Another big transition point that marks our earthly journey is just around the corner on Dec. 8, 2015. It has been a decision long in the making as we have prayed, reflected, and sought the leadership of God in knowing just what to do. The decision has been difficult to make for several reasons. In the five years here in Costa Rica we have grown to love the country, the people, the culture and the climate. Leaving such a place is never easy. God opened up numerous ministry opportunities during these five years through the International Baptist Church of San José. Service to God through serving others has been the goal of our retirement years. And the Lord gave us seven years of doing just that, first in Germany and then in Costa Rica. But now the time has come to move into another phase of our lives in the Baptist Retirement Community at San Angelo, Texas.
The symbolism of this move for me personally is significant. I was born and raised in the edge of west Texas in Jack County Texas. Now I will finish out my earthly journey in that same west Texas. In between has been 55 years of living in different parts of Texas, in North Carolina, in different parts of Germany, in Switzerland, in France, and in Costa Rica. A journey I could not have ever imagined as a youngster growing up.
In the commitment to Gospel ministry made in 1957, no boundaries were imposed on God's leadership. Early on, the thinking was to pastor churches in west Texas in ministry. But God's calling as a seminary professor and then as a university professor opened unimaginable opportunities to serve the cause of Christ in different parts of the world, both in the classroom and in the pulpit. Learning several languages, both modern and ancient, has provided deeper insights not just into life but especially into the scriptures in their historical setting. Teaching ancient Koine Greek and the New Testament on both sides of the Atlantic has been central to this work. Serving as senior pastor of two churches in Texas and one in Germany over twelve years of this time was a bonus in the package.
For over twenty years Claire has been my constant companion as wife, friend, and partner in ministry. What a blessing she continues to be. We have laughed, cried, and enjoyed life together in following God all over the western world. In this final phase back home in Texas, ministry will continue; just on a much more limited basis. The website cranfordville.com has touched almost a quarter of a million lives over the fifteen plus years that it has existed. And writing Bible study materials for posting on the website will continue our ministry outreach for the foreseeable future.
God has given us a wonderful life in ministry to Him. I've met and befriended people from all over the world For a kid growing up in rural Texas where the edge of the world that I experienced was the stockyards of Ft. Worth, TX 75 miles away, God has opened up wonderful horizons of the people of the entire world and their great need of the saving grace of Christ through the Gospel. Deo sit gloria in excelsis!
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