Wednesday, October 13, 2010

NGM Update 186 Coming Full Circle

Small Town USA
October 13, 2010

It was out of the blue and kind of crazy.  One of my favorite professors, Ron Chadwick, had come to me with an idea in the spring of 1969.  He had returned from Oklahoma City, where he had been a conference speakers, with an unusual request.  A pastor from northwestern Oklahoma had asked if he knew of any students who would be interested in being a youth pastor for the three months of the upcoming summer.  Their church had never had one, he explained, but was willing to give it a try for the summer.  Dr. Chadwick replied, “I know of one student who is just crazy enough do such a thing, but he just got married last summer. “  I was and so was my wife of less than one year.

My wife Pam believes that she is married to a risk taker.  This must have been one of our earliest.  Our life is full of them and she now encourages me to take more.  Maybe she believes an aging husband may tend to seek comfort, convenience and safety as he approaches the “exit door.”

41 years later, Pam and I find ourselves very much in love with the city and church that was the beginning of our vocational ministry.  We believe Fairview, Oklahoma, has the potential to be put on the map by the Lord Jesus.  She is full of resources, visionaries, and risk takers.  She has a special place in our hearts because it is the beginning of our history of service for the Kingdom of God.  We left Fairview a couple of days ago after enjoying 10 days there.  We have come full circle to partner with some of those visionaries and risk takers.  Many pray for us, some contribute to Next Generation Ministries, and 3 different teams from Fairview have joined us in our work in Uganda.  We believe many of them will return accompanied by new team members in 2011.

It’s impossible to recapture our numerous activities (Lions club, preaching, speaking, meetings while constantly surrounded by food!)in Fairview, so we share a pictorial snapshot with you of Small Town USA.  Homecoming was the only game in town on Friday and we took it all in … the Parade, the Rally, Homecoming Coronation, and the football game.   One of our NGM short term missionaries from last July, Gaige, was crowned queen.

Fairview … our original place of ministry more than forty years ago.  There is a special place in our hearts for Fairview.  Vernon Fast, Melvin Cornelson, Ed Kliewer and Gene Fast where among those who took their own risk to recommend their church employ an impetuous, inexperienced risk taker who was just a kid.  I spoke with three of them last week and thanked each of them for taking their own risk.  I will always love them and the city they introduced to me.

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