It was exactly 10 years ago today that Mark and I started pastoring in Vancouver! Our road from Seattle was an ironic one. We had just been let go from our youth pastor position and were completely lost and dumbfounded by the next step. The night we got fired I asked Mark where he thought he would like to be. His answer…Vancouver, WA. I told him that the local Assembly of God church had just hired a youth pastor and that was not going to be an option for us. Nonetheless, with no connections to Vancouver and having only even been there a couple of times, Mark held fast to the notion of going there anyway.
We began interviewing for different youth pastor positions. In fact, we interviewed at 13 different churches. Everytime we left and said, “This is not the place for us.” In spite of the fact that we had no income, we just kept saying no. And then, one day, the church Mark had dreamed of being at, called him. They were making a sudden change in their youth position and wanted us to come and interview. In fact, when they called the Network Office to ask about potential applicants, they were given only one name…Mark Newell.
We could have skipped the interview. It was so impossible and so God, that as we drove south on I-5, we laughed at the whole situation. Why would God drop Vancouver in Mark’s heart and then have this all unfold? It’s because He had an agenda for us and for this city.
Now, ten years later, we look back with joy at the journey. Five years of youth pastoring here and now this will be five years of birthing a church. We love the relationships that we’ve built! We have now been working hand in hand with Joe and Kris Gray for a decade and many other of our relationships began shortly thereafter. It’s hard to wrap our brains around the fact that God planned the steps of all of us for such a time as this.
So, here’s to ten years my dear Vancouver! We’re planning on being buried here after many decades of ministry in our community. From the lowest point in our lives to the greatest joy…isn’t that how God always works for those who love Him and live according to His purpose?