First and foremost, I want to thank Family Christian Bookstores for the chance to enter this contest for our beloved Pastor, Pastor Dan. What an amazing chance to share with all of you why we love him so much. With that said…..
As a military family, we have moved from one side of the country to the other (literally). I can not tell you how painstaking these transitions have been on our family. For example, in 2009, we moved from Columbus, OH to El Paso, TX. In 2010, we moved from El Paso to Baltimore, MD. In 2012, we moved from Baltimore to Olympia, WA. Finally, in 2014, we moved from Olympia to Huntington, WV. We have lived the Johnny Cash song, “I’ve been everywhere.” LOL! However, no matter how painstaking these moves have been, we have also been blessed with opportunities to see areas of the country that probably would not have been possible otherwise. We were also blessed with new, long-lasting friendships along the way.
(Duck Dynasty night at church…so much fun!)
The first thing we when arriving to a new area is find a church to call home. We are a very community minded family and are ready to hit the ground running to plug in where there is a need. When we arrived in Washington, I assumed that finding a church wouldn’t be a big deal. We had numerous churches to choose from everywhere else we had been. How hard could it be, right? Wrong. The state of Washington is one of the most liberal states in the U.S. Finding a church home was not easy. Churches that fit our needs and our beliefs are much more spread out in this state. We checked out one church that required us to distance ourselves from some of the activities the kids were involved in (AWANA, Boy Scouts (pre-policy change) and a host of others). However, we knew that God had a place just for us. We just had to find it.
(Praying with and for TurtleBoy. This was the day he went forward to ask to be Baptized.)
I signed the kids up for a homeschool connect called ORLA (Olympia Regional Learning Academy). The lunch lady who happened to work right across from the copy machine I spent a lot of time at (long story) played Christian music everyday. Personally, I loved it! I was also surprised because this homeschool connect was made possible through the public school system. One day, I introduced myself and our conversation weaved its way to my frustrations with not finding a church to call home yet. Come to find out, her Dad is a Preacher.
(Pastor Dan’s daughter Carmen—she brought us to the church and became a dear friend)
Unfortunately, I had to head back east for a few weeks. I gave Clay the information and the address and laid it squarely on his shoulders. He fell in love at first sight. LOL! He connected right away with Pastor Dan and church. He attended on his own until I got back. Needless to say, I fell in love with the church right away, too. We became members the following week.
Who is this Pastor that God called to lead His flock and who my husband connected with right away? (Disclaimer: my husband is picky when it comes to church membership. He analyzes the church beliefs, vision, purpose, faculty and the list goes on).
(In his first office as Pastor)
Pastor Dan is an amazing man who spent 24 years serving our country in the US Navy. He fully understands what it is like to be a military family and how a church can serve those families the best way that they can.
(At our church in WA)
Pastor Dan attended seminary at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. He took his first Pastoral job at Valley Baptist Church in Sedro-Wooley, Washington and began preaching at McKenzie Road Baptist Church in 2002.
(Sedro-Wooley Baptist Church)
Pastor Dan loves his family and is ever so selfless where they are concerned. Currently, his daughter and granddaughter (Alyssa), who has special needs, lives with him and his wife. He helps to care for Alyssa while taking care of his Pastoral duties.
(Pastor Dan with his wife Laurie, daughter Carmen, and Alyssa)
(Say cheese Alyssa!)
I can not tell you how much I learned from Pastor Dan. Not since I was a little girl have I seen a Pastor personally show such a sincere concern for every member of his congregation. He could tell you who was ill, who had birthdays and anniversaries, who had needs, and the list goes on. Simply put, I was amazed. He ensured everyone was getting their needs met.
(Pastor Dan, his wife Laurie, and our dear friend Maggie. Maggie’s parents came from Romania and stayed with folks from the church. Pastor Dan helped make sure they were taken care of. Maggie’s parents moved and even though they were gone she was still looked after by the folks in our church like Pastor Dan and Laurie who loves her like a daughter too.)
The Bible tells the church to take care of its flock – both the widows and the sick. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Pastor Dan shows this in every way.
He attends school events and graduations. He is present for military homecomings and retirements. If someone is sick, he is there to pray with them, visit them in the hospital and care for them. One day, in fact, Clay was terribly ill with a bug that was making its way through the Pacific Northwest. It was so bad that he took himself to the emergency room. Keep in mind that Clay is one who rarely visits the hospital. Pastor Dan was right there to offer assistance. He checked up on us to offer soup or meals. He prayed with us. He insisted that if we needed anything to personally let him know.
(Valentine’s Dinner….Pastor Dan and Carmen entertaining the mass LOL!)
If we missed church we got Facebook messages or phone calls.
Shortly after becoming members, Pastor Dan took Clay under his wing. He got Clay involved in the Discipleship class and it was there that Clay finally submitted to the call to attend Seminary. Pastor Dan personally discipled Clay and also counseled me as Clay was getting started in his studies.
Pastor Dan saw so much potential in Clay. No other Pastor had ever taken an interest or believed in him like Pastor Dan had. Prior to our departure from our home church (thanks Army!), Pastor Dan presented Clay with his license to preach!
We loved our time at MRBC (McKenzie Road Baptist Church). I don’t think I have saw a Pastor that works harder. Pastor Dan is involved with every single ministry at the church. He is at church all the time and gives so much of himself. Pastor Dan is serious about going unto all the world and spreading the word. If you can’t find him in his office or behind the pulpit, you can find him in the community, visiting shut ins, taking part in community events and supporting members of the church.
(The day Clay got his license to preach)
Leaving our MRBC family and Pastor Dan was one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do. As much as I love Tennessee, I left a piece of my heart in Washington.
(Our middle child was Baptized by Pastor Dan)
Pastor Dan deserves this trip for a number of reasons:
1. He loves Duck Dynasty so much we had a Duck Dynasty night at church. 🙂
2. He is such a hard worker both within the church and with his family. It would be wonderful to bless this Godly man and his wife with a cruise.
3. The stress of assisting with the care of his wheel-chair bound granddaughter, feeding her, bathing her, taking care of basic needs while pastoring to the needs of the church, community events, missions, discipleship classes, home visits and a plethora of other stressors are enough to make a strong man take a knee. However, Pastor Dan keeps on keeping on. Rain or shine (and it rains a lot in Washington), he is there.
4. If I had to pick one scripture to describe Pastor Dan, it would probably have to be Acts 20:24. “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
(Pastor Dan and Laurie)
I am so thankful for this chance from Family Christian Bookstores and Duck Dynasty Cruise to try and send him on the cruise. You can find out more about the cruise HERE. ALSO, some more exciting news!!!! YOU can now enter to win a cruise! Go HERE for more details on that.
*** This post is for entry for a chance to win a cruise. This is for a contest hosted by Family Christian bookstores for their bloggers. ***
UPDATE!!! We are so grateful, we did win the cruise along with Pastor Dan and Laurie. Thank you all so much!