Monday, December 9, 2013

Going full-time ministry with Love In Action

Some decisions are easier than others. The one I recently made to leave a successful 22-year journalism career to become a full-time minister was both easy and hard.

For those who haven't heard, last month, a week before Thanksgiving, I gave my bosses at the Dothan Eagle my resignation letter. My last day at the Eagle will be Dec. 20.

It was easy because Martha and I both know it's God's will for us to take this step of faith together. It's always been a goal since co-founding LIA nearly 14 years ago to eventually be in full-time ministry, but the timing hasn't been right.

Martha and I both felt God was moving us in that direction more than a year ago, so we started praying and seeking His will even more the past year. Throughout the year, God showed us more and more clearly that it was time. In October, we made the decision. A month later, I took the final step of handing in my resignation.

It was hard, because I truly love the career God has blessed me with for the past 22 years. Many of the people I work for, work with and who work for me have been colleagues for most of my career. It's hard saying goodbye to people who are like family. My staff in the Eagle newsroom are great people. I truly love and care about them. Telling them I was leaving was very hard.

The toughest part as far as the testing of our faith was saying goodbye to a good salary. The Eagle has been very good to us. Martha and I have wanted for nothing. However, we have worked hard over the years to get rid of debt so we would be in position when this time came. There is a great freedom when you are not buried in debt. Selling my "sweet" Chevy pickup was the last step in getting rid of debt, other than our house mortgage.

My retirement from the newspaper industry obviously opens the doors to spending more time in ministry. That means reaching more people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ locally, nationally and internationally. In fact, since Martha and I made the decision in October, many opportunities have opened up. It's interesting how God didn't open those doors until we made the decision that we were, indeed, going to trust Him with everything.

Martha and I will be busy traveling the next few months. We will lead a team to Haiti Dec. 21-28, then on Jan. 15, we will leave for six weeks in Asia. We will be in China, Myanmar and Philippines. The doors God has opened in Asia are amazing. As we move closer we will announce more about it. However, we won't be able to publicly tell everything. Some areas we are going are not safe, so for security reasons we will remain silent about those areas until after the ministry is done. Even then we won't divulge exactly where we were so we can go back for return trips and for the safety of the new Christians who will be in those areas.

The ministry in Dothan will remain as strong as ever while we're in Asia as we have very strong leaders and dedicated volunteers who know how everything works and how the ministry is done. That's why team-building is so important, and we have the best team ever. Team LIA is dedicated to carrying out the Great Commission, and our volunteers are trained how to do it. We are very blessed and thank God daily for our team.

As Martha and I transition into this new chapter of our lives and of LIA, we need your prayers. Please keep us lifted up in prayer as we move forward in this exciting plan God has for us. We also invite those who want to be involved with LIA to come join us. The best way is just come out to one of our outreaches, or to several of them, and see which one God is leading you to do. There will be even more opportunities in the near future locally and for mission trips nationally and internationally. Come join us carrying out Jesus' Great Commission.