30 Years - Time to Change Gears
I was saved and called to ministry 32 years ago. Just four years later I began doing ministry in prisons and on the streets. After three years serving as a volunteer pastor (began 60-80 hour work weeks) I was invited to serve as full time youth/associate pastor at my 'home church', the only church my family has been part of. Now I could passionately pursue ministry. I was more excited than ever. I was ordained 11 years after accepting Christ. Excited and dying all at the same time.
In my 2nd year at my home church I answered a call made by an evangelist and missionary. The call was for 'just one person God is calling to missions'right now. I went forward and prayed for an hour or two. I didn't know where, but missions for sure. 20 years ago I was sent to serve overseas as a 'career' missionary. Serve till 65 or death.
Now I had great adventure, visiting 27 countries, preaching in almost every one. Starting new ministries, helping the young, hurting and broken.I flew 2 or 3 trips per month now, 70,000 per year. Exotic and important.
Then chronic headaches, migraines lasting six months started. I was diagnosed with 'microbleeding', micro-strokes that left me messed up bad for weeks. Brain surgery recommended and performed when I was 48. Sent home and back to work, leak fixed, after just six weeks. But one year later I was not getting better. Now, only able to work 20 hours per week, though needed.
Then we found out (one year late) I had a stroke a few hours after surgery. It causes Central Pain Syndrome, a horrible brain-centered excruciating constant pain. I wanted my painful life to end. What kind of godly pastor takes morphine 4 times per day, 2.5 times the recommended dose, still battling terrible pain? Now I have no choice it seems, but to ask the Fed Gov to help.
Next year will be my tenth anniversary as Sr. Pastor of my home church. I hope to retire to a disability that day. Then proceed to go back to missionary work, helping to reach the unreached. How to transition with as much strength to my church is my goal. Also not scaring my wife to death. She has worked by my side all these years, and may have to get a 'regular' job.
My dream is itinerant ministry to raise funds to help plant churches in places where there are none. Take an RV from one end of the land to another. Camp in parks between seminars. Can we get support to live on? We'll see. I simply don't know what else to do. I can't move without horrible pain. No cure, except a miracle. Waiting. Still, waiting