Our big church partners with a small mission-like church in an impoverished area of a nearby city. The pastor there is taking a sabbatical after almost twenty years of ministry. Church members were encouraged to write notes of thanks to him. This is my feeble attempt.
It is hard to adequately thank someone who has lived a life like yours. Yes, you have answered God’s call, and you have, so faithfully, done His work, and you have touched so many lives, and you have been the hands and feet of Jesus to hurting, lonely souls. And all of that in itself is so much to be grateful for. And yet, you have done so much more.
Your “work” at the mission church became your life, and it dwelled in you every moment of each day. You made an immeasurable difference in that community, you ministered to those in need, and you helped others learn how to serve. You showed all of us what His kingdom looks like here on this earth.
Our memories from the Christmas Toy Store ministry fill our hearts. We remember our first time, seeing so many needs, and then, through our time there, realizing the hope and joy that one person can share with another when serving in His name. Those lists and lists of people that we used to go through, and the bits and pieces of their lives (the electric bills, and personal ID’s) are still vivid in our minds as “primary source” documents that revealed the depth of want in a land of plenty. We are grateful we were awakened to that world around us. And even more thankful that, through your leadership at the church, we were given an opportunity to help others.
And yet, even though it is so hard to fully express our thanks for the tremendous ministry you have had, we do want to say thank you – for your guidance, your inspiration, and most especially for your influence.
We wish you well and we know that whatever is next for you, you will go with God.