Personal Update – June 2012
There has been little movement in the past month and, as a result, I have not posted an update since May. Since things are quite slow, I will begin posting monthly updates. As always, thank you for the prayers.
Blessings and Challenges
For a few days we had the glad distraction of guests. My parents came for a few days and our friends from Wisconsin gave us a surprise visit last weekend. Both were a blessing to us.
The Lord continues to provide for our physical needs. The church graciously extended my severance. I don’t know for how long, but so far it’s been through June. Several friends and family have given financial gifts and some have even made a pattern of regularly giving to my family’s needs. Barring any financial disasters, then, we have enough savings to last a few months, even if I don’t find a job. My hope, though, is that God will provide a job sooner rather than later so we can have that financial cushion.
Spiritually, I’ve been struggling. There have been days where my attitude and moods have been works of the flesh. I’m continuing to struggle through this in my own strength. To be candid, I think this is my biggest area of need. I don’t know that I’ve ever had to deal with such turmoil. I know this is a good way to teach me several lessons, but I don’t like it. I’m probably the Christian equivalent of a spoiled little brat. I don’t quite know how to be content with where I am. Please pray for me here.
In May I mentioned that I was working on a questionnaire for a church in Wisconsin. I finished it and sent it in. About two weeks ago I finally heard from my contact that they decided to pursue another applicant for now. I wasn’t surprised, but it still hurt.
I’m still pursuing ministry but in a slightly different way now. I’m taking a little more passive approach now and turning my focus to Detroit and finishing seminary at DBTS. I say passive because I’m not giving up on looking for ministry, but I am not focusing my energies there. If a church wants me, I’ll be eager to talk with them. For now, though, it just doesn’t seem like the wisest thing to do with my time so I’m focusing on getting to Detroit.
Right now, there is one active possibility that would keep me in ministry and get us to Detroit. There is a small church close to the seminary that has a parsonage available. The pastor owns his own home and wants to use the parsonage as housing for a seminary guy in exchange for ministry in the local church. We’ve been attending the church and I’ve been speaking with the pastor for a few weeks now. I am hopeful that this will work out for several reasons: (1) I’ll be able to keep focus on ministry in the local church in a sort-of-vocational way while I’m going through seminary; (2) I’ll be able to work under a pastor who has years of ministry wisdom.
Job hunting isn’t quite what it used to be. The phrase “pound the pavement” looking for a job has morphed into “pound the pavement and the keyboard.” I have spent several hours revising my resume, writing cover letters, and filling out job applications. The most time consuming, however, are what I call character and personality profiles. Strange questions these. My answers probably tell them I’m bi-polar or something. But I’m doing my best, spending several hours a day on monster.com or snagajob.com.
We are still living in the apartment in the Toledo area, which is 70 minutes from seminary. Our rent is $900/month (plus $53/month for a storage unit). Obviously, then, our desire is to move to the Detroit area. At least two major hurdles lie in the way. (1) We are under a lease through January 2013. We can get out of the lease if the manager can find someone else to lease to. The prime time for new tenants is over the summer. In order to move out, we have to give a 30-day notice. In speaking with the manager, she suggested giving a 30-day notice, moving out by the 15th of the month, giving them time to get the apartment ready for renters at the first of the next month. (2) Every apartment complex I have ever spoken with has initial income requirements for their tenants—no one will rent to a person who has no job. There is the possibility of a friend of the seminary putting us up for the short term, but I’m not sure how feasible that would be.
So, even if I were to get a job in Detroit and find an apartment or house, if we cannot get out of our lease down here, there may be some issues—two rent payments a month would seem to leave little leftover for other expenses.
There is still a possibility of ministring in a local church in the Detroit area where they would let us stay in their parsonage—like the one I mentioned above, if not that one. Frankly, this seems like the most feasible and desirable option to us. Then again, God does not always do feasible. Nevertheless, this is the end to which we are praying.
I want to conclude this post with a strange request for you. I’m sure most of you are familiar with missionaries raising monthly support for their ministries. They go on extended deputation, traveling to hundreds of churches raising hundreds of dollars in support. I’ve also heard of raising support for temporary mission trips. High school and college students write letter, make phone calls, and visit family members asking for money so they can go on mission trips. You’ve probably never heard of a man asking for financial support to get him through seminary—I know I haven’t. Yet I find myself in a situation where I must explore all possible options. The strange request I’m asking you to consider is to financially support me and my family through seminary or until we are stable again. I know this is rather unorthodox, but any amount would be greatly appreciated. I have no formal way of doing this and any money that would be sent would not be tax deductible, as would a gift to a missionary. But please consider it. If you are interested in helping us, please contact me.
Lord willing, July will bring more visitors—my wife’s parents are planning to be here this week. I am looking forward to the respite and fellowship again. Please continue to keep our needs before the Lord.