but we were always able to see the glory of God in and through it all. Rick, I was able to learn so much from you. Thank you for your friendship and kindness. It is Hard To Believe that the Lord would use a group of men like us to lead those great people. I will continue to pray for you.
Second, the administrative staff. Thank you to all the ladies that served with me and helped me over the course of the past six years. I will miss you all. Whether it was the purchase of a label maker (which I was made fun of) or the putting together of booklets, your servants hearts were a reflection of our Lord. Just in case any of you were interested, I need someone in my new position here, so if any of you are available to move, let me know ASAP! :) But check with Rick first!
Third, those who encouraged my preaching. You know who you are. But there are some of you that would really encourage me in my preaching every time I was given the opportunity to open the Word of God to you. Your kind words have led me to the place where I am today. Thank you for praying for me. Thank you for encouraging me.
Fourth, the Foundations ABF. Hey guys, we love you more than you know. You all thought that I was teaching you every week, but you taught our family more than you know. I can't believe that I had to privilege to marry some of you, to pray with you at the birth of your babies, to weep with you in the loss of loved ones . . . to share life with you. Thank you so much. And I really can't believe I was able to teach you the geography of Israel in such a dynamic way! You know you will never look at it the same again. Thank you for letting me be me. Thank you for laughing at my jokes, even when they weren't that funny. We love you so much!
Fifth, for all the support financially. Thank you for taking care of our family. We never had a need that wasn't met. We never lacked in food. We never lacked in any physical provision. Even your kindness as we left in the giving of a special offering blew us away.
Please know, Grace Bible Church, that you will always be in our heart. Please know that you will always be on our prayer list. Please know, that if you ever need anything, we are there to help you. One last thing, as we have not transitioned away from there, would you continue to pray for us. We need you more than ever! Thank you for being our family, we will never forget it!
Tomorrow, I will post a blog on our new adventure, Cornerstone Bible Church in Middlefield, Ohio.