Jan
29

Continuing Our Vision!

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Some of you have heard my faith story in bits and pieces either in a class or in sermons, but many of you have not heard much. I share it not for any pride on my part, but to emphasize how God works in our lives, and to encourage you to think about your own faith story and share it with others. In this space, I can only highlight, but I hope to give you a pretty good picture.

I was blessed to be born into a Christian home where Sunday School and worship was a given every Sunday, which enabled me to receive a solid faith foundation and even to attain perfect attendance every year from grade school through high school.  I loved music and started singing in the church’s children’s choir at age 4, and I’m still in the choir. One of my best friends growing up was the pastor’s son, so I spent a lot of time around the parsonage. In Jr. High Confirmation, I loved learning the Bible and Catechism. God used all this experience to lead me to want to be a pastor at that early age.

When it came time for college, I attended Wartburg, one of our Lutheran Church’s colleges, taking courses with ministry in mind that included Latin, Greek, and several religion classes with a major in philosophy. The draft lottery for Viet Nam was initiated, and I was ready to go and become a war hero like my father had in WWII.  But God kept me in school with the high lottery number of 360 something. After college graduation, I went straight to seminary.

After my first year at Luther Seminary, I had had enough of school!  I was ready to get out of the classroom, so God showed me the door out by opening the door to take my year of internship that second year instead of the normal third year. God gave me an extraordinary year of internship in Dallas, TX with an excellent supervising pastor! That year convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to serve in parish ministry, and apparently that’s where God wanted me, too. God even hooked me up with Diann, and we were married a year later.

My ordination was at the church where I grew up in Mason City, IA, with the pastor who confirmed me officiating, and seminary friends participating. We left Iowa just ahead of a major snowstorm and headed for South Texas with everything we owned in a small U-Haul trailer, where the bluebonnets were prolific and in full bloom! I accepted my first Call to a two-point parish sight unseen. God was in control and it turned out to be a great place to start.

After 4 ½ years, we moved to Tucson, AZ due to God’s intervention with the Call Committee and situation there. He carried us through 2 ½ turbulent years that might have broken me, but instead strengthened me for the next Call in San Diego, CA, where we found support and some of our closest friendships. Then, 9 ½ years later God led us to Coeur d’Alene to a broken congregation that needed an experienced pastor, but could barely afford ½ the salary I was getting. Again, God provided, and both my ministry and the congregation flourished.  When the church I served abandoned Scripture to follow our sinful culture instead of God’s Word, I resigned with no Call, no church, no income, only a group of Biblically faithful displaced Lutherans who became Peace Lutheran Church.

Before I started writing this, I told Lynn in the church office that I didn’t have any thoughts or ideas for a newsletter article. In a matter of moments, the Holy Spirit inspired me to share this. In this very morning’s devotion, Oswald Chambers writes, “When we are born again we all have visions, if we are spiritual at all, of what Jesus wants us to be, and the great thing is to learn not to be disobedient to the vision.” I hope this helps you see how wonderfully God is at work in our lives. I look forward to my future and the future of this congregation because I know God has us all in his loving care and grace!  Thank you for the last and best nine years of my ministry! – Pastor Kurt Wandrey