I thank God for caller I.D. Beginning in mid-February, every time the phone rang, I would get somewhat anxious… this could be the call that tells me where the next step in our journey would be. So, every time the phone rang, I would immediately look to see who it was, knowing that possibly there would be a 405, 580, or 918 (Oklahoma area codes) phone number that I would not recognize. Finally (and it would feel like a finally whether I had been waiting 5 days or 5 weeks), the phone rang, and I didn’t recognize the number, but it began 918. I looked at Heather told her this could be the call took a deep breath and answered it. “Aaron, this is Linda Harker.”
Now, I knew that meant two things. One, this was the call. And two, we were going to the Muskogee District. I soon found out where we were going… Trinity UMC in Muldrow/Roland to be the Senior Pastor. Now, I have driven through the Muldrow and Roland communities (they are on I-40 just on the Eastern edge of Oklahoma immediately before you get to Fort Smith), but that’s about it.
As Linda was describing the church and the communities, I began to get that nervous excitement. We talked for about 15 minutes, and she asked for us to pray about it, and then to get back to her in about 4 hours. I was able to talk her down to overnight because 3 of the 4 hours that she had wanted me to pray about were to be spent in class. I had taken good notes about what Linda had told me about the church, and thus were able to tell Heather all that we had talked about. On the way to class, I called my dad and said tell me what you know. During class, I googled Trinity UMC in Muldrow and Roland. Looked up the school districts, local newspaper, etc, etc, and I even paid a little bit of attention to my professor. That night when I got home, Heather and I agreed that this is where we were to go, and I called Linda back and unofficially we had an appointment. A week later, it became official as Linda met with the SPRC of Trinity, and then they announced it this morning at church that the Tigers were coming to Trinity. (They didn’t want to do it last week, something about a risen Savior.)
With any appointment there are some areas of anxiety, but Google Maps, Linda, the SPRC chair Bob, and Jodie the church secretary have helped us already with the transition. A few things about Trinity. About 12 years ago, Muldrow FUMC closed their church and opened up a new one between the communities of Muldrow and Roland, which are about 4 miles apart. Through their hard work and VIM, they built a beautiful new church to serve both communities. I am excited about going to a church that has made such a bold and missional decision like this one. They average about 70 in worship on Sunday morning, but 25% of the 11,000 people in a 5-mile radius are unchurched, meaning that there is plenty of room to grow. Angel Food ministries is a significant outreach of Trinity, and one of the ways they are active in their communities. Our parsonage is a nice brick house with a big backyard for Beau to enjoy and in just a short time Micah as well! We are about 15 minutes from Fort Smith, about 1 hour and 20 minutes from Heather’s mom’s house, and 1 hour 40 minutes from my parent’s house. It will be so nice to be so close to family! (I am also the closest Methodist minister to Big Country Bryant Reeves as Gans is just a few miles from Roland)
I think I would have been excited for any appointment (I can safely say that now that I have a great one), but I am particularly excited for this one. While I still feel a call to plant a church, I feel that is a great opportunity to be in ministry in a unique way with a great church that seems ready to take a giant step forward on God’s kingdom road. I look forward to listening to the people and leading us along God’s path for us. There are some unique challenges with this church, but we know that no challenge is to great for our God. Living in Muldrow will be a change from the communities that we have lived, we are looking forward to being with fellow children of God.
So, in just over 6 weeks, we will be driving away from 424 Miles Rd. and soon beginning our new life and ministry in Muldrow and Roland. This blog and Heather’s blog will be updated more frequently over the next few weeks as our way of communicating to the good folks of Trinity UMC and Muldrow and Roland and helping to tell our part of the story of God’s glory.