Tuesday, September 2, 2014

...and off we go!

What is happening with the Wiebe family? Well, here it is: we are moving to Salt Lake City.

I have the privilege of joining Capital Church (www.capitalchurch.com) located downtown in Salt Lake City as their youth pastor. My official start date is October 1st and I have to say that I am delighted about getting back into full time ministry! There are three things about this that are giving me quite a lot of joy and an encouraging peace: the team under Pastor Troy Champ's leadership is a wonderful team, I have a huge desire to minister to those who I can make an impact on (while being a little youthful myself), and throughout our experiences over the past years I feel ready to get back in the fight for Christ! It has felt as though God has been working in my life to get me to this point to lead us in this direction.

With this news, I thought I would share some of our journey. A bulk of this is directed to our SMCC family in St. George as we have, though unintentionally, left most of you in the dark. For the pain and frustration our actions have caused, I am sorry. We love and support SMCC the Springs and will always consider you a vital part of our family. Here is our story for the last 8 months.

The SMCC Experience

    I resigned from SMCC in December of 2013 with the explanation that my heart was leading me into professional therapy and that we needed a change in light of our experience with losing Nate. We intended to take some time to create some distance between us and the position of Pastor at SMCC the Springs but ultimately wanted to plug back in after a few months. That didn't happen.
   The reality is that my heart had been so changed by losing Nate and there was so much pain there (still is) that I became very irritable and frustrated with working on staff at the church. My passions and desires to lead people to the Lord have never changed but they were lost, for some time, in my own spiritual darkness. It took quite a few months and even more pain for me to figure that out. 
   The truth is, when I left SMCC the Springs I was mad. Mad at Pastor Tom, mad at Pastor Jake, mad at the church (though not individuals, more the organization), and mad at my job. I felt like things were not going as they should be and I could find every little thing to disagree with and be upset with. What I have come to realize is, that at the heart of it all, I was mad at God. I have served in His church my entire adult life only to have my life ripped apart. I had allowed bitterness to reside soundly in my heart, without even realizing it, and it affected me for the next 6 months. 
   Things became even more difficult, through misunderstandings and probably lack of judgement, as I had my feathers ruffled by something that happened at the church after we left. If you have been part of any church for any amount of time, you will know that where there are sinners, things are messy and people will invariably do something ridiculous to cause someone else to be irritated or even get hurt. This was us ... and likely them. If only we had the ability to step back and look at the bigger picture of our lives and see that in the grand scheme of eternity, some things are not as big of a deal as we see them. 
   I did not have that discernment and decided to send a very angry letter to Pastor Tom and leave the church; an action that I wish I had spent more time in prayer and thought before hitting the send button on my email. This action caused irritation on all sides. We were mad at SMCC and SMCC was annoyed with us. We left the church with mutual frustration. Though I had my inner struggles, God kept his hand on us the whole time. 
   There was a small season where I wasn't too concerned with church and checked out a few in town but I could find something wrong with each one: the service was too long, the music was dull, I didn't feel welcomed. Unfortunately, it is too easy to make up excuses to not go to church.  It was in March, we found Pastor James at the Narrows church by being invited to it by our friend's Eddy and Amanda. We settled in and enjoyed just being attenders for a while. 
   I didn't stay idle for very long and was able to get involved.  It was through this, and some conversations with Pastor James, though I don't know whether he realized it or did it on purpose, God lead me to a place where I knew I needed to mend the bridge with Pastor Tom. It was time to work things out.
   Melissa and I had Pastor Tom, Pastor Jake, and Pastor Paul Robie, from up north, over to our house and worked out our differences and were able to forgive and reconcile. It was a freeing experience. Since then, I have been able to pray for and support SMCC the Springs and wish them the best. The main reason we didn't come back was because we ended up getting plugged in at the Narrows and felt it important to stay there. God was working on us through a deeper healing that I wasn't even aware of and He had picked the Narrows and Pastor James and his family to be our caregivers.  
   I do need to say to Pastor Tom, Pastor Jake, and Pastor Paul that I am sorry for my negative attitude and behavior towards you and SMCC. I love you guys and pray for SMCC as a whole. You all have had a profound impact on my life and have been with me through some incredibly great, and incredibly horrible experiences. I hope that you can forgive me for the troubles and problems that I have caused in this last year. I love you guys!
   To our SMCC family in St. George, I am also sorry. We left you without explanation or cause, and though our desire was to remain quite to avoid conflict, we ended up hurting some of you even more by our distance. I hope you can forgive us. We love you and care about you and welcome you to reach out to us anytime. For both our Narrows family and our Springs family, we will be moving out of St. George in the last two weeks of the month, so if you would like to pop by for a visit before then, give us a call or message us.

Back to the valley

   While the SMCC stuff was going on, which actually was the smaller portion of my spiritual low, I was both working for Therapy companies in St. George and interviewing with churches in the Salt Lake area. The therapy jobs were a ton of fun but they either didn't have enough hours or didn't pay enough money. On account of this, for three months, I had to work two full time jobs, clocking typically 80 hours a week. Work was fun, but family life was rough. My relationship with Melissa and the kids suffered, simply on account of absence. By mid June, I decided this wasn't working and switched to working at Alliance Fire & Safety (in St. George) as the General Manager, which is what I have been doing to date. (sweet job by the way)
    As for the churches I was checking out, that was a wild ride. It started with where it has ended, with Capital Church and God did some cool things with that, that I will eventually share in another blog. For now, I will touch on two other churches and my experience with them.
   First, there was the Rising in Draper. I met with Pastor Jason and his team and everything seemed to be going really well and they even offered me a job in January but for whatever reason, it didn't feel right. I thought that it was because it was going to interfere with my schooling and I wouldn't be able to do both the job and school well, giving them each the attention they deserved. I turned it down. What I am realizing now is that the reason was that there was a poison in my soul that I had to deal with. I needed to go through my next experience before I was even remotely close to being ready for ministry.
   Second, I interviewed with Mountain Life up in Park City. This one was close. It seemed like it was going to happen. I liked them and they liked me. It even got to the point where we were making moves to head up there and they were ready for us as a solid verbal offer was on the table. I quit my jobs, I dropped out of school, and we were looking at houses. For whatever reason, 9 days before we were supposed to head up, the door closed abruptly and the job was lost. It was bizarre. The pastoral staff wanted me but for some reason through perhaps politics, or even God's hand, I was no longer able to work for them. (it was during my interviews with Mountain Life that the mess with SMCC the springs both started and ended)
    This experience sent me into a dark spiritual place.  For the first time in years, I was questioning my faith. Why would God do this to me and my family? First we lose our son, and struggled, and second, we are given this church to be a part of, and get our hopes up, and then it is ripped away from us. It made no sense. Come on God! 
   I could talk in great detail what my experience in darkness was like and the feelings that went along with it; however, for the sake of time, I will leave that for another day. I was able to come to the end of myself to see how far away I had walked from the Lord. 
   For whatever reason, I decided to read the Bible again. It is amazing how simple this was and yet how impacting it became quite rapidly. It was through my reading of the Book of John that God began healing my heart. 
   It was also at this time, God lead me back to Capital and we started interviewing there. Through my experiences with Troy, and how God has lead us to Capital, that God has helped me see how broken I was. I did not realize the bitterness I had and that I even needed to deal with it. 
   I believe that I was not ready for the Rising, I believe I was not ready for Mountain Life. I needed to see how far away I had pushed God out of my heart. It was when I found out how far I had gone, that I realized I needed him and was able to start pursuing him again. 
    It all started with simply reading a chapter of the Bible a day and He began working on my heart. Since then, doors have been opening left and right and he has been leading us so clearly. 

   We are ready and excited to jump back into youth ministry and follow where God is leading and are looking forward to this new adventure. We will always be grateful for the impact you have had on our lives. God Bless! See you soon!
    
   I apologize for the length of this and perhaps how scattered it is. There is a lot to say in a short blog. If you ever want to talk about our experience, hit me up.

   

7 comments:

  1. Thank you, Phil, for this update and explanation. We are thrilled that you are on your way to total healing and restoration. What you and Mellissa have been through no parent should ever experience, but God is now bringing you through to the other side, and you are allowing him to do that. Now...Capitol Church in the City...we LOVE that church and have had occasion to attend there as some very dear friends...Paul and Karen Ross are members and their son is on staff there...or at least he was. Great people! So we feel like the prayers that we've been sending up are turning into praise, and we couldn't be happier for the 4 of you. May His peace always be with you, and we look forward to hearing more. Hugs and love to all...Beverly and Bob

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  2. Phil,

    I admire your courage and honesty. It is difficult to be truly honest with others and immensely more difficult to be honest with yourself. You are a great person. I am very blessed to have you as a friend. Nick

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  3. Good to hear you're both back in the saddle and moving back north my friend. Hope to see more of you, and we wish you the best at your new church!

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  4. My heart goes out to you Phil. What an incredibly difficult journey. That old Devil is really very good at finding a way to drive a wedge between us and Jesus. I am so glad the Holy Spirit has begun the healing process. We will continue to pray for you and your family. May you be a continue to be a blessing to others as you have already been to so many.

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  5. Thank you for your honest insights Bro, that's a good confirmation, stay in touch as the Lord reveals the bigger things to pray into. Be blessed Soldier,... Erric

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  6. Phil,

    As I read your blog tears rolled down my face. Tears of sorrow for what you and your sweet family has gone through. Tears of gratitude for you. You were instrumental in my walk with the Lord. You helped me see that my personal relationship with the Lord was the most important, you helped me see that my daily time with the Lord would help me learn the truth and grow as a christian. Seeing your love for the Lord and teaching me the meaning of baptism "to take my relationship with him to the next level" Is the reason I wanted to be Baptized. You helped me see that! Your example helped Kary in accepting the Lord as his savior. I will be forever grateful to you! Tears of Joy that you are continuing your walk with the Lord. You have an amazing gift and your new church is very blessed to have you as their youth pastor. I have to admit I'm a bit jealous that my boys will miss the opportunity to have you as their youth pastor and Madison as her college group leader!

    I love your family and am so excited for you and Melissa and your sweet children on this next chapter of your life. I have never met two more loving, humble, God loving people in my life!

    Thank you and congratulations on your new position and good luck on your new adventure.

    Love Cheri

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