August 9, 2005

(Warning: This post may be extremely long with few to no jokes. Read at your own risk.)

The end is near.

After 5 years at the Bay Area Rescue Mission, I now have 2 weeks left at the King’s Club. For the past few years, I was constantly half-joking about quitting work, whether it was because I was being way overworked and way underpaid, or because some jerk kids were driving me crazy, or even just feeling overwhelmed by the problems of the inner-city. But in my heart, I loved working with inner-city youth and knew there was nothing else that I would rather have been doing.

But now it is time to go. I had a feeling back in May that it was going to be my last summer at King’s Club. I hate work in the summers. It’s filled with non-stop kids, field trips, and summer camps and I always get tired and worn out at some point. But this year, it was a different kind of tired. I needed something new. Over the past few years, there has always been something new to keep life fresh and exciting, whether it was my job the first year, or a new place to live (5824!) in my second year, or just new job responsibilities and duties in later years, there was always something I looked forward to.

I’m not leaving because I am bored with my job. That’s not it. Youth ministry is anything but boring. I’m leaving work because I think God is preparing me for a new challenge. Over the past few months, I’ve been learning that many things I considered staples of my life were things I could do without. Some pretty big things, like sports, my church, and my job.
Who ever thought Cal would be able to survive without sports? I’m probably the only guy in Northern California, maybe the whole United States, who watches hockey, NASCAR, and cricket (Cricket World on AZN channel) whenever I can. Yet somehow, I’ve had days where I don’t turn on ESPN or check box scores, even for my fantasy sports teams. Maybe it’s because the Giants and my fantasy teams aren’t doing well, but it’s a strange feeling for me to not to not be able to name all the starting pitchers on the diamondbacks, or to not know the top 20 RB’s for the upcoming football season.
It’s kind of the same thing with church. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been attending CBC. But this year, partly because of my work/camp schedule, I skipped some weeks at CBC and attended church services elsewhere. And even though I like a lot of what CBC does, after so many worship-God-or-die messages and volleyball games in the outdoor gymnasium, it was refreshing to worship elsewhere. I have lots of good relationships at CBC and don’t plan to just quit going anytime soon. I would have never considered going anywhere else for church in the past (don’t know why, but I wouldn’t have), but God is showing me that CBC isn’t the only option for me.
I thought the same way about my job at the Rescue Mission. It didn’t pay much, but I always had fun and I loved working with the staff there. I believed that I had a job that was perfect for me and I would never leave. I thought that even if I went to work elsewhere, I would find a way to volunteer or work part-time at King’s Club for a long time afterwards.

Even though I had ideas of leaving as early as May, I think back to the week of camp in June with Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF. The lady from CEF was trying to hire me away from King’s Club to work for them back then. I was a restricted free-agent youth worker. She’s still trying to get me to work for them now.) I wrote about it on this blog back on July 1st. Just being mission-minded may have helped me to develop a more mobile lifestyle and to be at peace with letting go of a lot of things in my life, including my current job.

There was never going to be a good time for me to leave King’s Club. Other staff members have come and gone, and while I could cover for them, none of them could have covered for me and my duties. In fact, because another member of the staff is also leaving at about the same time, King’s Club does not have an official start date for its after-school fall program. But I trust that God will somehow continue to work his ministry in Richmond. Read my life motto found in Matthew 9:37-38 for my prayers concerning the Bay Area Rescue Mission.

So what’s next?

That is the $64,000 question. And I honestly don’t know. I remember an episode of Friends where Chandler convinces one of the girls, probably Rachel, that she needs to quit her job which she hates in order to get a job that she may really want. Something about needing ‘the fear’ to force you toward a goal. Well, I don’t hate my job. In fact, I think I’m pretty good at what I do. And I don’t have solid plans as to what else I may want to do. But I know that I can’t take the next step without taking a step away first. And I don’t really have any fear about the future. Rather I’m excited about what God may have in store for me. It may involve working in ministry. It might be working at Home Depot (I’ve always wanted to work there for some reason). It might be going back to school. It amy just be bumming around for a while. It may involve moving to another place or even another country. I’ve just been telling people that everything is an option.

Recently, I taught a bible study about when Peter walked on water. This passage in Matthew 14 has quickly become one of my favorites. Peter asked Jesus to let him to do something unimaginable. And Jesus didn’t have to let Peter walk out on the water to him, but Jesus said ‘Come.’ Peter took that step out of the boat in faith, and probably a little fear as well. But as long as he focused on Jesus, he did fine. He was walking on water! But then he let the wind and the waves put fear into his heart and he started to sink and cried to Jesus to save him. Some people used this to passage to show how little faith Peter had, but I like it because he took that step out in faith, not knowing what would happen after he was out of the boat. And even when he failed and started to sink, Jesus was right there to pull him out.

(Told you it was going to be long. Just wanted to people know what was going on in my life. Thanks for reading. Prayers for me and the King's Club would be appreciated. We will now return to our regular programming.)

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