Sunday, May 3, 2015

Spring Forward

[This part written Saturday evening]

This is my favorite month. Little green leaves. Soft air. Birdsongs. Just lovely and it gets better, but early May and late April time is especially great because there are very few mosquitoes around. Toni and I just got back from some outdoor time having a take-out Chinese supper alongside Lake Ripley. Nice enough for shorts and sandals. Beautiful!
Sunset over Lake Ripley, Litchfield, MN
Toni and I spent many hours during this week and last working our way through to do lists related to our anticipated move to somewhere in the Twin Cities. I've been freed up for some of that because I didn't to prepare much for last Sunday (a guest pastor preached) and now tomorrow Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge will be here to lead Bible study and worship. I've seen a recommendation that we continue on with more guest speakers during May. That would be a good preparation for Crossroads' new season that will be coming up in June. After school is out I'll be transitioning from Crossroads and from Cokato. ... [that's all I wrote on Saturday evening...]

[This part written Sunday afternoon]

When I got to that point in writing this post, yesterday evening, I was debating about just what to say about my transition out from Cokato and I saw an email that had been sent my way from one of our missionaries.

She wrote:
Hi Steve and Toni, Since I already pray for you and Crossroads regularly already, I'd love to know how to pray more specifically about your future possible plans if you care to share. I'm trusting God to show you the way. [signed name]
I then wrote the email below, and I'm sharing it here so you can pray too.
Thank you [name]! What have you heard about our upcoming transition? How are you and what are you up to? 

My announcement at Crossroads was made a couple weeks ago -

I've mentioned some things in other places on my blog. Is that where you heard?

Aside from the human desire to be nearer to our children and new grandchild, God is leading me in an unexpected direction. And, unless things change between now and June 8 (approximately then) I'll be starting training for this position -

This move into bus driving is such an INTERESTING twist! When I went to look on the school bulletin board back in February of 2011 to see what positions might be open there I had no idea what I was getting into. I'm now completing my fourth school year of regular route driving.

And now, I have this "conditional offer" to drive for Metro Transit. It's conditional on me passing a physical and drug test. I could have started training in April but I decided to finish out the school year here for the ministry's sake. Pray for Crossroads that God's will will prevail in that and look at some of the other blog posts written to see some things to pray about. I'm writing another one that I'll post either tonight or in the next day or two. Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge are leading worship tomorrow (Sunday) so I don't have to get ready to preach tonight. I'll write this instead. ;)

As is true with many things that the Lord has let me to before, it's hard to put into words just "why" this is a good thing. A fellow school bus driver asked me the other day if it's because I like to drive, and that's not it. Personally I'm always trying to limit my time sitting in vehicles. When I can, given a choice, I'd walk or bike. However, there are some things about the position that strangely excite me: 
  1. I won't be leading performances anymore. 
  2. I'll be helping people with something they really need.
  3. As a representative of Jesus I'll be out in public, right where he wants his people to be. 
  4. I'll be in regular contact with people of all kinds, especially with those who are barely making it financially (one reason why people ride the bus instead of driving). 
  5. I like to take risks. At least at the beginning there will be a lot of variety as I'll be put on whatever routes I'll be needed. 
  6. I like to be out doors, but I also like to be comfortable. I'll be in an air conditioned or heated bus most of the time. 
  7. The position, after training, will be a split one, morning and afternoon rush hours. I'll have time between the shifts to take a nap, exercise, and do some kind of outreach ministry work with people in need, which I really want to do. 
  8. I like the idea of supporting myself, at least in part, instead of depending on "the church" to support me. 
On the negative side I don't like the idea of sitting so much. We'll see how that goes. 
[I then shared some deeper spiritual reflections on this transition. I'd be glad to share them with you too but they may seem overly dramatic, so I won't put them here. Just ask and I'll share. ]
photos from Sunday worship
with Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge
[Continuing now with what I wrote, last night in my email...)

Over the past few months I have
applied for many positions in the social ministry and human services areas, and some chaplaincy roles, but nothing came of most of them. I did have interviews with [Agency Name] to work with homeless families, [Organization Name] to work with elders,
[Company Name] to manage housing and services for those with mental illnesses, and with [Ministry Name] to work as a chaplain.

So, perhaps, working for a living outside these institutions, just having a job, will be a good thing. And then I can do ministry alongside that. Will I volunteer or get a part time job with a service agency? With a para-church organization? With a local church in the Twin Cities? I don't know. Pray about that. Maybe the bus driving will be just a short term thing. I don't know.

I expect to hear from Metro Transit by the middle of May so I can get my physical and drug test scheduled and be ready to begin training. They have needed so many drivers recently that they're starting new classes every two weeks but they didn't know if that pace would continue into June.

Thanks for listening and praying, especially for the dear people of Crossroads Community Church.

Pastor Steve Thorson
So today, now, I'm asking your continued prayers. I'm working with our board of directors about the transition here - we'll probably be sharing more about that in the days to come. Today we enjoyed a morning with Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge. Who knows, maybe that's an organization I can work for in the future.

God is good and he loves us so well. We can trust him always, no matter what each season may bring.

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