Friends and family-
There are those of you who know some or all of what I'm about to relay, so I apologize for any boring details that you've heard already. We want to bring you up to speed with our family, so you'll know what's next for us and will know how to pray for us. Hopefully, you'll find at least something in this correspondence that is new information to you (maybe it's just this random fact--insects outnumber humans 1,000,000:1).
I (A.J.) retired as a teacher in May 2009 to pursue a future with Chick-fil-A restaurant in hopes of someday owning a CFA store of my own. I know that a fast food chicken restaurant is a strange calling, but have come to realize that such a place is a great blend of the type of work and ministry opportunities that I love. I have filled a management position at the local CFA in Midland since this summer, but I have realized that this particular store wasn't the best fit for my skills and interests. I still firmly believe that my passions and abilities very much line up with the ideals of the company, and have been in pursuit of other leadership opportunities at other CFA restaurants throughout the country. Recently, our family has traveled to some of those restaurants in areas closer to where we have roots (namely, Colorado and Arkansas) to interview in several stores where we think I could thrive. Those interviews went very well indeed. It looks like we have really appealing and exciting options at several places in Arkansas (Bentonville, Little Rock, and Rogers), and the ball is now in our court to choose between those locations. Each of them offers slightly different opportunities/advantages, so we are currently weighing those things and seeking God's direction. Will you pray for clarity in these decisions?
One thing that we do know at this point is that this is all coming together very swiftly. If all goes as planned (when does it ever?), I will start at a new place as soon as November 30th. I am wrapping up my time at the local CFA (finishing next week), and then will have Thanksgiving week to finalize as many details as possible here and line up as much as we can there (wherever there is), and to say our goodbyes to loved ones in Midland. Most likely, I will start in Arkansas by myself, and live with someone in the area, and Megan and our kids will head to Colorado Springs to be with her folks while we try to find a specific place to settle. Not surprisingly, we are experiencing a full range of emotions--fear, anxiety, excitement, doubt, sorrow, worry, relief, etc.--but we're confident that God's hand is in this, and that He'll bless any decision so long as we do what we can to honor Him and be faithful wherever He has us. It is agonizing to think about leaving this community/school/church that we've grown to love over the 6.5 years we've been here, but we also don't want to be Midland/MCA/MBC worshipers; we want to serve and follow the God who presides over all these things, Who so knowingly and lovingly provides such good gifts to His children.
Finally, we covet your prayers in this process, as we sort through all the big decisions ahead. We may call on some of you who are local to help us pack boxes and tie up loose ends when that time comes, but that probably won't be until the end of the month. We'd like to offer a heartfelt thanks for your overwhelming and steady support and love through this process. God is good, all the time.