Vikings come to town

This weekend, I thought I heard something on the radio that Jay County was hosting a baseball invitational.  Somewhere in the lineup annoucements, I thought I heard "West Vigo".  I kind of blew it off mainly because Terre Haute is 3 hours away and there’d be no chance they would come all the way to Portland, IN for a game.  I was wrong.

When I got confirmation that the Vikes, my old team, was coming to town, I became very excited.   After all, it has been exactly 10 years since my senior year and final season.  I threw on the old Viking baseball practice jersey and went to the game.   West Vigo and Jay County high schools both won their first games, which meant that they would play each other in the championship.  It was Emily’s high school vs. my high school, my hometown meeting my new hometown.  Sounded kind of nice to have a part of home here. 

As I headed up to the game, I saw a couple of familiar faces, then someone said that I should go in the dugout since "coach" would be glad to see you.  So, I went in and Coach DeGroote was definitely surprised to see me there.  "No, I didn’t drive 3 hours from Terre Haute to Jay County, but I live here", I explained.  I stayed in the dugout through the first couple of innings.  I looked out across the field and recognized some players as my brother had played with them in little league, but mainly, I was matching the jersey numbers to names and faces of those who wore that same uniform when I played.  It was certainly a great reflection down memory lane and an opportunity to watch two outstanding teams compete.  No, I wasn’t asked to pinch hit during this game :) 

Sadly, the Vikings lost 6-5 in a back and forth game.  You could attribute the loss on a bad call from the umpire, not scoring more runs, or playing better defensively, but it’s just baseball.

Here’s an article from the Portland Commercial Review newspaper:

http://www.thecr.com/main.asp?SectionID=4&SubSectionID=4&ArticleID=14553

Replanted

Life can be lived either comfortably or very risky and dangerous.  I think that God would like us to be the latter, though we must put Him first when moving into that territory.  Emily and I lived in Terre Haute for our first 4 years of marriage.  During that time, we were blessed to have a wonderful home on 4th street where we loved and ministered to children and others who the Lord sent our way.  We had jobs that we both loved which included Emily teaching kindergarten @ Community Christian School and I @ Union Hospital.  We enjoyed our location of being close to my family and the many dinners at Mom and Dad’s.  Our community at eXchange (Maryland Community Church) was a group of people that we grew to love, serve, and worship together.  Considering all of the items listed here, it’s obvious that we were very attached to our life in Terre Haute. 

We would occasionally talk about the future and where the Lord would have us move.  It was great to consider the opportunities, but we couldn’t focus on the future during the present moments where God was using us right where we were.  I remember praying every now and then for God’s dreams to be revealed to us so that we would see in His time when he might have us move on to a new place with different opportunities.  As I said, we were so happy in Terre Haute, but little did I know, the Lord was about to open a door in response to my prayer. 

It was near the beginning of March when I received a phone call from a guy at the hospital in Marion, IN.  I had known him by several conversations we had in the past because of the systems we supported at our hospitals.   It just so happened they he was looking to fill a position at his hospital whose job description matched that which I was doing at Union Hospital in Terre Haute.  He basically wanted to know what it would take to get me to Marion.  This was actually the second offer for me to join that team, but I had turned down the first months ago as we didn’t feel it was the right time for us to move.  After discussing this opportunity with Emily, we were more opened to it now though were still questioning it in our minds.  I again considered the comfort we had in Terre Haute, but put that aside to seek the Lord at this door that again was opened to us.  As we prayed and searched the Word of God, the following scripture came to us:

‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. ( Revelation 3:7-8)

Having received this word, we felt that this was a door that the Lord had kept open, so we proceeded to walk closer to the entrance.  We drove up to Marion one day in late February for an interview, which would hopefully give more clarity regarding the job itself, the hospital, and benefits.  After the interview, I had a very good feeling about the prospect of working there, but wondered how we would move from our place in Terre Haute.  We stayed the weekend with Emily’s parents in Portland and continued discussing and praying about the whole situation.  As we contemplated a location to live, if we were to move, an ironic home jumped to Emily’s attention as she browsed the internet for houses between Portland and Marion.  Of the many she had looked at, there was only 1 that caught her eye.  She asked her mom Kim whose house she was interested in and it was Pastor Doane’s.  The reason this is so ironic is because we looked at his house 2 years ago and the door had closed on that opportunity as it became obvious to us that it wasn’t the Lord’s timing.  Two years ago, we were very disappointed that we didn’t get Pastor Doane’s house, but moved on and thanked God that he had revealed the truth in that decision for our lives.  Had we moved sooner, we would have missed the opportunities to serve in His cause in Terre Haute. 

We called the realtor in Portland to look at the house that weekend.  As we pulled into the driveway and saw the 2 story blue house sitting on an acre of land, the assurance of relocating to this place seemed more appealing. 

As we walked through the house, we recalled the last time we spent with the Pastor and his wife Pauline in prayer in their living room regarding the decision for us to purchase their home.  Walking from room to room, a sense of God’s presence was there just knowing that He had been served many years in that house.  That was the kind of home we wanted to dwell in.  Confirmation came when we walked through the larger upper room and came across a picture that had the verse from Joshua 24:15 — "But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  This meant so much to us as it was the same verse that we saw in our house in Terre Haute when we went to purchase it 4 years prior. 

We left that day with peace in our hearts about a decision to move.  We began the process of paperwork with the realtor and near the end of March had closed on the house in Portland.  My first day at the hospital in Marion was March 10, but Emily continued to work in Terre Haute at CCS as she didn’t want to leave the children after months of teaching them.   So, I proceeded to work and live with Bill and Kim until everything at the new house was finalized.  It was a difficult period for us as we were so far apart through the week and not being able to spend time with one another, but until the weekend.  It was almost like the time we first started dating.  Because of the difficulty in distance and the priority of our marriage, Emily left the year early at CCS and moved to Portland.

We officially moved all our items on April 28 from Terre Haute to Portland.  We had a Uhaul truck filled completely from top to bottom and front to back.  

It took a while to get all of our items from boxes to the places we wanted them in the house, but the most important thing was that we were together, in a new place, for a new season.  The Lord had challenged us to accept His plan for our lives and we accepted by allowing him to re-plant us.  

A final miracle to add to this story is that we were making the decision to move to Portland without having sold our home in Terre Haute.  A couple obstacles stood in our way as the housing market was poor and our neighborhood was being renovating leaving little traffic through if we were to sell it on the market.  God answered our concern with this as our friends Dan and Bethany were about to be married and were in need of a home.  They chose to rent our home on 4th street until the felt the calling to move in the way the Lord would lead them.  See, isn’t God’s timing so much better than our own? 🙂

The Bible tells us that "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).  Our walk with Him doesn’t necessarily mean that our work will always be done in our current location.  Rather, it may be that God has prepared many places for us to be used for His purposes.  We just need to be ready to walk through the doors He opens to us, which nobody can close with Jesus standing on the other side.

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