They clapped!

Well, we have big news. For the saake of simplicity (and sleep), I'm going to post here the letter we read to our church today. Then I'll tell you a little more.

"We have always said that we want to be the kind of people who would go wherever God would lead us and we believe He's leading us to a new ministry opportunity. I have been given a unique opportunity that fits Trisha's & my gifts and passions. I have been asked to lead the Unlock Ministry team. We see this as the chance of a lifetime because it lines up with my heart for equipping young leaders to change the world and Trisha¹s heart for ministering to under-served kids. As we have prayed and asked God for direction, it seems hard to deny that He is saying "yes" at every turn.

I will primarily be responsible for planning and leading Opportunity Camp and all its programs throughout the year, as well as continuing to help start First Priority clubs in Odessa and Midland. This means that I must step down from my post as a full time Minister at New Life. It also means that Trisha needs to step back from her role as the Children¹s Minister.

The good news is that, although we won't be on full-time staff, we are not leaving New Life as our church home. I will continue leading worship part-time, leading our LifeGroup and helping with Oasis, at least through May. Trisha will continue teaching and leading Kingdom Kids Club.

We want to make it very clear that we love this church. It's incredible to
think back almost 4 years ago when we met Tim and Melinda. We asked God to plant a church in Odessa--and 4 years later, look what He has done!! What an awesome journey!

It has been an honor to give our lives to God's work here, and we are proud to be associated with the Halsteads. We believe as strongly as ever that He chose Tim and Melinda to lead us. We love and respect them deeply. They have sacrificed in countless ways to grow this church. And they have blessed us beyond what we could have imagined in their response to this new opportunity for us. We are so grateful for their grace to us. They need your prayers and support more than ever!

We also believe that God can change the world through young people. The ministry to teens and kids that happens here at New Life is vitally important, and it needs to continue to be a high priority. Some of you are going to be needed vitally to step up and help in ways you might not have done before. Please pray about what God is putting on your heart to do--just
say yes to whatever He asks. He¹ll show you the how, just be obedient to
Him! This transition doesn't scare God in the least. He will be faithful to what He has started here!

The last thing we want to say is Thank You! Thank you for being our family!
Thank you for loving us and our kids! Thank you for working alongside us in the Kingdom, and for the support so many of you have already expressed as we try to follow God as a family. Thank you for your ongoing prayers support of us and this church. We love you!"

So there you go! When Ben finished reading the letter (which didn't surprise many because we've spent the week telling almost everyone at New Life), they actually gave us a standing ovation. That, my friends, is the goodness of the Lord. It is grace we don't deserve. Tim (our senior pastor) stood and said some very affirming things to us, emphasizing that we are being "sent" to do this new ministry, multiplying the work of our church, and that we will have lots of opportunity to partner Unlock ministry with New Life, especially using our facility.

We are in the midst of a HUGE transition for our family. We're venturing outside the world of local church ministry and it's a little frightening to me, because I've gotten pretty comfortable in my identity as "minister's wife." Our life has revolved around church work for as long as we've known each other. We love our partners Tim and Melinda and they are the ones who will feel the loss. So I grieve losing that partnership, at least in the way we have shared life together for the last 3 1/2 years.

But here's what I love. God has shown Himself faithful already. I'm feeling more peaceful each day as I see Him put things in place to provide for New Life. Already Backyard Buddies summer program and Harvest Party, my two biggest events, have someone willing to help lead them.

And I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am about pouring our hearts into the kids at Unlock. If you know me well at all, you know that God has put this love in my heart and I can't wait to see how He works all this out! (I know, it's not ME who's taking on the job, but I have a feeling I'll find ways to serve in it:)

AND, one woman after church kept asking me, "So, what will YOU be doing???" I said, "Well, uh, I'm going to be supporting Ben in his ministry. blah blah blah" But she wasn't satisfied, and asked again, "What is it you will be DOING?" "Well, I guess I'm going to be a stay-at-home mom." She raised her arms in the air and said, "YES!!!" Again, confirmation from God that choosing this for my family is not shirking my duty, but fulfilling it.

I ramble on, but just want to testify to the goodness and power of my God. He is so smart, so loving, so faithful, so utterly amazing! May you find that to be true today too!


Kaylin said…
What a joy to have spent your life in service to the Lord and to know His will for you was a passion he placed in your heart years ago. You two have inspired and encouraged me as a teen and now as an adult. Blessings to the Wall family as you take off on yet another amazing journey spreading the love of God to children and families.
AMankin said…
I am so excited for your next "chapter." Blessings to you and your church family as you embark on this next journey! We love you!!

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