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Dear friends in Christ,

I remember the great family move from Minnesota to Alaska. My parents, in an attempt to generate enthusiasm about the transition and immediately after announcing the pending move, began telling stories about all the exciting things we would see and the adventures we would have in our new home. Mom and Dad turned into National Geographic reporters, entertaining my brother and I with tales of a rugged land, of islands, and fishing boats, and whales and exotic animals.

The stories worked for me. Seeing the transition through the eyes of possibility and adventure, I began to get excited to move. Using my active childhood imagination I began embellishing these future adventures.  Soon mountain goats and bears were not only to be sighted but became pets and friends.

In an attempt to ready our house for sale my parents worked at completing our unfinished garage.  While they did, I took to illustrating our adventures with a red carpenters pencil on the stacks of rafters waiting to be erected. They’re still there, like little red hieroglyphs, badly drawn pictures of adventures yet to be had, and a testament to a little boy’s excitement for the future.

In my first three weeks together I’ve been graced to meet with so many of you. It has been a blessing to hear your stories, to learn about your joys and sorrows, and to see where God has shown up in your lives. As we’ve shared stories, at several points I’ve heard reference to an exciting future with all sorts of adventures and new experiences. As you’ve described the future, and as I’ve learned more about who you are right now, I’ve found myself getting excited about all we will see and do together.

It is apparent to me that the Spirit of the living God is in our midst and even now is beckoning us into an exciting future. From your stories about our many possibilities I am sensing that a lot of you are hearing that call! As my imagination goes to work on your stories, I’m trying hard to capture it all on paper. Like the scribblings on those rafters in a garage somewhere in north central Minnesota my notes are little sketches of the places we might go. I hope you’ll keep sharing your stories and your hopes for the future.

Blessings to all of you wherever you may be.  Hope to see you Sunday.

Faithfully,

Jered+

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