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Three Years In

Right about three years ago, Ann and I moved here to Almyra, Arkansas, for me to serve the church here as pastor. We were a little uncertain about moving here into the middle of rice country. After all, there are three main crops in Arkansas County: rice, ducks, and mosquitoes. The rice is planted, the ducks eat the leftovers from it, and the mosquitoes thrive on the population!

We have, though, come to enjoy the distance we live from city lights and we have adapted to the distance we live from the grocery store. I like that I see the sun rise and set at the horizon, not behind buildings. I enjoy being able to see lots of stars.

In the time I’ve been here, I’ve been privileged to go back to school, work on projects I like, and make some amazing friends both in Almyra and around the state. This group of folks are wonderful friends and support to us.

What is weird for me is this: if you average out my lifetime, I average no more than 18-20 months in any given space. Going back to birth. Really. I live surrounded by people whose life story runs “Grandma came to that house, right there, and she never left the farm. Ever.” (Seriously, there’s at least two people I know with that story. She never left the farm).

That type of stability is not truly in my family history. (Allowing for the reality that both Grandmas of mine have gone into eternity.) There’s a great deal of mobility in our heritage, for both Ann and me.

So we live with this tension. At times, we want to load up everything and move just for the change. At other times, we like where we are. And we need some change.

What do we do?

Well, this week, we did some of what we do in my office. I took everything but the desks out. Seriously:

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Those are some of my empty bookshelves. I cleaned out, cleared off, and threw away stuff. I stacked all the books in the sanctuary—it took 9 pews!

Then, Ann and I worked together to put it all back:

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That’s right. I moved out of my office. Then I moved right back in. I like it here. Someone asked me recently what our future plans might be, and I told them that we didn’t have any. Our goal is remain where we are for as long as the Lord Jesus provides the opportunity.

Now, that does not change my campaign to be the next Commissioner of Baseball. I do expect that effort to take a while, and I may be able to shift to bi-vocationally pastoring the church. I’d only be gone during baseball season, after all.

All of this to say, I appreciate the patience and tolerance of my Almyra Baptist family. There are many other options to you for our pastor, but you keep me. Thank you.

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