So, if the “why” is, to do all I can to train faithful leaders for Jesus’ church, the “where” needs to support that too. So, I say with a gulp, we are residents of Minneapolis, MN.
In 1995, as we were asking God for direction in church planting, I think I laughed out loud when it seemed God was pointing us toward Wisconsin. I froze in Iowa. Illinois wasn’t any better… but there was a certain National League baseball team to cheer for. Why would we plant a church in Wisconsin? Really only one reason. God said. So, twenty plus years was our sentence, in a place that became my favorite hometown. A place we loved, full of precious people.
As we moved toward this transition I had renewed visions of warmer winters. Instead, we move to the state Travel Magazine ranked #1 most miserable winters in the United States. The reality is we are no further North, and only about an hour West. So, we’re really talking a lateral move, kinda. Kinda not.
Training Leaders International’s offices are located in Minneapolis, so for collaboration and team building a move to the cities made sense. On top of that, Jill was able to keep the job she’s had for several years and reduce her commute time by about 75%. (I live to make her life more pleasant ;o).
We took some strategic steps to deal with winter. Moving into a condo meant I could forget the snowblower (I gave away three winters ago, just anticipating the day), but we didn’t stop there. The TLI offices are linked to the largest skyway system in the world (at about nine miles), so we targeted apartments connected to the skyway. Finding apartments/condos attached to the skyway, easy peasy. Finding one in our budget, not so much. But, God answered our prayers and extended more mercy on this freeze-baby. God often answers big. Not only is our building attached to the skyway, it is attached in all four directions. So, I plan not to go outside all winter, except…
Another big deal for us was access to light rail. Since my travel will increase, light rail makes quick, inexpensive, unsupervised (meaning Jill wouldn’t have to take me) trips to/from the airport possible. I can walk to the light rail stop (by skyway if I want) and get to the airport in less than 30 minutes for about $2. I do have one complaint though. At the Nicollet light rail station I will have to go outside to get on the train. Oh, bother.
Without question the seismic shift for us in relocation was our church family. I have encouraged people for a long, long time that it is important to be part of a church family near where you live. I am familiar with several healthy churches in the twin cities but Hope Community is solidly gospel-centered, within walking distance and led by my friend Steve Treichler. It’s also loaded with a bunch of college-age young people which fills me with hope. So, we are making Hope our home, taking steps to serve, and know it will take time. We are missing people we love a bunch.
Our life seems well positioned right now to do what God has given us to do. My first international training assignment for TLI is very familiar. I will have the great joy of leading the St Croix Valley LEAD Team to Gulu, Uganda early next month. What is old has become new. I have grown to love the guys in Gulu over these past four years. The last time I was with them I told them, because of our transition at Faith, it was highly likely I would never see them again. I was surprised when several said goodbye with tears in their eyes. God has made a way again, so with all that changes the most important stays the same.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17