Wednesday, December 29, 2004


Dear friends, family, et al,

As the year 2004 draws to a close, Josie and I want to update you on a recent decision that will significantly change both our ministry and our lives. As you may recall, I have been serving part-time at Chapel by the Sea as the associate pastor, as well as serving in the administration of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES) in Charlotte, where I am taking classes in Christian Apologetics. Josie has also been busy caring for her mother, helping Kristin with our grandsons, assisting a friend in real estate, and starting her Pampered Chef consultancy.

This year has been both wonderful and challenging as we’ve juggled our various responsibilities, particularly after June, when I extended my time in Charlotte to two weeks per month. I love ministering with Pastor Clay to our friends and neighbors at Chapel by the Sea and I consider it a privilege to work and study under Dr. Norm Geisler, the founder and president of SES. However, this Fall it became obvious that I need to either serve full-time with the Chapel or with the Seminary, instead of part-time with both. After seeking counsel about our dilemma with Pastor Clay, we committed ourselves to prayer and waiting on the Lord for His guidance.


In early December that guidance came in a phone call from Dr. Geisler, asking for permission to submit my name to the SES Board of Trustees as a candidate for the presidency of the seminary upon his retirement. I was literally struck speechless. Dr. Geisler asked me to pray about starting in January as the vice president of SES until such time as the Trustees made their decision. The new position includes a generous salary as well as tuition-free courses to complete my Masters degree. After much more prayer and consideration I accepted Dr. Geisler’s offer. To learn more about the SES mission to prepare a new generation of men and women to proclaim the Gospel and defend the historic Christian Faith, I invite you to visit the seminary website at


My next task was to find a home in the Charlotte area that would accommodate both us and Josie’s mother. I phoned the housing office at the JAARS Center for a list of missionary-owned houses for rent. The Jungle Aviation And Radio Service (JAARS) Center is the international operations and training center of the Wycliffe Bible Translators ministry.

As I read down the list, the home of Marilyn Laszlo, a Wycliffe translator who spend the last two decades in Papua New Guinea, drew my attention. Soon after Josie and I became Christians in the early 80’s, we saw a video about Ms. Laszlo’s translation work that deeply influenced our interest in foreign missions.

Marilyn’s home is a rustic, country-style residence on a wooded, creekside property near the community of Waxhaw, about 15 miles SE of Charlotte. The house is fully furnished with a bedroom and bathroom downstairs ideal for Josie’s mom and two bedrooms upstairs with dormers, decks, and bathroom. There’s even a woodstove in the living room identical to the one in our Godfrey Branch home! It is almost as though Marilyn was thinking of us when she built her lovely home.

Josie is excited about these new ministry opportunities for both of us. She will be able to better care for her mother’s increasing needs in our new home. Josie sees her caregiver role to her mom in the light of James 1:27 – “Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is to be with the orphans and the widows in their trouble....”

When Josie told her sister about our decision, Betty said her son in Charlotte had been encouraging her to move there to be closer to her grandchildren. Just this week Jimmy made an offer on a lovely home for Betty in a nearby community. The rest of Josie’s siblings are supportive of the move since we will be more convenient for them to visit. We have decided not to rent out our Godfrey Branch home to allow regular visits back home. We will also make our home available for family and friends.


Earlier this month we helped Kristin move for the 7th time in 5 years. She recently agreed to manage an apartment complex in the rapidly growing community of Garner on the SE side of Raleigh. It is not unusual in the world of property management for a free apartment to be included in her employment package. Kristin and the boys are settling in nicely to their new 3-bedroom apartment and she has a friendly and diligent staff with which to work. Our drive to Garner from Charlotte will be a bit further than from the coast; however, we won’t let that stop us from having regular visits with our precious family.

Monty turned three this month and Bradley will be two in February. They have remarkably different personalities—Monty is outgoing and active while Bradley is shy and mostly interested in food. We had a great time with Kristin and the boys this Christmas as we celebrated the Lord’s incarnation and our daughter’s 28th birthday. Both boys love getting gifts—Monty’s attention immediately went to the new gadget or toy while Bradley was satisfied to just rip off the wrappings and stand on the boxes.


We will soon be packing-up again, but thankfully this time only for the 265-mile move to Charlotte. The hardest part is leaving our Chapel by the Sea family for another season of service. In mid-January I begin my new dual roles as a full-time seminary executive and student. For the immediate future, my MissionMind Ministries activities will be limited to occasionally teaching in the Mercy Ships training schools. Years ago I sensed God’s call to use my gifts, training, and experiences in the preparation of a new generation of missionaries. But never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine He would lead me along this path. I can’t tell you how unqualified I feel for the task. I cherish your prayers and I cling to Paul’s proclamation in Phil. 4:13 -“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

It is impossible to express our appreciation for the support of our family and friend over the last 15 years of missionary service. To paraphrase a popular song, “You were the wind beneath our wings.” We thank God for this amazing journey of faith on which we have been privileged to serve in over 30 nations on 3 continents. Starting next month God has graciously arranged for our financial needs to be met by the Seminary. We continue to covet your prayers and will update you from time to time on this new adventure. “How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in? can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?... (Rom. 10:14-15)

For our new contact information AFTER January 16, 2005, please email me at