My heart is full today–full of excitement and expectation, and a good bit of sorrow as well–as we send these dear friends off.
Seems like we’re always saying goodbye to good friends–I guess that’s your lot in life if you’ve chosen the path of ministerial training or if you befriend those with ministry aspirations. We can’t keep all those pastor-teacher gifts in one place, much as we’d like to. And so we happily–if a little tearfully–send off one of the best, one of the most faithful families we know to help build the body of believers at Orange Park Bible Church and to further equip them for the work of the ministry.
And though that church has done due diligence in vetting you, they still only know you in part. In time they will come to know and love you all as as we do. They will see a family who gives generously, leads with zeal, and does acts of mercy with cheerfulness. They’ll see a family who loves genuinely with brotherly affection, who are fervent in spirit, patient through difficulty, always rejoicing in hope, constant in prayer, and generous and hospitable. They’ll see how you are quick to rejoice with the happy and to weep with the grieving. And they’ll testify–as we do–to how your lives have been transformed by the gospel and lived in a way that is out of conformity to this world.
And Erica, you know how much I’ll miss you. You have been a constant, faithful friend (and mentor, though you’d never admit it!) to me these last 11 years. I thank God for the good gift of friendship he gave me when we sat down to our first cup of coffee over a decade ago now.
Erica and me at Matt’s graduation. CE 2006
June 2007 At Small Plates before Jared and I (and a 2 month old Asher) moved to Chicago. Apparently, our palettes weren’t sophisticated enough for tapas, because we indulged in entree-sized desserts at Barnes and Noble afterward.
Fall 2007. The Owens visit us in Chicago. Erica was pregnant with Ruby at the time. She was sick a good portion of the weekend, but just grateful for each day she was able to sustain the pregnancy.
Spring 2009 Holding our middle children
Feb 2011. Erica hosted a baby shower for me after we moved back to Michigan and lost most of our stuff in a fire.
Hospital visit after Haven’s birth Feb 2011
April 2012 Jenny and I pulled off a surprise birthday party for Little Miss Sunshine
Fall 2013 Erica almost (no comment here!) pulled off a surprise birthday party for Jenny
March 2014 Farewell party
Cray-cray childhood friends. It’s a hard loss for us all.
Stella: 8 going on 9, Asher: almost 7, Ruby: almost 6, Jude: 5, Schaeffer almost 4, Haven: 3.
Friends at Asher’s kindergarten graduation June 2013
Jude and Ruby Spring 2009
Stella and Asher Fall 2007
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.