Akron Adventure

Where to Begin?

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.

10 thoughts on “Where to Begin?

  1. Thanks for elaborating and thanks for the link to the July 1 teaching. I so appreciate your family’s example. It encourages all of us to serve in any way God calls us.

  2. ” 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.”

    This is so encouraging, Laurie. I love that most of all, through all the ups and downs, twists and turns of this journey (and you’re still going through), God has shown Himself to you…His mercy and all-sufficiency and caused you to love Him and His gospel more. What a good God! That gives me so much hope for my own life and I’m sure others are equally as encouraged in God by watching you and Jason walk thru this.

    Thank you for sharing the details here. I do think others will be greatly blessed and you will, too, someday to look back on it!

  3. You guys are so great. thank you for your care and encouragement. I’ll try not to go on and on and on about Akron…can’t promise it though 🙂 .

  4. While I selfishly want to keep you guys here forever, I have offered you up as sacrifices to God. (He would take you anyway, who am aI kidding, but for my own sake, I have to do the offering.. There is pain in the offering!) He has been showing me to “let it go-let THEM go–“(I am crying as I type this, help me God. ) I have been guilty of the knee -jerk reaction to run to Jason and you for counsel during storms, which is easy to justify considering you’re pastors and all! Jason has an ability beyond anyone I know to connect with the people, to ask the hard questions, to say the things that need be said. He once even did me the favor of saying, “YOu are arrogant, Zo.” Who besides my own family would be that courageous? But I knew his love snd I knew he was right. You have steered me to the Lord on many, many occasions on the issue of control. Well, I could go on and on, and I plan to…in a different context, but take it as encouragemment that God has prepared you well to deal with arrogant control freaks by my example!!!

  5. Can’t wait to see how God blesses and uses you. Praying for the sale of your house and your contract on the new one!

  6. I just wanted to tell you how excited I am that you and Jason will be serving and leading the Akron church. As a person who grew up north of Akron but now lives in Reading, PA I have prayed that God would bring Godly men to the area who would faithfully preach the gospel. You all are an answer to prayer and I am so grateful for your willingness to serve the Lord no matter what he asks of you and no matter the cost. My wife Kelly and I will be praying for every part of the move and will be excited to see through your blog how God shows his overwhelming grace to your family.

  7. Thank you for sharing more of the details. It’s so encouraging to see how you both looked to the Lord constantly through the whole process. For wisdom, timing & faith! We were in the PC with the Rischells- they are an amazing couple. I will continue to lift you up in prayer!

  8. Hey Laurie, It’s so encouraging and neat to see the story behind where God is leading you and Jason now. While we are sad for you to leave, it is neat to see God working in your lives!

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