Sunday, July 06, 2008
EVERGREEN CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY--ONE OF OUR ANCHORS
Your missionary to Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, Rob Schenck, reporting:
Evergreen Christian Community is a dynamic church family nestled in the--well--Evergreens of Olympia, Washington, the capital of the "Evergreen State." Cheryl and I are out here as the guests of Lead Pastor Dale Oquist and his wife, Joni. The Oquists and their kids are terrific people--a lot of fun to be with--but they're also totally committed to the church and community they serve. Dale and Joni have birthed an enormously successful ministry, building a solid congregation of mature Christians while making sacrificial changes to connect with a new and emerging generation. Evergreen has quickly become one of our "Anchor Churches." Their support--from prayer to personal involvement--is critical to our success in Washington. Thank you Oquists, thank you pastoral team and leadership of Evergreen Christian Community, and thank you people of our Evergreen extended family for your encouragement and generosity in every way. We absolutely could not do what God has called us to do in Washington, DC, if you weren't doing so effectively what God has called you to do in Washington State!
Cheryl and I will stay out here another day and return Tuesday to the frenetic pace of Capitol Hill. The demand back home runs Monday through Friday (and sometimes weekends) from early morning until late at night. In order for us to make ends meet in a very expensive environment these last 15 years, Cheryl has always been employed. Of course she also loves what she does as an occupational therapist for disabled children in our public schools. Still, the demands of two careers and my frequent Sundays away to preach puts time together at a real premium. We're getting that time together over the next 24 hours and it's great!
Speaking of travel, I'll be in Scranton, Pennsylvania at the end of this week to attend a strategic meeting for the Institute on Religion and Public Policy. By now you know I serve on the Institute's board of directors. "IRPP" president Joe Grieboski is a good friend and advisor to me--not to mention a genius when it comes to religious liberty issues worldwide. We may not see eye-to-eye on every little thing, but Joe keeps me challenged, informed and well-humored. I thoroughly enjoy working with Joe and the Institute. He introduced me to my ongoing exchange with Moroccan government and religious leaders and took me with him on a formal delegation to Sudan, a life-changing experience to say the least.
My next trip is to a much closer place, though: Branson, Missouri. No, not for country music--but for another board meeting and conference. This time it's the Evangelical Church Alliance, for which I serve as chair of the Committee on Church and Society. The board meeting part convenes Monday and Tuesday, July 21 and 22; The conference part, July 23 and 24. I'll deliver my annual "Missionary Field Report" on Thursday, July 24. Then I catch a plane to Florida to guest preach for Pastor Bob Lecocq at Florida's First Assembly of God in Wauchula on July 27. Bob is a passionate preacher, caring pastor and gifted communicator. (His other job is as a college lecturer in public speaking and communications!)
As you can see, even when the Supreme Court and Congress have slowed down for the summer, I don't sit around drumming my fingers wondering what to do. In fact it's quite the opposite. Just this morning as I sat on the front pew waiting to be introduced to speak, I got an E-mail on my Blackberry from Jay Sekulow who's been in Israel and France for the last few weeks. We'll meet when he gets back in town July 15 to discuss a host of things he's working on. Jay's a good friend--one of the few people I can truly confide in. Washington can be a very lonely town, but Jay, my brother Paul, Pat Mahoney and a couple of others makes it survivable!
That's all for now. Thanks for being an important part of my wider "Family Circle!"
Faith and Action
109 2nd St, NE
Washington, DC 20002