Yes, you read that correctly. We are moving to South Carolina this summer. Chris has accepted a call to become the next RUF Campus Minister at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. There are so many thoughts and emotions surrounding this move and next chapter of our lives.
First of all, we really are excited. We have no doubts that this is where the Lord is calling us right now. Perhaps someday I will share more of the details, but for now know that this move has been a long-time coming. When Chris and I first got married we had plans to be in Kennesaw for a year and then move. Four years later, we are still here. Funny how the Lord often has different plans for us. At that time we had many different reasons for wanting to leave - most notably, that Kennesaw/Marietta just never felt like home and I was ready for a change. (I had been in Atlanta for 7 years and was ready to live somewhere different.) We loved the ministry of RUF, but the area wasn't where we wanted to be as a family and couldn't ever really see ourselves settling down here. At the time we also really wanted go go somewhere together to start ministry together since he had already been at KSU for 3 years when I came into the picture. I wanted to buy a house and decorate and settle down, (I know that sounds somewhat superficial, but its true.) but we couldn't really do that knowing we were eventually going to move.
Over the past 3.5 - 4 years we have had several different job opportunities come up for Chris both within as well as outside of RUF. It has been both frustrating and humbling as the Lord had closed every one of those doors in different ways. We have always trusted in God's timing and knew that Kennesaw was where he wanted us for some reason, and of course we have seen Him do amazing things over the past several years, but given some of these events, we feel confident that the Lord is leading us to continue our ministry with RUF at Winthrop.
All that being said, over the past four years the Lord has softened our hearts towards this area. We've made friends that will be hard to leave. I have found many "hidden" treasures in Marietta that I will miss. The Lord has allowed us to see the RUF ministry at KSU flourish. It was non-existent when Chris came here 7 years ago and now it is a thriving ministry! We have an AMAZING group of students that we are very sad to leave behind! Four years ago I could not have imagined the sweet students that we would have the privilege of serving today. (Not that the students four years ago weren't amazing...I just did not know them as well.) We will miss them dearly! Yet at the same time we trust that God is Sovereign and will continue to care for them through another man (and possibly his family) who will come to take over the ministry here.
Here is one of our students when we told her we were leaving:
Breaks my heart.
We will also be sad to leave East Cobb Presbyterian Church, where Chris has been acting as pulpit support/interim pastor for the past several months. Even in this short time the church has been such a blessing to us in ways that I cannot even begin to describe. We knew this would be a temporary position as they are working to find a permanent senior pastor, and we pray that there would not be much of a time overlap between when we leave and when the new senior pastor steps in.
Rock Hill, SC is about 20 minutes south of Charlotte just across the NC/SC border. This puts us closer to my family, which we are very happy about. Although we will be a little bit father from Chris' family, we will still be within one day's drive so we will have easier access to both families now.
Not only are we excited about the university and the ministry, but we are also excited about Rock Hill. I am sick of Atlanta. I have been sick of Atlanta and wanting to leave since before I married Chris. (I had left Atlanta and came back to marry him. He is totally worth it, by the way.) I don't like the traffic and I don't particularly care for the large sprawling metropolitan that extends and extends and extends out into even Kennesaw. Rock Hill is a small town of about 66,000 people, and it is its own city separate from Charlotte. (Although it is nice that Charlotte is so close.) I really liked it when we visited - especially the lack of traffic!! We are also very excited about the church there. (RUF is a ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America [PCA for short] and as such each RUF ministry is associated with a local PCA church.)
Over the next couple months I will be posting more about "the move" and some of our associated thoughts, excitements, sadness, and fears. But wanted to go ahead and fill you all in on our "big news"