Sustainable Housing Project

Friday, January 11, 2013

Transition Time

Often, major transitions in our lives are times of anxiety and stress. Stress can sometimes come about during life's transitions because of the uncertainty of what is ahead of us. Too often, transitions are unwelcome changes affecting our comfort zone.

Angie and I are currently facing ministry transitions. In our case the changes that we are going through indicate that there has been success in having new leadership stepping forward to accept the jobs for which they have so diligently been preparing. They are fulfilling the roles to which God has called them.

In May of 2012, it became apparent that Angie needed medical attention for her shoulder that had been operated on a couple of years earlier. The replacement ball that had been implanted into her upper arm was causing severe pain and keeping her from being able to sleep at night. She could not find relief here in Honduras. Angie later learned from her surgeon in Ohio that the rotator cuff was completely torn and the only surgical option would be a complicated "reverse surgery" involving a replacement ball and joint. Fortunately, with therapy, Angie has less pain and the surgery has been postponed.

In June we turned responsibilities over to other people who had been working with us. In particular, David Ortiz was approved to fill Larry's position as the Vocational School director. David had been the school administrator since World Gospel Mission accepted ownership of the institution in 2006. David had been preparing to eventually become the school director. He had already assumed many of the responsibilities of the director, but out of necessity, his formal job promotion happened earlier than we had anticipated.

Shalom Church congregation
It is not uncommon that talented leaders are often called upon to fill multiple roles. David had also served on the pastoral team with Larry at the Shalom Church. David is one of the founding members who helped initiate the congregation nearly four years ago. He is also a student in our regional Bible Institute and will finish his course work this year. The logical choice was to ask David to also serve in the role as the new lead pastor.

After a six month absence from Choluteca, Angie and I have returned to Honduras to take on new roles in ministry. There is no turning back. There will be many changes for us in the near future. We are praying about how we can continue to effectively support the Choluteca ministry team in reaching its goals for the future.

Most importantly, we want to help David through the transition phase that he is facing as well. The church is continually growing under David's leadership. There are new potential opportunities for expanding the number of areas that are being taught at the vocational school. We face a number of strategic decisions in the months ahead of us, but everyone is excited about the future.

In our case, transition means moving out of jobs that we have loved. Transition also means moving ahead to something that God has planned for us. That is exciting.

When we first came to Choluteca in September 2000, I had anticipated and made plans for what I would be doing. I planned to teach agriculture to small farmers and I hope to use my education in community development to help facilitate an improvement in people's lives. I had a strategic plan all drawn up. I still have the plan somewhere but due to the urgency of the moment we were called on to work in a different direction. We spent 12 years helping establish a regional team that has been involved in establishing churches, developing a community health education program and establishing vocational education.

I have a strong sense that I need to dig out that old strategic plan. The main reason for thinking strategically is to attempt to be prepared for whatever we encounter in the future. We can only do our best at anticipating the future because it is in God's hands. I believe that God is giving me the desires of my heart according to Psalm 37:4.

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