When it comes to recounting the story of our adventure to Akron, I have writer’s block. It isn’t because I have nothing to say, it’s because I have so much to say and don’t really know where to begin.
Even as singles, Jason and I had a desire to be “sent out” from Chesapeake someday. I have thought from a rather early age that I wouldn’t always live in Maryland. Jason majored in education so that he could get a job anywhere in the country should God call him to go to another region. After we were married, Jason began working for the church, but still desired to someday go somewhere. Through a variety of means, God graciously showed us that much of our desire to “go” was motivated by selfish ambition and discontent and not enough about the furtherance of the Gospel.
I will say to God’s glory that after several years, there was a time when Jason and I were happy and content to stay at Chesapeake forever, if that was God’s will. We started our own family and loved having all of the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins within five minutes of us. And wouldn’t you know that after that point in our lives, Dave Harvey would send an e-mail inquiring about Jason’s availability to serve a different church within Sovereign Grace that was in need of a senior pastor.
The e-mail was sent years ago, and long story short – it just wasn’t God’s timing for us to leave. Our pastoral staff was small. We were looking to add a guy, not remove a guy. Jason and the other pastors agreed that we would explore the possibility again in two years. But the desire to be sent was re-birthed and would grow over time.
Two years later, we received another e-mail from Dave. The need for a senior pastor in Akron was still present – could Jason go? This began the earnest pursuit of whether Jason and I were the right fit for the dear church in Akron.
After months of prayer, evaluation, and counsel, it seemed like God was indeed leading us out of Chesapeake to serve in Ohio. The issue now was finding a suitable replacement for Jason. This took months and months as well. In fact, part of the reason we didn’t tell many people about the plan was because for a long time it wasn’t certain if we would even go, and then we were uncertain as to when we would go. We needed to wait until the right man was available to serve the church that we love best, Chesapeake. Believe it or not, we found out that Joel was a definite replacement for Jason just two weeks before the announcement was made on Sunday Morning. And as an aside, we can’t wait to see how God uses the Rischells to bless Chesapeake and vice versa!
God has used this time in our lives to reveal sin and character deficiencies. But far more than that He has used this time in our lives to reveal His mercy and all-sufficiency. He has continued to reveal how the glorious Gospel is worth taking such risks as leaving home to go where the future is completely unknown. His faithfulness is our story, past, present, and future, and we are amazed.
To hear the announcement, and a brief version of Jason’s story go here and click on the July 1 teaching.