Pastor Mario; It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye

In the coming weeks, we will say goodbye to one of my good friends, and certainly one of our greatest resources as a church over the last five years. On July 18th, we will be saying goodbye to Pastor Mario, Denise, Carly, and Josh as Mario moves on to the next chapter in his life. Ok that sounds kinda morbid like he died… but actually he's just moving to Louisville, KY.

For many years, I've often been the person in meetings making presentations, or speaking up in open forums advocating for change. However, this time around I very much find myself longing for things to stay the same. And while selfishly, I've always wanted them to stick around, I know that their leaving is part of God's plan for their life.
God has always done the same thing; whether it's Abraham's obedience in leaving Ur, it's Paul's obedience in going to Asia… God is constantly calling many of us to go. This is not to say that staying somewhere is disobedience to God – in fact, staying somewhere is a calling itself and sometimes even more difficult to obey! But the truth is, staying or going are decisions mature men and women of faith need to deal with at periods of transition. By ignoring the tugging at our hearts or the wrestling we need to do with the Lord, we are simply putting our heads in the sand and not living out the full lives that Jesus died to give us, lives worthy of the calling we have received (Ephesians 4:1).

So, even as I say goodbye to my friend, my heart is filled with more joy and excitement than sadness. I have no claim on his life, on his future any more than I do on any of your lives. We all belong to the Lord and our tomorrows are His.

That said, I do want us to celebrate the last five years of ministry impact of Pastor Mario and Denise and send them out really, really well. Following the worship gathering on July 18th, we will have a reception to follow in the dining hall, where we have a few exciting things planned. If you have questions about how to get involved, please reach out to the office, or Helen Monegro who I have asked to keep momentum moving forward in the planning of this celebration.

Also, we do want all of you to plan for this one thing in advance. We will have a "giving tree" set up as part of the reception. Mario and Denise are downsizing into an apartment, so they do not have the space to accommodate a large number gifts and mementos. But what they will always have room for is gift cards and cash :-)

Please be very generous in sending our friends off on their way well!

- Pastor Milo


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