Wow. Really? For me?
Those were the words that were flowing through my mind as I was driving home with Rahel.
I cannot believe you guys went through all that trouble for us. It was a real trip to see the In ‘N Out truck on the church parking lot.
I couldn’t believe all of the things you guys said to us/about us. I told Rahel that you guys must’ve been mistaken or didn’t get to know me that well for the past year and a half. I honestly don’t believe I was worthy of the things you were saying about me. But thank you.
After everything was said and done, I went back to church, mainly to get my bible I left behind, but also to just take a moment of silence and be alone.
I sat in the sanctuary staring at the greenish bluish chairs, and reflected on the past (almost) 100 Sundays I’ve spent there.
It has been quite a journey and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to be on the journey with.
In my past two churches, when I’ve left, I’ve left the with notion that I gave all that I could’ve given. In my last setting, people might still think that I was prone to injury. In my 2 years at my last church, I visited the ER 3-4 times. I was constantly getting injured, constantly getting sick. (For crying out loud, I had a bout with gout while in Hawaii. Gout! I was like 27, and I had gout!) When I said good-bye to the people there, I knew that I literally gave all that I could for God and that church. I was pushed to the limit physically and emotionally.
Leaving here, I do still feel that I gave all that I possibly could. But sitting in that bluish sanctuary, I realized that I am taking much, much, much more than I have given. (And in my 2 years here, I only went to the ER once, and that was to go see a parishioner). I left both DC and Hawaii running on empty and feeling spent, but I’m leaving here feeling surprisingly full and energetic.
I’ve learned so much from you. I was surprised to hear that you learned a lot from me too. But I think I walk away with a lot more than I leave behind.
One of THE MOST important lessons I have learned for you is that I can take things slowly. I’ve always had the pressure to feel that I have to give a 100% 100% of the time. A mentor once told me that he told his congregation: “You can have a 100% of me 80% of the time, or you can’t have 80% of me 100% of the time.” When he said those words, I didn’t quite grasp what he meant. But now I do.
Thank you for allowing me to give you my 100% and at the same time, not blaze through on a 100% level all the time.
Thank you for allowing me to make mistakes and letting me breathe as I try to figure out who I am as a disciple of Christ.
Thank you for your love and grace and really, the room to be as casual as I could be (I’ve never got to experience wearing jeans with holes in church before. I absolutely love it!)
But above all, thank you for letting me be me. I know I’m weird and off-beat. It’s probably why I got along with Mark so well. And I know that I’m somewhat of an acquired taste. But you didn’t hold that against me.
I just want to take a short time in thanking the people who I spent the most time with, next to my wife.
I wasn’t joking when I said that without you, the church wouldn’t be operating as smoothly as it is. And I think everyone else knows that too. Often times, I’m sure you can do what I do, but I know for a fact, I can’t do what you do for this church. I have to admit, at times, I felt a bit guilty while you were folding envelopes and I went to Starbucks to work on stuff, when I fully knew I could’ve stayed behind and help. Sorry that I never did, but thank you for not holding it against me. (And thank you for keeping Bob occupied, otherwise, he’d be talking to me a whole lot more. I’m soooooooo kidding!!! I loved it when people stopped by the office and I was there to talk to them).
You just made being in the office fun and it was always fun when your girls would roll in with their sleeping bags during their breaks. (It gave me more reasons to procrastinate and be distracted). Thank you for your dedication and keeping Mark and I in check. Oh, and preparing our checks so that they could be signed by the right people.
To Pastor Mark:
You were the exact type of mentor I needed at this time of my ministry. I walk away knowing that if you can do ministry, I can do!! I kid, because I love. Thank you for your advice, insights and criticism. Thank you for the freedom to do ministry. It was refreshing to not fight the fact that ministry can happen outside of the office. Thank you for allowing me to log in thousands of hours at the various starbucks in Fountain Valley and Costa Mesa. And thank you for trusting me to get the work done, even if you weren’t around to check up on me.
The one thing I will remember for the rest of my life was when someone complained to you about me (and sorry about that. I’m sure it happened a lot more than I want to believe), you said to the person, “I’m not his boss. I can’t really control him, nor do I want to.” That was a mind-blowing moment for me. I would’ve never heard those words in my previous settings. That gave me the confidence to try anything God had placed in my heart, because I knew you had my back. And because of that knowledge, that made me want to work even harder.
Thank you for being the type of mentor I so needed. I have learned a great deal from you.
So, Mesa Verde Church family, you can always keep tabs on me. I’m proud of the fact that when you google my name, that I’m the first to pop up. (At least at this moment.) I always updated my personal blog, and will continue to do so at www.pressingtoward.wordpress.com. I’m on facebook way more than I should be (www.facebook.com/pastorjoe) and also on twitter a lot more than I should be (in fact, my twitter updates my facebook status for me; twitter.com/josephyoo). I will no longer be using the email@example.com email account. Please feel free to contact me at any of the above mentioned social media or my email: joseph[.]yoo[@]gmail[.]com. (Just remove the brackets. I don’t know why I’m so paranoid, but I feel writing my email address like that prevents spam. I have no idea if there’s any truth in that.)
I left the sanctuary feeling uplifted and ready to accept the next chapter of my life God has laid out for me. I am ever grateful to our God for the almost 2 years we’ve spent together. I am grateful that God had placed me such loving people.
Please keep us in your prayers, and while you’re praying for us, you might as well pray that we have a kid soon. Or, don’t be surprised if somehow the wife or I end up on the news for trying to steal a baby. I’m sad to say that I think I’m half kidding…
And we’ll continue to pray for you.
As Rahel said, words could not express the debt of love that is owed by these thankful hearts to God and to our Mesa Verde family.
We’ll miss you all terribly.
God be with us all in our respective journeys.
In the words of one of my childhood heroes:
Up, up and away!