Shawna and I are moving to Portland in two weeks into a apartment community called Linden. We were able to spend an evening with some of the tenants recently and can’t wait to be their neighbors. I will also be joining the staff at Portland Foursquare. The journey to this point has been a complex and beautiful one.
Three years ago, I was brought up to Portland for meetings with all the Foursquare District teams. One of the days there, we were bused around to a number of different churches where we listened to a number of different Pastors talk about a number of different things.
By the end of the day, we ended up at Portland Foursquare (PDX4) where I was exhausted of listening to professional speakers. I was feeling quite pessimistic and negative. The pastor at PDX4, Greg Russinger, got up to speak and I felt a Divine question be asked of me, “Would you refuse to listen to me just because of when and through whom I choose to speak?” My heart and ears were immediately opened and I felt my life begin to be shaped differently, like a stone being chiseled away at to reveal the image of an ear.
Once we left the church, it stayed with me. I never thought we’d move there, but whenever I imagined myself living and contributing somewhere post-CPDNextGen Rep. it was in a place like the PDX4 building. I couldn’t shake the image.
In September 2012, Shawna and I visited Portland for the first time together during what was one of the most painful seasons of loss in our lives, so far. I saw her become a fully realized embodiment of who I’ve always known her to be. I don’t know how else to describe it. She was fearless, adventurous, and free. When I saw that, I thought to myself, I will move anywhere in the world where I can always see this! There is nothing more beautiful or wonderful. We returned home telling everyone that one day we would be moving to Portland.
The next month in October we returned for a conference that I was speaking at at Camp Crest View and had another fantastic time meeting people and discovering the area. On the last day of the conference, Greg Russinger happened to be speaking again. After the gathering had ended, he, his wife Michele, and I began talking about contemplative Christianity and things that have shaped our lives. Those kinds of contemplative conversations are rare in Foursquare circles and absolute gems when I find them. I treasure them.
In January of this year I wrote Greg to thank he and Michele for the conversation we had at the conference and let him know how much it meant to me. To my shock and excitement, he wrote back asking if Shawna and I would be open to having a creative conversation about our future and Portland. That inquiry shaped the next 9 months of our lives and brought us to this point.
So, it is with so much excitement, gratitude, and peace that we enter into this new season of our lives at the Linden Community and Portland Foursquare. To everyone who has been a part of our lives at Old Oak and in the Central Pacific District, Thank you!