I've tried to write this myself a few times, but Wes has written a letter to our supporting pastors that says it much better than I can, so I'll just quote a few excerpts from his letter:
We have purposely waited till now so that Wes could get this letter to as many of our supporting pastors as possible. The last thing we wanted was for this news to trickle down through the grapevine! So you readers are the last to know - I'm sorry! :)We have labored here in North Vancouver for almost 6 years now. We praise the Lord for the effect He has permitted us to have in this area of Vancouver. We have placed a copy of John & Romans in a majority of the homes in North Vancouver. We have distributed thousands of gospel tracts door to door. We have taken advantage of different community opportunities to reach out to the people of North Vancouver with the gospel. We have seen people saved, baptized and discipled. We have done our best to carry out the great commission in the place where God sent us 6 years ago.Recently, I was contacted by People’s Baptist Church in Kelowna, BC concerning candidating for the pastorate of that church. The previous pastor started the work 18 years ago and it had grown to a place of being fully self-supporting. But in recent years the attendance has begun to decline, primarily from people leaving the Kelowna area in search of work elsewhere. So, whoever assumes the pastorate would either need to raise or already have support. The church has voted unanimously to call me as their next pastor, and after much prayer and godly counsel I feel led of God to accept this pastorate . . .
I had been counseled by several pastors and godly men whose counsel I trust, to recommend to our people at Lions Gate Baptist Church a merger. There are already several fundamental Baptist churches in Canada that are without pastors, and so to avoid adding another to that list I recommended a merger with another local work that is about the same age and size as ours, and about the same distance that most already travel, just in a different direction. However, the people of Lions Gate Baptist Church have decided that they would like to pursue a different path and look for a new pastor instead. Pastor Gordon Conner, pastor of Greater Vancouver Baptist Church, which has been our sponsoring church here in Canada since we arrived, has agreed to help the people of Lions Gate Baptist Church in these efforts. We ask you to join us in praying that God will give wisdom in this process, and bring about His will in His time . . .
Let me conclude by sharing a little information with you about Kelowna and the surrounding area. The city proper has a population of about 100,000, the Region of Kelowna is around 160,000. People’s Baptist Church is the only fundamental work within a couple of hours drive; with the exception of a very young work about 30 minutes away, which also is currently without a pastor due to some of the reasons I mentioned earlier in this letter. There is currently one family that drives 1.5 hours EACH WAY to attend church in Kelowna. There is much potential for chapels in outlying areas; communities that population wise probably could not support a work, but still need to be reached with the gospel.
We are moving this week. Yes, this week! Our house is almost completely packed now, and we're tying up the various loose ends here in North Vancouver. We're very excited as we look back over God's leading through the past couple of months and how He opened and closed doors to show us His will. I'm looking forward to sharing with you our new ministry, and we do ask you to keep praying for us as we move to a new area and a new work. And please do pray for the people here at Lions Gate Baptist Church as they seek God's will as they move forward, too!
We'll be without internet access from Friday until sometime next week, so I will still be absent in blogland for a few more days. As soon as I have the chance, though, I will be back with pictures and news . . . and hopefully I won't have to sit on news this big ever again! LOL