I’ve been dying to make this announcement, but Megan and I had to wait until she could announce it at work. Well, last Friday, she did, and so let me officially put the news out there!
WE’RE MOVING TO BELL GARDENS, CALIFORNIA!!!!!
If you had told me back in the beginning of April, as my seminary life was ending, that Megan and I would be going to the Los Angeles area, (which Bell Gardens is a part of), I would have called you crazy. We were putting plans together for after graduation, but God often interrupts our plans so that we can be in His. And so He did.
The interruption started when Pastor John Johnson of Covina Assembly was here in Springfield for a two day meeting, and he had lunch with my father, Megan and me, and somewhere in the middle of bites of Cracker Barrel he started talking about this church in Bell Gardens. As he talked about it, I could sense the Holy Spirit opening my heart to the possibility of taking the risk, moving to a land I had never been, and doing something I knew God called me to do: Pastor a multicultural church!
A week later, Pastor John called me up and asked me to send my resume, to start the process. Megan and I could not get this church out of our hearts and minds, and God grew our love for the people of Bell Gardens even though we didn’t even know what the community looked like. Well, Google Earth helped us out with that, as we would “drive” through the town, looking at it, and praying. You have no idea how hard it was for me to focus on finishing out the semester, finish writing my papers, taking my finals, when all along I just wanted to think and pray about Bell Gardens.
A few days after graduation, Megan and I flew out to LA for 5 days. And God started blessing us from the moment we landed. For cheaper than our original reservation of a Mitsubishi Galant, the folks at Dollar Rental hooked us up with a Mustang convertible! We then hit the ground running. We got to the church at about 3pm, and we had meetings with the interim pastor, Pastor John, the advisory council of the church, the leadership team, the pastors of the Spanish Church, and finally many from the church.
Our hearts grew and grew for the people of Bell Gardens, and we knew that God had opened this door. I often wondered why God led me to major in Spanish at Evangel 20 years ago. I figured back then that it was to become a teacher, but after doing that for a few years, I knew that wasn’t it. Then I went to Bell Gardens, where 98 percent of the community are Hispanic. Even 20 years ago, God knew this was where we were going to be, and He was preparing me even then!
As I preached that Sunday morning, May 11, I knew that God was in this! We said yes, and so we are now the Pastors of Full Gospel Assembly of God in Bell Gardens, California. We’ll be moving there later this month, but our hearts are already there.
Please, keep us in your prayers! And if you’re in Bell Gardens, come on over to the church where we LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS, AND REACH THE WORLD!