John Carter – June 5, 2017
PICKING UP WHERE WE LEFT OFF: GOING BACK
In January of 2015, Katie and I packed everything we hadn’t sold in the back of our Ford Excursion and left the State of California for a specific purpose. I needed some time of intense training in the Biblical Languages (Greek and Hebrew). The purpose was certain. The leaving was painful. The experience has been abundantly fruitful. During this time, we have seen God provide and move in ways that we are still searching for words to articulate with. For some of you, you have heard bits and pieces of this story. For others, you have been eternally bound up in those times of God’s moving. But now, the mission objective has been completed and it is time to prepare for the next step.
With the end of the Spring 2017 semester, I completed the last class that I needed to take on campus. Moving forward I can complete my degree online. My purpose for coming to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) was to study the languages with some of the best professors of the Biblical Languages. I am indebted to their service. But now it is the time that I return to the work of the ministry that I have been called to.
After meditating and praying over what we have learned these past two and a half years Katie and I have come to certain conclusions. Here are a few.
Our time here in Wake Forest, NC is coming to an end. Our time here has been extremely difficult yet we have seen tremendous growth in our lives and the lives of our children (most notably the salvation of both Samuel and Nathan). However, this move will not come without its share of painful hugs and tears.
We deeply miss serving in a west coast context. Until a few weeks ago we didn’t realize this. But when it came to light it was undeniable that we needed to reconsider going back to California to serve the local church. I have even pulled my resume from a church I was in serious conversation with because of this realization.
We speak the language of the spiritually-agnostic better than the cultural-Christian. This realization came through much pain. But we are so thankful that we learned this now.
After coming to these conclusions, we have begun praying and searching out for what’s next. So, this is what we are currently doing or expecting, but still waiting for God’s provision on.
Watching God Provide. After resigning as Lead Pastor this winter God abundantly provided through PaperFromHeaven (PFH) for our financial needs. After thinking that we were going to owe on our taxes we received a significant tax return and no need to spend it. After considering the cost of moving God has answered a prayer that we will be able to move and serve anywhere God needs us without needing that church to provide for our moving expenses.
Reorganizing PaperFromHeaven. Katie is a beautiful and wonderful woman. You would all know this better, but I get all her best hours, attention, and energies. Since the beginning of the year, God has been leading Katie to make some significant changes in the business plan for PFH and FabricfromHeaven (FFH). It wasn’t until recently that she has seen why God was leading her to make these changes. Some of these changes are very visible like new PFH products or the aggressive downsizing of FFH. Others are not so visible. But these changes are in preparation for a certain change in our future. She has written about these changes from her perspective here.
The Riverside and Underground Seminary. Some of you know this piece of our future has been brewing for some time. And there are even a few who have taken advantage of this aspect of our serving. You can read more about the Riverside and the Underground Seminary here. In short, the Riverside is our home. The formation of the Riverside is influenced in great part by Francis and Edith Schaeffer’s L’abri (French for shelter), Acts 2, Acts 16 and Keith Green. The Underground Seminary has also been influenced by Francis Schaeffer, as well as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and many missionaries and professors alike.
There are many questions that you may have. There are many questions we have too. As we are waiting for God to reveal to us how he is moving we would love for you to pray for us, if only once after reading this letter. Pray for us. But also, pray for those whom God is going to have us serve.
I would love to tell you so much more. But I will save that for when we speak face to face.
For questions or to talk send me a note here.