Yes, I'm still working for God! Ha ha. I am still pastoring the church, but the finances of the church are so tight that we have not been paying any salaries all year. But that is not the measure of a church's ministry impact, thank the Lord! We are still touching hearts and lives.
But, yesterday was my last day working at the Census Bureau office in Riverside. It was sad in a way, because I have become very involved in some lives of my co-workers. Several have mentioned that I should not be surprised if they show up at my church sometime soon.
I also felt like I experienced what Joseph did in the Old Testament, when he arrived in Egypt. I started out at the bottom, in the admin department where I did not experience much opportunity for growth and interaction. Because I asked to have Wednesday evenings off due to church commitments, the supervisor gave permission one day and then (because she was a Christian deeply involved in ministry in her church) she proposed that I work in a different department (the Field Operations office) that worked only the day shift at that time.
The Field Ops manager had a tough reputation with a personality that many did not appreciate or approve of. I had no problems with him, and we got along fine. He was rough in his management style, but I adapt quickly and we had no problems. And he knew I was a pastor, but that did not matter in how he treated me. For which I was grateful. I want to be judged in the workplace just like any other employee.
After several months, this manager asked me to take the position of OOS (Operations Office Supervisor). It was an incredible offer that had better pay, greater responsibility and better fulfillment for me personally. I felt as if God was honoring my work ethic, my Christian stance and my witness as I worked there.
And then, when the work was winding down, I was kept on as part of the team that would finish out the office routines for closing. Then, when others were let go, I was still part of the nucleus left for the very last work details. And then, I was with the last group to be let go yesterday. It was very gratifying and humbling how God paved the way for me there!
There were many opportunities for me to share my faith and beliefs to some very interested co-workers. I also had some great conversations with those who had differing viewpoints from me. But it was very solid conversations, where we talked at length about why we held our understandings so tightly concerning earth and eternity.
My supervisor gave me a gift card for Olive Garden restaurant as a parting gift. We all exchanged email addresses and gave hugs as we left the office for the last time. Good memories.
Pretty soon I will file for unemployment. It's the first time in my life I will have ever drawn unemployment! Maybe another door is waiting to open for me, and it's just around the corner. Who knows?
Anyway, today I will be taking my car to a friend to work on it. He said it will take about $700 to get it fixed. He is a professional mechanic and will do this as a side job for me.
Last night, we barbecued pork steaks on the grill. We also had Bailey with us for the evening. In addition, Alden came over and had dinner with us. He is doing so well, and we are so happy for him. This has been a good transition for him to move down here from Bakersfield. We are very proud of him as he gets back on his feet. Times have been tough for a lot of people, and he made it through his loss of a place to live, loss of income and a terrible bout with physical health issues.
In other news, Jason and his family are doing well in Shawnee, finding the joy in the development of their new baby. Shawn and Crystal are trying to get rested up from their vacation to the Dominican Republic and getting back to work and school. Evan is continuing to work the night shift (9 pm - 5:30 am) and had to buy some new tires for his Toyota 4Runner. He is still playing softball with his friends on weekends in a league nearby.
Here's the latest picture of granddaughter Macyn that I received from Jason recently. Shelly says Macyn is spoiled already where she demands constant attention. If you look away to talk to someone else in the room, Macyn cries to look back at her!