After six weeks in Juneau, AK, I returned home to Jacksonville, FL—from the far NW coast of America to the SE coast. After an enjoyable day with my wife, I had the treat of meeting up with a pastor-friend from the Philippines.
I joined him, his wife, and two other couples to watch the big fight, featuring Manny Pacquiao. It was like spending an evening in the Philippines, well, sort of.
Six weeks ago, I left the warmth of sunny FL to serve as pastor for a church in Juneau, AK. I was the last in a team of five pastors with Poimen Ministries.
As mentioned in an earlier post, we provided pastoral care and leadership while their pastor is on sabbatical. Each of us served with a different style and focus of service.
Our point man, and team leader for this assignment, laid a solid groundwork for the rest of us. After Juneau in the winter, the founder of Poimen Ministries went to Peru on an extended assignment at a Bible college. My pastor-friend who preceded me went to serve in Eastern Europe and the Middle East this month. BTW, when I say assignment, we see ourselves assigned by God, not by any institution.
It's been a privilege to serve with my fellow pastors, and to serve the Body of Christ.
A new family connection
My role focused on discipleship and leadership development, but my first responsibility was to engage with the people and embrace a new church family.
It's a bit daunting to serve the church body of a fellow pastor, especially when you're the last of five surrogate pastors. I say surrogate because we served in the place of a fellow pastor.
It's quite an adjustment for this church family, and it's a bit like being a substitute teacher for each of us. Thankfully, this church welcomed and served us, as we endeavored to serve them.
I was privileged and blessed to build new friendships, teach and encourage the church, including preach on Resurrection Sunday, and recognize and ordain four men as leaders in the church.
I also got to do some cool (literally!) hiking and sightseeing, including a seaplane ride, and take a bunch of photos. It was a great time with a great church family. After six weeks away I was ready to be home, but it was with mixed feelings I left this new-found family and many friendships.
Back home, back to work
Of course, it was great to see my wife after six long weeks away! I left a much cooler beginning of spring in Juneau, to arrive to the typically perfect spring weather in Jacksonville. After a sunny breakfast in the backyard, Susan and I headed to the Shrimp Festival in Fernandina Beach, with lots of people, vendor booths, and, of course, lots of shrimp.
An unexpected surprise was reuniting with a Filipino pastor-friend in Jacksonville. He and his family now live in NC, but he and his wife were visiting friends. I was invited to join them and two other couples to watch the Mayweather-Pacquiao boxing match.
Although the outcome was disappointing, it was fun watching a Filipino folk hero with Filipino friends. For a short while, it was like being back in the Philippines!
Now that I'm back home, it's back to my regular work. But then, my life and work have never been what you would call regular.