I’m admittedly an idealist at times, something that tends to clash with what I refer to as my realism (not pessimism) about life. One of the ideals I had as we cast loose of our settled life to start traveling and sharing with partners around the country and waiting for deployment to happen was that I could be of help wherever we might be. After all, I’m pretty familiar with the life of a parish pastor and there are times when having someone who can fill in on a Sunday morning or provide some other sort of ministry addition might be a helpful thing.
That being said, I also know this is difficult for pastors. Lots of different things make it difficult to slot a random visiting pastor into your routine. And I understand the comfort of having a tried and trusted retired pastor or other local resource fill in on Sunday morning as opposed to turning the reins over to an unknown. Still, I had hoped there might be some way I could be of help. I’ve had frequent opportunities to preach, but not because it was needed so much as because it was offered as a way for members to get a better feel of who I was beyond a quick presentation during Bible study.
God works in unexpected ways. Our encounter with the small Lutheran church here on Anderson Island last Sunday resulted in a follow-up note to the pastor, thanking him for his welcome and letting him know more about who we were and what we are headed for in terms of overseas service. He responded with a warm e-mail as well, and asked how long we’d be around. As it turns out, he and his wife have vacation planned for mid-November and he needs someone to fill in for two Sundays while he’s gone. Given the somewhat remote location of the congregation, I’m sure finding substitutes can be challenging.
So we’ve checked our budget and decided we can hang out a little longer on the island. We don’t have a definite next stop lined up yet as rents in the Phoenix area are still very high even for smaller places that would be cramped for our family of basically five adults. It’s nice to be able to stay a little longer in a beautiful place, and the people we’re renting from gave us a really good deal. We recently discovered that the slight hope of entering sooner into Taiwan is not going to come about, so we’ll be figuring out how to hang loose probably at least through December and into the start of 2022.
For the short term, it’s nice to know I can be of help as we wait for what comes next and whenever it’s going to come!