So after several years in Louisiana with great memories, friends, youth and changes . . . God had us make a big move. A great move. He led us to Hamilton Baptist Church in Hamilton, VA. This was perfect training ground for me and five wonderful years as a full-time youth pastor.
I had always wanted to do the “youth thing” full-time and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I miss the young’uns dearly and try to watch their individual journeys through facebook and am so proud of them. Some are taking great stands at school, others involved in great endeavors, and some at college making a difference.
Looking back, the only thing I wish I could have done more is . . . reach more unsaved teens for Christ and have the opportunity to mentor more young people one-on-one. I am so proud of the one young man whom I spent some individual time with and believe he is and will do great things for God. Not because of my mentoring but because he’s trying to follow Him as leader!! (I wish I could mention every teen and how they impacted my life – but maybe I can mention some of them in future posts!)
My pastor (Chris Walker) was a wonderful mentor and very good friend!! I owe a lot of who I am today to his friendship, challenges, encouragements, and love. He has a Big HEART and is a true follower of Christ in every sense of the word. I miss our conversations together.
And HBC was a church with a Big HEART. A group of loving and sincere Christians. It seemed like there was always someone willing to step up to the plate and help out or reach out. Their ministry in Eagle Butte – amazing!! So many things going in the right direction.
So why did I leave? Why not stay and minister to the youth? I did say that I thought God wanted me to forever be a youth pastor!
It was a sermon that my big-hearted preacher spoke. The Lord was already challenging me about pastoring and I was fighting it. Pastor Chris spoke and my heart was stirred and convicted. I couldn’t fight it any more – so I told him that God was calling me to pastor and that my final decision “was all his fault”. LOL I had to follow Christ even if I didn’t understand – even if it meant sacrifice – even if it meant no church pay check – even if it meant leaving a church family of dear friends.
The dream was about to come true . . . Stories Coffee House (an outreach to the teens needing hope/ needing Christ in Loudoun County). Opening day was one day away when “the door was closed” and the outreach endeavor never came to be. I wept – a lot! It was the worst day ever in my ministry career.
God knew what he was doing even though I didn’t understand. Stories was closed but Istoria Church was being born – God wanted to take our story line and add a new adventure. A new chapter about to be written in Joliet, Illinois!!