Actually, there are still a few days to go: A few hours Saturday editing my final Gateway sermon, and then a Sunday farewell service, and with that my pastoral duties at Gateway conclude. It feels weird. It also feels right.
I’ve been working part time for International Justice Mission since April. The role sharing between Gateway Church and IJM has gone as well as expected, but knowing I would eventually move into full-time work with IJM, it also felt like a progressive letting go. So now, as I spend my last day in the Gateway pastor’s office, I am settled and peaceful.
I walked in this morning and Salila was looking at me: she always does this. She’s been in my office for about the last ten years. Her photograph was a gift from Austin K Graff, one time IJM Church mobilisation and social media wizard. Salila would always remind me that while I was free to do my work, millions of others weren’t. While I relaxed with my coffee there were children with no memory of ever playing, and only ever of slaving from 4am to 10pm in a brick kiln’s hell. While I slept peacefully and soundly, there were people of the other side of the world putting themselves in dangerous, life threatening situations in order to rescue others out of slavery and brutality.
Salila’s smile is evidence that freedom comes as the law is upheld. Her personal transformation reminds me that God is always at work to rescue from the fall, to end our chaos, to calm our fears, and to make things right again.
The greatest reminder of this glorious work of God is Jesus’ Cross and Resurrection. His defeat of evil is the sole means IJM and their partners can undo the wickedness of violence and slavery. His is a glorious work of freedom: and when the Son sets you free, wow, you are really free!
So from next week, my sole work focus will be to introduce the people of Jesus to the people of Salila. I’ll be carrying the good news of Jesus through the God’s good people at IJM, and in the name of Jesus inviting the church into this grand endeavour to bring freedom in Jesus’ name.
And yes, there will be more to say about that…
Hope you have a fantastic service on Sunday – and all the best in your job at IJM.
Thanks John! That means a lot!
Helen and I will continue to follow your walk and service with our Lord Jesus with our heart and prayers, David and Leonie. A bridge between the worlds of the Aussie Christian Church and the life and longings of some of the world’s most powerless… what a wonderful way to follow your pastoral ministry and leadership! Thank you for what you have done among us – we look forward to the next chapter!
Thank you Fred and Helen for your very kind words!
Peter & I wish you all the best in this next chapter of your ministry in your work with IJM. We pray that God will continue to bless you and Leonie as you carry on this vital work in the world. Love & blessings, Shelley & Peter
Thanks so much Shelley & Peter!
Thanks so much for your faithful ministry. I know you will be missed at Gateway (Noel and Marian Selsmark are close friends) and I will miss you as part of the regular CRCA ministerial corp, even though you will serve on in a different capacity. May you both know Godâs guiding hand and providential care. Be encouraged and keep up the good work. The need is great and the time is short.
Thanks John – really appreciate your comments. …you’ll still see me around!
It’s so good to read your mail/blog.
I did read it awhile ago, but reread it again.
You are now well and truly in your new post and new home! I trust you and Lons are well settled in.
I’m so happy for you…really happy that you can make the change/transition to a field not completely unknown to you. It must be so rewarding.
I’d love to hear from you more on this.
Is Lons continuing with teaching? Or working in IJM too. (Sooty you prob told me and I’ve forgotten 😉).
Much love this Christmas and the New Year with all your family and loved ones.
(Jesse sends his best too xx)
Sent from my iPhone