This morning in Sunday School, we talked about the Prophet Jeremiah (chapters 42-43). Israel asked him to seek God’s will for their lives as their enemies were coming. What God told them was completely illogical, and went against what they thought they wanted to do. We also talked about other examples in the Bible where God asked his people to do crazy things—Noah and the ark, Abraham leaving his country to follow God to an unknown place, Jesus asking us to love our enemies, and on and on. As the students were reminded, there will be times that God asks us to step out in faith and do something that goes against what the world says is logical. And when that time comes, if we choose to follow Him, he has something better planned for our futures than anything we could dream up for ourselves.
We are at that place in our lives. We absolutely LOVE our students, youth parents/families, church staff, and Wesley. However, we have felt God calling us to something new, and we know that when God leads us, we must follow.
Words cannot describe the heaviness in our hearts as we deliver this news. We will miss so many people, and we thank God for the time that He has given us together. If we only focused on the leaving part, we wouldn’t be able to make it. But we know that God has a bigger plan and purpose than any of us could imagine. He has a plan for our family, and He has a plan for the Wesley Youth and their families. Since He is calling us to begin a new chapter, we also believe that He is already preparing someone to come and love the students and minister to all of the youth families.
We would also like to give some insight into this decision. As most of you know, Staci’s family is in Oklahoma, and Michael’s family is in San Antonio. This means we are almost 9 hours from Staci’s family, and 5 from Michael’s. As Josiah has gotten older, it has been difficult being so far away. It is our desire for him to grow up closer to his grandparents and other family. As we began to feel God drawing us to a new stage, we felt Him leading us towards the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. This will be a great central location between our families (3-4 hours for each). Staci also has a lot of family in Dallas, including her grandpa who was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Many of you also know that we went to school in Dallas and met there. All that to say, we feel the DFW area will be a great next step for our family. We have also considered the Tyler area, because of our love for Pine Cove, the area, and Staci has family there as well.
In August, Michael began pursuing his Alternative Teaching Certification in Middle School Math. One of his favorite parts of youth ministry is teaching the students, and we are looking forward to this new career choice. We also feel that this will be a great springboard for ministry to students in a different setting, because we all know how much impact teachers can have on students. While we have absolutely loved working with students for 5.5 years (over 3 of which have been at Wesley), we feel it is time for a different pace. We will still be a part of ministry at whatever church God leads us to, but it will be on a volunteer basis. This will also give Michael the opportunity to become more involved in the worship ministry of the church, which has always been one of his passions.
We have also applied for a ministry called Apartment Life. If we are accepted into this program, we will be able to minister to people at our future apartment complex by planning a monthly event, welcoming new tenants, celebrating new babies, etc. in exchange for a portion of our rent. We will also be encouraged and empowered to build relationships with our neighbors, possibly start an apartment Bible Study, and invite them to church. Our prayer is that this will allow Staci to stay home with Josiah.
Please keep our family in your prayers during this time of transition. We are trying to sell our house, and Michael is currently applying for teaching jobs. We have no clue how God is going to work all of this out…all we know is that He is calling us to step out in faith.
We will continue to pray for the students, families, and Wesley as they are also in a time of transition. As we mentioned earlier, we believe wholeheartedly that God has someone wonderful planned to come in and work with the students.
After visiting with our pastor and sharing all of this, we have collectively decided that our last Sunday will be January 5, unless Michael gets a job and needs to start before then. It’s all coming so quickly…and it’s taking a lot of faith to resign without having something else lined up. But we just keep on praying that God will provide and that He will help us rely on Him wholeheartedly in this time. And while we are so sad to leave everyone here, we are excited to see what He has in store for our family.
Thank you to all of our friends and family, both here and away, for all of your encouragement and support. We are so blessed to be a part of the ministry at Wesley. While leaving our students and the youth families is the absolute hardest part of all of this, we know that God has a plan. And just like we learned in Sunday School, His plan is always better than anything we could dream up for ourselves.
–Michael and Staci
P.S. If you’d like to read about our decision to move down here over three years ago, you can click HERE. It’s a great reminder of how God orchestrates everything and how His plan is always the best.