October 2023 Update: Preaching and/or Teaching
I stretched on the living room carpet as Greg sat on the couch. We made our way through a recording of one of Greg’s old sermons. This one was vintage 2016 – Greg preached during Faith Promise in his dad’s church in Hawaii, before we had ever been to Lilongwe. The introductions before the sermon were telling – we talked about our journey together and our training, and our excitement to go to the mission field. I wonder whether my hair was long or short – we cut it about that time seven years ago.
Greg talked about the Kingdom of God, as he often did, and how Jesus healed the paralytic who was lowered through the roof. He shared about the incredible work of our friend Tony who helped a lady walk again and regain her hope and dignity at our free clinic in San Bernardino. In the future, Greg would preach that sermon for missionaries and doctors and talk about how it is Jesus who does the healing, and we just need to lay people at His feet. It was interesting listening to this early sermon, before Greg was even ordained, before he was awarded his PhD, before he had taught at any Bible college, and to think about the things that were still the same, and the things that were starting to change.
Greg turned 40 in August. I don’t know if that was very significant for him, but it corresponded with a time where we started thinking about our long-term ministry goals and vision, and about our overall calling. I don’t know when it started, but Greg has started to feel that he might be called to be a pastor, a very big shift for him. I’ve tried to encourage him as best I can, but sometimes it is hared to know where to go from here. We have sought guidance and thought through ways for him to gain experience, and we’ve been praying a lot and talking a lot. We know a lot of churches in America have lost their pastors in recent years, and Greg has a particular concern for churches in Hawaii, which seem to have unique challenges with retention and cross-cultural ministry. Greg and I are listening to sermons now to have some to send to churches who are looking for pastors. Though we’re not entirely sure whether sermons from more than half a decade ago, or sermons aimed toward Malawian college students would be relevant. We also have no idea how life or opportunities might change after we send these off.
A couple weeks ago we met with the new Nazarene missionaries in our country. We’re not quite sure if they are our supervisors or how their strategies could fit with ours, but they and our District Superintendent very much would like an English Speaking Nazarene church in our region, and they have asked Greg to be a part of it. That’s something very different from the direction we have been going. From time to time, Greg and I have thought of starting a home fellowship group or home church, but starting an entirely new church hasn’t been on our radar. That will need some prayer.
This has been an unusual season for us. Greg wasn’t scheduled for classes at ABC or NTCCA, so he has had more time than usual. He is working with a group of Nazarene pastors as they work through an overview of the Biblical story to use in teaching. It’s a different type of teaching than he has been able to give to students in recent years, and it is probably too soon to see if it is a good fit for him or them.
This month, please pray for us as we wait and pray and try to discern what God has for us in coming seasons.