We have loved living in Raleigh over the last 10 years. There is no easy way to sum up all we are grateful for or to bring such a formative season to an end. Here we share a few thoughts around the conclusion of our time in Raleigh and what's next for our family.
We spent the last week having meals with close friends and reflecting on all that God has done. Sunday was our last full day in Raleigh and we enjoyed it by celebrating Perry at her ballet recital. On Sunday night we got in the cars and drove into the sunset and out of North Carolina. This last week was one of the most emotional weeks we have yet to live as a family.
We cried our way through this last week as we visited with friends, went to familiar places, and reflected on how good God has been to us over the last 10 years. Here are just a few of the things we have loved most about living in Raleigh and will remember as we move to London...
We think of people when we think of Raleigh. People from the MDiv and PhD days at Southeastern Seminary - professors, administrative staff, fellow students. People from Elizabeth's time working at Bailey's. People from the two churches we were involved with - Capital Community Church and Providence Baptist Church. People from our neighborhood. People that we met through Perry's ballet days. And so much more.
We remember the college students we discipled together. The marriage counseling we did and the weddings we cried in. We remember the way that Summit Network rallied around us in this last year and all the wonderful people we met through this year of preparation. We remember the teams we served on and the teams we led. We remember those who have been with us in our times of need and those we were able to be present with as well.
We think of places when we think of Raleigh. We think of our first townhouse out in Wake Forest and our home on Pastille Lane that meant so much to us. We think of both worship centers at Providence Church and the place where we led college ministry. We think of our neighborhood and the grocery stores we frequented. We think of coffee shops, the gym, and our favorite place to get hamburgers as a family.
We remember the important role that the college campus played in our lives. We think about the hospital where our kiddos were born and the doctors offices we would attend together. We think of all the important moments all over Pastille Lane. We think of our neighborhood, Perry's school, and the places we would get away to when life got hard.
We think of God's presence when we think about Raleigh. God's presence is what infused every moment and friendship we experienced with grace. God's presence also functioned like a glue that held us and our world together when it seemed like everything was becoming undone. God's presence is something that gets talked about a lot in church circles but not really considered on its own. The fact that God has been with us is what is most meaningful from this enjoyable season in Raleigh. God's presence is what has made this season so wonderful.
One of the biggest themes in the Bible is God's presence. One of the names Jesus assumed when He was born was" Immanuel" - which literally means: God with us (Matthew 1:23). Jesus came to earth to bring heaven and earth back together. He taught His disciples to pray for God's will to be done "on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). After Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and rose from the grave He looked at His followers and sent them into the world with the promise of His continued presence "I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).
Raleigh has been such a great place for us because Jesus has been present with us. The Psalmist captures the reality so well, "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11). God's presence is what makes moments like this bearable and leaving possible. God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. Raleigh has been a gift. We head to London with the promise that the Giver goes with us.
We are spending the next two weeks in Alabama. This week we are in Seaside Florida with Elizabeth's family. We will spend Sunday with the First Baptist Church Family in Montgomery and then next week in Birmingham with the West family. We will be around for a few meetings with the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Birmingham as well. We plan to spend a few nights at the lake and then head over to London on Tuesday June 18, Lord willing.
Pray With Us
Will you pray with us in the week ahead?
Pray for our Visas that are under decision this week. The last few weeks have been nearly consumed with preparing paperwork for the Visa. We drove to Charlotte on Friday to get our biometric scans and then put our application in the mail. We should hear back by Monday on what the decision is.
Pray for financial partners to help us plant this church. We're in conversations with a few partners about investing in our team as we work together to plant in London. We are encouraged that God has provided over 80% of the needed funds to plant this church and we are trusting Him for the remainder. In our last post we explained our new giving platform and how people can get involved - check it out.
Pray for us to slow down and connect as a family. Honestly, it's surprisingly difficult to slow down and sync up. We moved so fast for so long through this last season. Pray that these scheduled times with family would be refreshing and that we would make the most of our time together.
Thank you for being on this journey with us!
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen