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Thoughts About My Years in Ministry

Thoughts About My Years in Ministry

On March 31, I retired.  Brian Stewart asked me to share with you a few thoughts about my years in ministry, which I am happy to do.

I received the Lord when I was 20, in 1972, and because of my interest in other countries and languages I gravitated toward missions over time as I got more involved in my hometown congregation, Kingston Christian Church, on the Kitsap Peninsula in western Washington state. 

When I was Seattle Editor of the “Daily Shipping News,” I remember how enjoyable my job was but that I also had a gnawing sensation that any number of unconverted folks could hold that position but that only believers could be missionaries.  I did a short term in Lima, Peru, with Regions Beyond Missionary Union in 1979.  The Lord called me using the "living sacrifice" verses in Romans 12, I resigned from the newspaper, and enrolled at Prairie College in Three Hills, Alberta.  I met Donna in the orchestra, and she had the same calling. 

We were married in 1980, served as Associate Pastor at KCC after doing a stint at Rio Grande Bible Institute in Edinburg, Texas, and went to Chile for nearly 13 years in September 1983. We did friendship evangelism, church planting, counseling, hospitality, music ministry, interpretation, leadership training, and pastoring.  Our daughter, Catherine (now Taylor), was born on the field.

In 1996, we moved back to Washington and I began working in the ACTION office.  In 1998 I was named USA Director and over the years also served as Secretary and Chairman of the International Council, Latin America Regional Coordinator, and USA Board Secretary. 

Meanwhile, Donna began making trips to Mexico and Cuba.  She served as an interpreter, did Sunday School teacher training, organized and worked in summer camps, and spoke at women's events.  She often took young people from KCC along including Catherine.  The IT Director of ACTION made one of those trips to Mexico with Donna and Catherine and Catherine's friend Angie Boucher.  The next year Rob Taylor and Catherine were married.  They have given us three beautiful grandchildren: Ethan, Ian, and Nora. 

In 2018, Brian Stewart replaced me as USA Director and invited me to continue to serve with him part-time at mission headquarters.  That was a happy arrangement which I enjoyed very much.

In August of last year, I became principal caregiver to my Mom, Palma Carlaw, aged 92.  She is suffering from late-stage Parkinson's and moved to our home.  Donna does the cooking and laundry, and Catherine gives me respite when needed.  Mom is now bedridden but most of the time is alert, cheerful, and even humorous!  She is loving, generous, and appreciative and we are happy to take care of her needs at this stage of her long life. She loves the Lord and still has her devotions and watches preachers on TV.

Kingston Christian Church has been a textbook-case commissioning and supporting church.  ACTION has been a wonderful family all these years. The Lord has been faithful at every turn.  My heart is full, and I can only praise and thank Him for the life in Christ that he has graciously given me.

Blessings to all of you, fellow ACTIONites!  Keep on keeping on!