Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Mitchells are Moving to Scotland!!!!!!!

Note: this Sunday Agnes and I announced our family’s call to Scotland.  Below is my letter to you about this journey.  Would love to connect personally this summer and after we go, stay in touch as God leads each of us on our journeys.  We are here for another 10 weeks!
June 13, 2015
Our dear Bay family,
This may be the hardest letter I have had to write.  Words cannot describe the feelings behind it.
Fifteen years ago the clear call of God led me to become part of the ministry of Youth For Christ Comox Valley and Bay Community Church.  Two years later you confirmed God's clear call on my life to pastor this amazing church family. 
I have always been committed to Bay for the long term and imagined spending the next thirty years serving here and probably retiring in Comox.  I did my growing up here, many of my closest friends are here, and I love this church and this Valley. It probably would take nothing short of a two by four to jar me out of this comfortable place.
The two by four hit me last month while I was worshiping in chapel at Regent College in Vancouver.  I thought I was there for a theology class, but I was there to hear a call from God.  The voice of God has been persistent and strong since that time.  The call has come clearly through Scripture, circumstances, open doors, a multitude of godly and prophetic counsel from people close to us, and the redirecting of our hearts.  As my mentor Barry Falk said when I told him my story, "This is one of the clearest calls I've seen in my life."   While it's hard, it's also exciting, and we can't say no to Jesus.  The truth is I thought at first I could put it off a year, but God has made it so plain that the time to go is now.  In fact he has been blowing the doors open to make this happen.  It has taken our breath away.
God has called me, Agnes, and our family on a new adventure.  He is leading us to Scotland, where Agnes grew up and where she and I met at Bible college.  Hindsight is 20-20, and we can see a masterful tapestry of providential care that has prepared us for this step.   We will be heading out at the end of the summer.
It will be incredible for our kids to get to be part of Agnes' family and culture during this new season in our lives, and very sweet for Agnes to live in her homeland again.  We have a sense of calling to mission as we go, that perhaps in some sense we're being led in the ministry footsteps of Agnes' father, Rev. John Ferguson.  Agnes is quite a preacher and I wonder if she won't be preaching again.  We're hearing God say, "There's a spiritual battle going on here in Scotland, and I'm calling you to join the ranks."  Previously, I had set aside aspirations of doing significant further study; now God has awakened that dream and is opening a door for me to do a 3 year theology degree at Edinburgh Theological Seminary, starting in September.  I believe God's purpose is to increase the tools in my toolbox, preparing me for a new season of ministry. After that, we trust God will lead us, and we pray we will be ready and faithful.
We love every one of you like family and it has been such a holy and joyful privilege to live among you.  You have loved, served, invested, honored, and shared yourselves with us in such a wonderful way; we have been humbled and blessed over and over.  Our cup has overflowed.  What an incredibly faithful, nurturing and affirming church family our kids have been able to grow in.  What models you have been to us of faith and faithfulness, prayer and sacrifice, mission and obedience.  I see Jesus so strongly in this church and I am very proud of you in the Lord.  I am so excited about how God is at work in Bay.  I have great faith that even with all the great things God has done in Bay's past, your best days as a church are waiting for you to discover in the very good future he has planned.    We are praying for you and we are confident.
It will be so hard to say goodbye to you!  As your pastor my heart is absolutely torn, but I know it will be okay.   I want ask you to bring me joy by doing these things: walk closely with Jesus, keep building a community of disciples, and live the mission for the sake of the lost and the glory of God.   Trust God to lead you in his way and time in choosing a new pastor who has a heart after God and will help you to grow in grace and truth, faithfulness and fruitfulness.  Honor, pray for, and partner with him and his family as they serve you.
I have been honored to support many of you through life transitions.  Now we are asking for your support. 
Above all, please pray for us.  This whole adventure was initiated by Jesus, it is for him, and we can only walk it through intimacy with him.  Pray that we would stay rooted in the grace and presence of Jesus, and strong as a family.  Pray for all the preparations - there are a lot of details to walk through in a short timeline.
If you have wisdom about international moves with children, share it with us!   If you catch us crying, offer a hug.  If you feel led to drop off a meal or help us sort through fifteen years of stuff or get our house ready for transition... come on over!  
We are going in faith - God has clearly called and we are fully confident in his provision.  Once our house sells, we expect to have 40-50% of the funds needed for the three years ahead.  We are prepared to work part time as God leads and opens doors.  We are trusting God to move hearts of people to support us if that is his way.  Coming this far this fast has been a miracle, and we are thanking God in advance for the miracles he will do.  We would value your prayer that we will walk strong in faith and see God provide in his way and in his time.
We would love to connect with you personally before we go - give us a shout and let's get together.    We hope to have space for guests in Scotland - start planning your visit nowJ.
Jesus is coming.  After we're gone, if we don't see you again here, we'll see you there.  Let's bring along as many as we can.
Philippians 1:27 (NIV)  Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.

All our love, respect, prayers, and gratitude,
 David, Agnes, Acacia, Elijah, Andrew and Levi

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