Encouragement & Hope
Submitted by Rev. Larry Gerber
From Sun Lakes to Shepherd of the Hills
It was late March or early May 2006. I was on my way home from the Sun Lakes church for a lunch break. I was thinking: "Wow! I am finishing my seventh year as their pastor."
The founding pastor was here for 12 years. Let's see, I will be 62 in August. My plan is to retire next year. THAT is when the phone rang. "Hi Larry, this is your District Superintendent. Are you sitting down?"
My response: "Well, yeah, but I am driving. Wait while I pull into the Baptist parking lot. O.K."
The D.S. said that I chose a good place to stop. "I am calling on behalf of the Bishop. She wants you to move this year to become the Senior Pastor at Shepherd of the Hills."
My reply was, "But Mary, I only have one year before I plan on retiring."
Her reply was that the Bishop was aware of that and told her to say, "Larry, you are never going to retire. I need you at SHUMC."
The shock of having to move was overwhelming. Fast forward.
The change allowed me to have 5 of the best years in my ministry. I retired from SHUMC at the age of 66. Still early retirement. Through 39 years of ministry, I have had many reasons to call it quits. Disappointments, shocking news, tragedies, moving, etc., but through it all I survived.
The year is 2020. Jane and I planned to visit family in Oregon for Easter, to see family and meet our great-grandson who was born in February, then go back home and plan our yearly trek to MI, NY, and PA. We would be in MI for a grandson's High School commencement and then off to visit family in NY and PA. We would drive back home full of memories. Then, May 16 changed our plans entirely. The world was in a state of change and alarm. The words came across loud and clear: STAY HOME, NEVADA.
Well, we are still home. Our plans for early retirement were placed on hold for 5 years. Our 2020 travel plans were scuttled. You are reading one person's account of ever-changing plans.
Your life may have also had some life-changing events, yet our faith says it all in a song that has taken me through the valleys of my life: Through it all, through it all, I have learned to trust in Jesus.
I have learned to trust in God. Through it all........