Leaving Grace (the congregation, not God’s grace)

Today is January 4, 2014. I’m sitting in Jinja, Uganda on the campus of Uganda Baptist Seminary. But three weeks ago I was living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and serving as the Pastor-in-Training at Grace Baptist Church. It is amazing how much can change in less than a month. In the last month I graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with my Master of Divinity, concluded by time at Grace Baptist Church, traveled to Oklahoma for Christmas with the family, flew across the Atlantic to Uganda, and settled down on campus at UBS for the next five months.

Leaving my friends and church family in Baton Rouge was the hardest transition of life so far. That was the first place that really felt like home since I first left for college back in 2006. Few things in life are as precious as the community of believers with which we covenant. I am grateful that I will see them again, perhaps in this life and certainly in the next.

I’ve felt like such an emotional basket-case over the last couple of weeks. On the one hand I have been grieving the loss of my Baton Rouge community, but on the other hand I am crazy excited to be back in Uganda, especially for five months. This is a great country, and I fully support the work being done at Uganda Baptist Seminary. What’s really great is that I’ve been given the opportunity to teach in the seminary for the next five months. This is the first opportunity to do what I want to do for life: teach and equip. So, I’m fired up.

As the title of this post says, I’ve left a congregation called “Grace” but I have definitely not left the grace of God. I continue in fellowship with the Father through the blood of His Son by the power of His Spirit. Being “alone” in a foreign land makes me think on what is consistent in life. Few things are. But the grace of God is one of those few. I continue to be aware of my need for God’s grace and of the provision of his grace in Christ.

So, I will continue to labor here in Uganda. By the grace of God I will serve well and finish well, not just over the next five months, but for as many months or years as God gives me, all according to the counsel of his will (Eph. 1:5).

“I see no business in life but the work of Christ.” – Henry Martyn