Greetings from Texas. The recent lull in posts has been due to a very busy couple weeks. The wedding in Alabama was beautiful. The drive to St. Louis wasn't bad. Loading the truck was not fun. Driving through Oklahoma was better than I thought, though I am not sure what the toll money is going to because the road quality was much worse than any of the non-toll roads that I drove on. Crossing the Red River was exciting, an then I finally landed in Wichita Falls, TX.
I was greeted by a group of gentlemen who unloaded the whole truck for me, and afterword took me out to dinner to what is now one of my favorite places: Cotton Patch. It has delicious home-style food, much like a Cracker Barrel only better. The first time I was there I ate a chicken fried steak that was really good. After Marie and Levi arrived by plane the next day I took them there and ate their pork chops which were also really good. Then, I took my dad there when my parents were in town and had the meatloaf which was also delicious. We also went to Jalapeno Tree which had some really good Mexican food.
Last Sunday I was officially installed as Vicar at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. Though I have been in the office for the past week and did half the service yesterday I am still waiting for it to sink in. I have come to love living in Texas already though, and I also love the congregation. Pastor Snyder, Linda, and Kianna (Church Staff) are all really fun people and have a good time joking around with each other both in and out of the office. They have already treated me like on of their own (with Kianna already threatening to light me on fire yesterday) and I pray that wherever I end up I have people who surround me like them.
In addition to that, though, Pastor has told me that as a Vicar I am lower than dirt, he treats me far from it. You hear all of the horror stories about vicarage at the seminary and so far this is anything but. Pastor has treated me like a competent theologian and even a partner and brother in ministry. He has already asked me my thoughts on different practices and doctrine that he has been thinking about and wrestling with or thinking about. He has looked at my resources and has even asked me to look into resources for the church. It has been great so far and I know that being treated in such a way is going to challenge me to make me think more about theological issues and who I want to be as a pastor and what kind of resources I want to use.
It has been a great week and I am still waiting for it to feel like work, but at the same time pray that it never feels like work. I know that I will probably have frustrations and struggles this year, and as Pastor even said in his sermon last week many of them will be from my own doing, but in those moments I will just have to remember that God has chosen me, a poor miserable sinner who has received His sustaining comfort and grace, to bring that same comfort and grace to those around me.
Heavenly Father, thank you for placing me at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Wichita Falls, Texas. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn from a great man, Pastor Snyder, and help me to absorb the good things that he teaches me about ministry. Help me to gain experience so that I can be a better minister to your people, both those that know you and those that don't. In Your precious name I pray, Amen.