I am happy to share a glimpse into the experience of our most recent pastor at Community Seventh-day Adventist Church here in Meridian, MS. I have really enjoyed getting to know Sharon Leukert, our pastor's wife, and will miss her and her family, now that God has called her to a new adventure in three southern Alabama churches. Thank-you, Sharon! 😉
Being a pastoral family is being on call for God. You never know when, where, or even exactly how He will say "go!" But when God says "Go!" we go. A wise friend years ago told me that the people are always the same, it is only the names that are different. Over the years I've found there to be a bit of truth to it now and then. For instance, our first church in Texas had a couple that couldn't have children for years. They decided to adopt. Just when all of the adoption process was near completion, they discovered they were pregnant! That was one special baby to us all. It was a joy watching him grow into a delightful toddler. Moving away from Texas to Mississippi, we missed that little guy and his family. But sure enough, there was another little guy almost the exact same age and personality here. It sometimes helps to ease the pain of losing friends, when you see that there are similar people to know and love in the new congregation. God fills your heart with so much love for His people, it is truly His miracle.
|the Meridian house on loading day|
When God told us to come to Mississippi, it wasn't a surprise. We knew He was going to move us soon, and so did our conference leadership. In fact, they were trying to move us somewhere else in Texas, but Mississippi happened first. God's call to go to Alabama came as a surprise. We weren't expecting it, but it's still God's call, we still go. In the previous case, sensing the move beforehand actually helped us be better prepared. Not expecting this current move, we were a little caught off guard. God pricked my "get ready" senses, but perhaps I needed a little more time, or I didn't act passionately enough to HIs promptings to get ready. This was a more challenging move, because we had a very tight time frame. An evangelistic series starting in the new district demanded that we move as quick as possible. Evangelism is exciting, but the tight time frame was extremely stressful. One important thing to remember is that even though God calls us to go somewhere else, He doesn't always make every path smooth. He worked a housing miracle for us in Meridian.
In Mobile, Alabama, we struggled, commuting back and forth from Meridian to Mobile for a few weeks until we were able to find a place and get moved in. The extra stress and challenges only made us more thankful for church family and friends willing to help, and caused us to lean on God even more. We knew He would give us the strength to get through the challenges of the move. Moving a family is like throwing a pebble in a pond - it has many, many ripples. The timing of our move impacted everything. Matthew ended up giving up going to teen summer camp, because he knew the family would need the money for the move, and he knew we would need his help packing. Both Matthew and Greta are getting ready to go to Bass Memorial Academy. Because of how long it took us to find a place to live, they will barely have adjusted to their rooms in the new house, before it's time to move into the dorms at Bass for the school year. I had to quit my job, and unfortunately there wasn't a sister organization nearby that I could just transfer to, so I will have to start all over in looking for a job. Needing time off to search for housing and all, and doing our best to "guess" what time frame the move would actually take place, I decided to quit my job at a certain time, but it was weeks later that we actually moved. That means several weeks without my paycheck helping out the family. But God is faithful, and has been blessing as only He can.