Kati and I said farewell to our St. Andrew’s family of 9 years last Sunday March 20th as we prepare to join the Union Church of Los Angeles in downtown’s Little Tokyo. I was honored to not only give my final pastoral prayer in the services but the children laid hands on Kati and me and prayed for our sad hearts, for Union Church to grow, for Avery to make new friends and for Avery’s sickness to go away (she is on her second day of antibiotics and feeling better). At our goodbye reception between the services, hosted by a stellar team of individuals (too many wonderful people to name), a decadent spread of fruits, chocolates, teas and cookies were laid out amidst a beautifully decorated fellowship hall decked out in cherry blossoms in honor of our new Japanese church family who will be welcoming us to Los Angeles. Pictures from our time at St. Andrew’s scrolled on the screens as we hugged friends, shared stories and cried. It was hospitality at its best. I personally was touched by the dozens who shared an encouraging word of what our ministry meant to them whether through teaching, a pastoral visit, a meal in our home or just a casual encounter. Sometimes you don’t know how much impact you’ve made until you leave. It almost felt like being at my own funeral!
If there is a word of encouragement you haven’t shared with someone who has made a difference in your life, make it a point this week to let them know exactly what they did. I promise that you’ll bless their life by doing so.
Kati and I are sad to leave our St. Andrew’s family but so encouraged knowing that literally hundreds are praying for our new ministry at Union Church. Many have promised to come and visit in the months to come. We hope they do visit so we can show them what God is up to in downtown Los Angeles as we seek the shalom of the city.