This letter was written in 2006 to our family, friends, and church family of Calvary South Denver.
In 2002, my wife Kelly and I, along with our eight children, took a vacation trip to South Carolina to see my wife’s family. While we were there we decided to venture into the city of Charleston simply as tourists to see the sights.
As we drove into the downtown area we were quickly moved by the beauty of the city that is surrounded with water from the Atlantic Ocean. As we parked along the Battery and began to walk the city we saw magnificent colonial style homes in a variety of different colors lining the streets. History dating as far back as the revolutionary war was evidenced everywhere by monuments ranging from forts to embalmed canons.
A Seed Was Planted
As we walked the city the Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart about the possibilities of planting a church there. I even began to say out loud, “This would be a great place to plant a church.” I then began to wonder if there was even a Calvary Chapel in the area. As I later found out there was a Calvary Chapel in the area but to my knowledge only one.
Well, as the trip wore on we went about our touristy business and soon came back home to Colorado. I think I mentioned the idea of planting the church to Kelly once or twice over the next year, never really giving it much attention myself. However, I knew that something special had taken place in my heart but I was still very unsure of the reality and the validity of the calling.
From An Idea To A Burden
Well, two years passed before we planned another trip out to South Carolina to see my wife’s family. This time, however, we planned a little more purposefully, exploring the possibilities of visiting the church in Charleston. We stayed at a nearby Island Resort 45 minutes from Charleston and visited the Calvary there.
As we visited this precious church it broke my heart to learn that the church had been there for ten years and was still the only Calvary Chapel in the area. It was after this visit that I began to seriously contemplate that maybe God was calling my family to go there as the need for help became so obvious to me.
It is hard to explain what began to take place in my heart over the next couple of years. The best way that I can describe it is that God took this idea and changed it into a desire and then transformed it into a burden. You have to understand that I have never, and I mean never, had a desire to live in the hot humidity of South Carolina.
That’s Not Normal
To live in South Carolina was the furthest thing from my mind. As Kelly and I began to talk frequently about what God was doing in us the burden began to grow. There would be times when it was all we could talk about and think about.
As I began to earnestly pray and seek the Lord, there would be times when I would begin weeping over what I was feeling inside. I knew that this would be a big step for my family, plus I love the church I have been serving in for the last 11 years. One morning in particular I had been up early (3am) when my daughter Laura had come down stairs and found me crying over this whole thing. That’s when I realized that this was not normal. At least for me this was not normal.
Over the course of two years, I had asked God many times to take this desire away from me. Instead, it grew worse. There would be times where I would feel like I was going to burst; it truly had become burdensome to me. The idea that there was only one Calvary in a city of well over three hundred thousand people became too much to bear.
My wife had taken another trip out to see her sister in South Carolina in the summer of 2006. When I dropped her off at the airport I asked her to go and to “see with the eyes of the Lord”. It was on this trip that my wife and I had decided that it was time.
The very first thing I did was to sit our children down and begin to lead them through a bible study and tell them that we believed God was finally moving us to begin heading in this direction. We started with the family first including Jon & Carolyn and my parents then, when Kelly came home, we decided to tell Pastor Gino what we believed God was doing in our lives.
As Kelly and I began to pray and as news began to spread, it came to our attention that some people were actually praying about going with us. I remember saying to Kelly, “Wouldn’t that be something if God sent us out with a team of people!” It was the furthest thing from our minds that there would be people out there as crazy as we are, but, oh how generous is the Lord we serve.
Soon after, Nicole Castaneda and Paul & Dawn Porter were on board telling us that they had believed God called them to come out with us. (Little did we know at the time, Tracy & Tina Tucker, along with Jon and Carolyn Geraci, would join us as well). Words cannot express the joy, comfort, excitement and the humility that we felt. That the Lord would send us out there with friends and co-laborers to help is far more than we could have ever imagined.
As we began moving forward one of the things the Lord made clear to me was not to take matters into my own hands. I know that might sound odd to some. You would think that the time had come for me to charge ahead. But the Lord had other plans. He decided to enroll me into his “Wait Training” program.
As most of you know, we needed to sell our home in order to move. With as large as my family is I needed to be very careful to provide for them in the process. There have been many people in the Bible who have been in this same place of waiting: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Paul to name a few.
A couple of those guys did a horrible job of waiting, taking matters into their own hands, and it was very costly. I don’t mind losing as long as I am losing the right thing.
Waiting was one of the hardest things I have ever had to endure. But I believe the Lord had given Kelly and I (and the team) this time to pray and to prepare. God’s timing is perfect, and I am not. Please continue to pray for us. I do believe with all that is within me that this is a God ordained call. Only time will tell, I know. This is all the more reason why we need your prayers.
In His Service,