Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Here in Barrow

Grace and greetings.

A friend recently wrote asking a variety of questions, maybe some of them can be brought out again. How did I end up here? How long will I stay?

I moved to Anchorage between my junior and senior year in high school. (She knew this part of the story, since she was one of the friends I left behind in Whittier, California). I had asked my father if I could move back to finish high school in Huntington Beach. He told me to give Alaska six weeks; and I stayed for 13 years. We spent the last twenty years throughout the United States; serving churches from Northern New York to Ohio, Montana, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Mexico, Florida, Pennsylvania and Washington. In December 2006, I came to Barrow to interview for the position of Senior Pastor. Since my wife spent her internship here, we knew somewhat of what to expect. I did not really think that I would take the position, but as time went along, so did the my hearing of God's spirit.

We have been here for two years now; my "contract" is worded that after three years the congregation will pay for the moving expenses back to Seattle. It cost the church $25,000 to move us up here, so that is a powerful incentive to try and make it for another year. My contract does not have an end date, per se, so who knows.

I know that I am called here, but like many places that are so isolated, it is hard at times. Last week we were in Fairbanks, which is 500 miles to the south of us, and there are many trees there. Here in Barrow, we are 450 miles north of the tree line, so no trees. We are still in the throws of winter as it snows outside; that can drain the spirit. At the moment, my spirit is draining.

Where and when do we go from here? My only answer is that is up to God. Right now, consider that not many people can last up here for that long. You have to be called to the place in order to stay, and thrive. With the economy were it is at the moment, it is probably good to have a safe place to be. I love the people here, and I know that I have been a positive influence for many people in the community, not just in the church.

So, I take it one day at a time. If I were offered a dream position elsewhere, would I take it? Today maybe, tomorrow, probably not.

Peace and blessings.

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