So... I thought (much to her embarrassment; she doesn't like being out front) I'd introduce you to my wife of almost 15 years. And, I thought I'd do that by sharing with you a recent e-mail she sent to many of the ladies of Capitol Hill Baptist Church (where I serve as an assistant pastor) and to a number of other friends. I think you'll love her as you get to know her through these thoughts....
The past few months have been a whirlwind in a sense, as Thabiti has now accepted the call from First Baptist Church, Grand Cayman to be their senior pastor. We are so grateful to the Lord for answering our prayers and opening this opportunity for ministering alongside a wonderful group of people.
To recap, we left March 24 to spend a month on the island to try and discern the Lord’s will for us to potentially serve with FBC. They were also looking to see if the Lord would be directing them to call Thabiti as their pastor. After much prayer and counsel, we agreed that if FBC called Thabiti as their pastor, we would accept it as the Lord’s call to us to minister in that place.
So here we are, just a few days away from leaving the church that we have called family and home for over 4 years. When we first moved to this area 6 years ago, it took almost a year and a half to find a church so centered on Christ and the Gospel, so hospitable and genuinely caring, so consistent in expounding Scripture. It was all that we had prayed about. But then there was more! Thabiti knew that the Lord had called him to pastoral ministry, but we had no idea how he would be mentored or receive training for that call. We knew nothing about CHBC’s desire see the gospel advanced through healthy churches and missions, we knew nothing about the work of 9Marks in aiding pastors and churches toward healthy church membership and practice. But by God’s grace and providence, He saw fit to bring us to this place and I am continually awed by what we’ve learned and experienced here.
Our devotion time as a family has been enhanced by the loving, biblical teaching of the girls’ Sunday school and Praise Factory teachers. Our private devotions have deepened as we’ve sat under Spirit-led teaching that has made plain to us the Scriptures and its application to our lives, and as we’ve participated in seminars, Bible studies, classes and workshops that remind us of our sinful natures, exalts Christ as our only hope of salvation, and amplifies the character of God. Our concern for the nations has dramatically increased as we’ve prayed for and supported the work of missions around the world. Our love for the Gospel, the local church and the individual people we have ministered with over these years is beyond what I can express in words.
Speaking of the people, I can’t express enough love and appreciation for those we’ve cried and struggled with through difficulties and how the Lord restored their hope and trust in Him and in their loved ones; for those who cared for our daughters through teaching, babysitting, hanging out and playing with them; for those who studied with us in small group and in one-on-one discipling relationships; for those who brought dinners, invited us into their homes, and hung out at our house over dinners, game nights, movie nights, or just keeping me company when Thabiti was away from home; for those who prayed for us, corrected us, encouraged us, and rebuked us with great patience and instruction (2 Tim 4:2). When Paul spoke of his ministry with the Thessalonians he noted, “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us" (1 Thess 2:8). Our family has experienced this sharing among our fellow church members and we are eager to replicate this love to our new church family at FBC.
With all of the above stated, why would we leave such a place? The answer is simple—it’s the gospel. We’ve heard the gospel preached by our pastors, seen the gospel lived out by our church family, and witnessed the spread of the gospel by the testimony of missionaries and overseas workers. Now we have a unique opportunity to pass on to another all that we’ve learned here. We could stay and continue to reap the bountiful harvest growing here, or we can sow and plant in this place that has been without a shepherd for 3 years. A place where the members love the gospel and are eager to hear and see and witness the spread of the gospel in that part of the world. A place where people can be taught and sent out equipped to carry forward the message of Christ.
I know all of you reading this are not all members of my church, but I wanted to give you a glimpse of the love and care and teaching we’ve experienced in these short years. I love and will miss all of you and pray that the Lord would “fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess 1:11-12).
Now if you would bear with me a little longer, I do have some matters that I ask you join with me in bringing to the Father. Please pray that:
- Our sadness about leaving our church and family would remind us of good times shared;
- We would be eager to share both the gospel of God and our very lives with the FBC church family;
- I would serve the Lord faithfully in the callings He’s given me as His disciple, a wife, mother, daughter;
- We’d have a joyful time visiting and saying goodbye to family and friends over the next couple of weeks;
- Our final preparations for moving would go well this week;
- All our items would arrive in Grand Cayman in a safe and timely manner;
- Our travels to NC, Miami, and Grand Cayman would be without incident, and for strength as we’ll be on the road a lot;
- We can all settle in quickly and have a healthy family routine;
- I would get to know neighbors quickly (especially our next door neighbor since we’ll be living in a duplex);
- The girls would adjust quickly and well;
- The baby would have a safe and healthy arrival in November;
- I would help and serve Thabiti well as he starts work;
- Thabiti would shepherd with the fruit of the Spirit on full display in his life and teaching;
- I would be a good steward of our time and finances (Grand Cayman is expensive!); and
- I would protect our school time and be consistent in training the girls.
I’m sure there’s more, but please use these as springboards and pray whatever the Lord lays on your heart for our family. And please, take a vacation and come and visit us some time!!
In Christ Alone,
Kristie is a tangible expression of the Lord's active favor in my life (Prov. 18:22). I am rejoicing in the wife of my youth (Prov. 5:18)!