A Prayerful Change in Jobs
Seven years ago, I started a dream job working for The Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort.
In those years I have preached at well over 100 churches about disaster relief all over Texas and the Western United States. I have met thousands of Brothers and Sisters in Christ and eaten a lot of pot-luck dinners. I have also met a lot of people who had lost homes to disaster. It has been rewarding to be a part of giving local Christians the things they need to take care of their neighbors who were touched by disasters.
In the wake of disasters, there are families who will never know my role in the relief effort, but that is as it should be. All they know is that when they were at what seemed the lowest time in their lives, members of the Church in their town gave them clothes, food, cleaning supplies, toiletries and even replaced beds, furniture, and appliances.
A year and a half ago my doctor had told me that I had a blocked artery, and at that time I had decided to retire and stop running around the country all of the time. I told my office in Nashville that I planned to retire. They asked me to find my replacement for the states that I cover, and I did. The second week in August 2017 was to be my last however, God had another plan. My replacement called me and told me that my heart issues had motivated him to go to the Cardiologist and get himself checked out. He said he was calling from the hospital and he had just had an angiogram on his heart and had stents put in. He said the Doctor had also told him he would have to have bypass surgery and he wouldn’t be able to start for several months at least.
So in August of 2017, I went to the bi-annual meeting of the five Associate Directors and our supervisors in Nashville. I told them that through prayer, exercise and God’s grace, my health problems had not turned out to be as bad as I had feared. They asked me if I would stay another year and I agreed.
Two weeks after that meeting, Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and I began six months of the hardest and most rewarding work I had ever done in disaster relief. We wound up sending relief to thirty-one Churches in Texas and one in the US Virgin Islands.
There have been several disasters since, and a lot of demand for me to preach at Churches that wanted to help and the year I had agreed to stay on has now stretched to sixteen months and still, God has answered a lot of prayers about my health.
I have decided to take on a new challenge and work as a Partnership Specialist for the 2020 Census. It is a job that I did in 2010 and the skill set is pretty close to what I do in disaster relief work. I have told my office in Nashville that I will still be available as a volunteer and I can preach on occasion and coordinate disasters on the phone.
The Partnership Specialist job at the Census will only last a year and a half or so, and it will also require a lot of travel, but the difference is that most of it will be close to home and when it isn’t, I can fly instead of driving. It will give me more time to spend with Lori and for us to put away some money toward retirement.
I have loved the time I have spent with The Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort more than I can express. If I were to thank everyone by name, I could fill several volumes. As it is, their names fill the most important book of all, the Book of Life in Heaven.