About 2 months ago I received an e-mail from a guy named Aaron Gutridge, the student ministries pastor at a church in Palm Springs, California. After several phone and Skype conversations with him and his team, they invited us to come out and continue the interview process in person. During our daughters' spring break we reluctantly had to go to Palm Springs (Yep, real suffering for Jesus! LOL!) where we got to meet and spend time with the team in person. We had a wonderful time hanging out with them in formal [Southern California formal] and informal settings, and we really enjoyed ourselves. The long and short of it is that at the end of our interviews I was offered an opportunity and accepted an invitation to come on staff as the middle school pastor at Southwest Community Church. Most important to us was the chemistry we felt with the team and the opportunity for us to raise our family in a great community with a great church. In terms of a timeline, our plan is to work through the first week of June here on Long Island then head off on our great cross-country adventure. We hope to arrive in California in time for the girls to participate in some of the summer activities of the church - in particular for Claudia to attend the middle school summer camp. Of course, that means I get to go to summer camp as well! :)
We would greatly appreciate your prayers as we seek to wrap things up and end our ministry here at Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle well. We have been here for 6 years, made lots of friends, and had quite a run in youth ministry. We are appreciative of the privilege we have had to serve here, and look forward to handing the ministry off to our incredible team of adult volunteers and my successor, which, it looks as though, I am pleased to have been able to secure for the kids and the church pending a congregational vote. As soon as that takes place I look forward to introducing him as my successor.