After all, who moves up north at the very beginning of winter? Actually, people who moved to Florida in June, probably. And that's how we qualify.
For sometime we sensed that God was almost through with what He wanted us to accomplish in Florida. But knowing you're moving and knowing where you're moving are two different things. Normally, when you are looking for a new job, you send out a whole slew of resumes, but my husband didn't feel comfortable doing that. As a pastor, he said that when God wanted to move him, He knew where we were and He would let us know where to go. He'd been asked to fill in a few times at different places when they needed a speaker on Sunday, but nothing that we really thought God wanted us to move to.
Then one day I heard about a church in Michigan that needed a pastor. Terry's from Michigan, but he doesn't have the best of memories growing up there and had no desire to move back. I didn't want to move either. Although I'm also from the Midwest, we've lived in the south for almost twenty years, and I considered myself a transplanted southerner.
The interesting thing about this church was that they were one of our supporting churches when we were missionaries in Uganda. Still wasn't interested, so I decided not to tell Terry about this church. However, I didn't want to be responsible for turning down something that was God's will for us either, so I asked God to let me know if He wanted me to tell Terry about the church. (Aren't I spiritual?)
Apparently God didn't trust me to pass on the message because He got it to Terry through someone else. Terry mentioned to me that this church was looking for a pastor. "Just because a church is looking for a pastor doesn't mean you're supposed to be the one they call," was my observation. He agreed and said he really didn't want to move to Michigan.
A couple of days later, he told me to send a resume. He had called the church, and the head of the pulpit committee was the guy we had stayed with when we were there for a missions conference fifteen years ago. He remembered us, and was excited to hear from us. "Just because we visit doesn't mean they'll call me as pastor," Terry told me. "And even if they vote for me, I don't have to accept it."
We went up there in September and stayed in their little old-fashioned mission house. One chair leg kept falling off every time we sat in it, and the other chair had a broken back that made you sit way forward. The church was a hodgepodge of add-ons with contrasting architectural styles, so you knew which decade each part of the building had been added.
The building may have been odd, but the people were really nice. We had dinner with the pulpit committee and their wives the first night there, with a question and answer time. Terry preached Sunday morning and Sunday night, we sang a duet in both services, and they had a fellowship afterward. We kept reassuring each other privately that it was just a weekend, and we weren't likely to be back, although after we got back to the mission house Sunday night, I told him he had preached himself right into a return visit, thank you very much.
And then they dropped us off at the airport and that was it. We heard from the references Terry had listed that they were checking on him, but nothing came of it for almost a month. Then they asked him to come back. They wanted him to preach both Sunday services again, and they would vote on whether or not to call him as their pastor after the evening service.
We kept asking each other if we were really going to do this, but it was clear to both of us where God was leading.
And that's why we're okay with moving to Michigan at the beginning of winter.
Here's the view from our front porch. You know, the boys prayed for snow every winter while we lived in Florida. I just wish God wasn't answering all those prayers in our first winter here.