It seems appropriate that I update the Boston church and her leaders as to the progression of my health challenges and its effect on my capacity to work full time.
For 42 years I have had the privilege to serve in the full-time ministry. I began fresh out of college and saw God work in amazing ways in campus ministries in North Carolina. We moved to West Virginia and then moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, to plant a church there. With each move we added a child, including Boston. When we moved to Boston, like many, we planned to be here a short time, but God had other plans. We have now been here 30 years.
I have served as an evangelist here since 1987 and an elder since 1990. I have learned and gained so much through the faithful men and women with whom I served side by side, and have seen God move in mighty ways. I was able to travel the globe serving the poor, strengthening churches and helping to establish elderships. I enjoy the love of my wife and family and am so thankful for their love for God and his church. I am richly blessed. Without their support I could not have served to the extent I have.
My hope was to continue to serve in the full-time ministry for several more years, particularly to help establish more elderships.
As Proverbs 16:9 says, we can plan our course, but God directs our steps. His plans are not always understood, but he always acts in love and with a purpose higher than ours.
A couple of years ago I began to develop problems with my balance. Over time, my condition has worsened to where I can no longer walk, have speech difficulties, and other autonomic neurological difficulties. My fatigue level on most days is intense. I continue to beg God to take this from me, as many of you have prayed. But so far, he seems to be saying, “My grace is sufficient for you.” He is sovereign all of the time. I have accepted my current circumstance and strive to live a grateful, courageous and cheerful life, by his grace.
I no longer have the energy to work full time and have made the decision to go on long term disability after experiencing the recent effects of my health. I still will do all I can, going in the strength I have. As of now, I will remain an elder in the church, but not in the full time capacity. My plan is to spend the time and energy that I do have in developing resources for eldership, passing on what God has taught me, spending time with family—as well as helping as many as I can make it to heaven.
In all honesty, this is difficult. I will miss the comradery of life in the ministry with Doug, Valdur, Mark B. and the rest of Boston elders and staff. I don’t know what the future holds, but my diagnosis is that this is a progressive neurological disease that does not get easier. I ask for your prayers—that I can go in the strength God gives me and fulfill God’s purpose for my life. I long to see the next generation reach this world for God in ways we have only dreamed about, and will always pray to that end.
I am extremely thankful for the love and family of the Boston church, especially to my wife and children (and their spouses) who meet my daily needs. This has been my home for the past 30 years and will be for the future to come. I already feel so taken care of, and appreciate your prayers, support, and love during this difficult time. Jeanie will continue to work in the ministry, but I will need to withdraw from most of the obligations and responsibilities I have carried.
Thank you for all of your understanding and ongoing support. It is a joy to be a part of this fellowship.
With my deepest love and affection,