I truly thought my overseas work had come to an end.
For most of the past 25+ years, I have worked with churches in many countries. My work had been in pastoral and leadership training. I loved that task and I loved the people whom I was able to come to know in all those other lands. But after those years of living in other places, I was tired.
My last assignment overseas had been predicated on some misunderstandings and inadequate planning even before I came on the scene, and my experience in that particular work had been the most difficult of any of the previous ones. It left me exhausted, and even with a bit of a sour taste on my palate. I was ready to put all the overseas work and the travel behind me.
Vivian and I returned home to our little farm, ready to settle in and enjoy our remaining years in the place that is so close to our hearts. Back on my farm in Wisconsin, I got the few cows I have long wanted, and Vivian some alpacas. I was ready to pretend to be a farmer for a while.
The Lord even gave us some ministries in local churches to round out our lives. I was asked to be the visitation pastor for the church where I was raised. Soon, another small church in the area asked me if I would become their regular pastor as well.
I accepted. This church is called the Log Church of Tripoli, Wisconsin.
For several years I have written for an online blog, on which I use to put a variety of things that I had written—stories, poems, devotionals. However, when I began as a pastor and with the weekly sermon preparation that I was now required to do, I no longer had time to write other things (what with my cows and farm and all), so I just began putting the text to my sermons up on the blog. Every week a new sermon.
People read them—people from all parts of the world. There is a tracking app on the blog page that allows me to see from which countries each “hit” was made. On occasion, I would receive an email from someplace to thank me, or to ask me a question, but usually I had no idea who was reading these posts, or why.
One day I received an email from a man in Kenya—“Joel” his name was.
Tomorrow I will write tell you what Joel said to me.