How could we have known when we were young college students that fifty years would pass in what seems a blink of an eye? And yet, here we are, fifty years down the road. Celebrating milestones has always been a part of our journey. In the beginning, we celebrated our first month of marriage, then our first year with an anniversary trip to recreate our honeymoon. The annual celebrations continued on our wedding date as the years rolled by. Then we began to celebrate the arrival of each of our three children, their birthdays, their achievements in school, competitions, sports, and honors. Along came the ten grandchildren, and we still found ways to celebrate. Today we are recapping our recent retirement as something to celebrate.
Something to Celebrate
More Missions Opportunities
A few years ago we began to dream toward a new extension of our years of pastoral ministry. We envisioned a time when we could travel, spend more time with our children and grandchildren, and participate in missions. We didn’t know what that would look like in reality. Fast forward to now – we are in the moment, living out that dream. Our first opportunity came in November, 2018 when we became volunteers at Ridgecrest Conference Center in Ridgecrest, North Carolina. Following that, we had the joy of volunteering at Shocco Springs, Alabama, and then on to Glen Eyrie, Colorado. Each of these experiences led us to the assurance that this was the path we were to take in the next part of our ministry.
First Baptist Church, Silver Grove Joins our Vision
When we shared with our congregation in Silver Gove, Kentucky, what we planned to do, they joined our vision. Though it was a difficult decision and painful for all of us to make plans to leave, we had a confidence it was in Gods timing. So now it was going to be all about celebrating. The month of August was set apart to be a time of Remembering the Past, Celebrating the Present, and Anticipating the Future.
Today I’d like to share some of the highlights of Celebrating the Present.
On August 4, 2019, the celebration kicked off with my brother, Dr. Roger Sing Oldham, bringing the sermon from Psalm 16:11. Our youngest daughter, Sharon and her daughter, Natalie brought special music on piano, guitar, trumpet and vocal. Matt, our son-in-law and two granddaughters, Makayla and Lillian, had come the week before, and a large group of family came on August 4.
The Celebration Continued
August 25, 2019 was the final day of celebration before we would say farewell to our church family, and to the life we had known for the past 50 years as Pastor and wife. Our daughter and grandchildren brought special music, Gloria Costanzo brought a cello/piano duet with Sharon Williams, and Pastor Jimmy Williams brought a message of encouragement to the church and challenge to us as we embarked on this new mission endeavor. Our song leader, Bro Glen Baldridge led the congregation in singing throughout the month.
As we reflect on the many experiences that have been ours during these years as Pastor, we feel blessed beyond words. Our hearts are full of joy in knowing that Jesus has truly led us all the way. The only word we could use to describe the month of August is surreal. Friends and family made sacrifices to be present with us on these days of celebration. Our congregation went out of the way both physically and financially to bless us in extraordinary ways. We feel humbled. Everyone really made the month, something to celebrate.
Something to Celebrate
God has blessed us by calling us into His ministry. We’ve seen miracles and milestones, victories and defeats, births and deaths, marriages and divorces. Pastoral ministry has allowed us to see people at their worst and at their best. We’ve been loved, and we’ve been not so loved by our congregations, but in the end, every bit of it has brought us the realization that we’ve something to celebrate. God called us to do a work for Him and we Celebrate the Present just knowing we were faithful to obey.
In my next post we will be Remembering the Past
Have you got something to celebrate? Whatever God has put in your hand to do –
- Do it to your very best ability,
- Be available for whatever God asks you to do,
- And then by the grace of God, do it.
You’ll discover that yes, you have something to celebrate.