Scottish minister Alexander Whyte was known for his uplifting prayers in the pulpit. He always found something for which to be grateful. One Sunday morning the weather was so gloomy that one church member thought to himself, “Certainly the preacher won’t think of anything for which to thank the Lord on a wretched day like this.” Much to his surprise, however, Whyte began by praying, “We thank Thee, O God, that it is not always like this.” (Daily Bread, August 26, 1989)
This little story will hopefully serve as a reminder for me to be thankful while enduring the winter months in West Allis, Wisconsin. After all, Wisconsin ranks as one of the top ten coldest states in all of the seasons except summer. Brrrr!
“Wait… Are you telling me that you and your family are moving?” Yes, dear reader, we are moving. I enjoyed very much writing this weekly column and will miss doing so.
I will also miss working with the incomparable editor of the Times-Advocate, Mr. David Ross. He is a great person who is providing a great service to the community! He will continue to be in my prayers that God will bless his newspaper more and more.
Why, you might ask, would we move to West Allis, Wisconsin of all places?
We have family in the area and an offer to pastor a new church as well. Since the current church we pastor here has been winding down as of late, it has become evident that a new chapter is beginning to unfold for us.
Well, the Lord directed our path to West Allis by blessing us, through a family member, with a church building! So we’re off to our next mission field. The old adage is fitting for our situation: “The Lord works in mysterious ways.”
If you read last week’s issue you learned something about me that everyone claims is newsworthy. In a nutshell: I received a letter in the mail a year ago from someone who claimed to be my half-sister. She knew for a few years that she had a half-brother out there somewhere from her (our) Dad’s previous marriage, yet what she didn’t know was this: I never knew I was adopted! I always thought that the man who raised me was my biological father.
So, I’m developing a relationship with my real Dad via phone and email. Then he ends up blessing my family and me with an all-expense paid vacation last summer to Chicago, Illinois.
While we’re there he tells Danica and me that he’d like to buy us a church building. We’re like, “what?! Well, umm… okay. We’ll play along. Why not? It seems that the Lord is moving us on anyway.”
I had been inquiring as to where our next pastorate would be and I never would have dreamed in a million years that I would find out like this! Besides, I have never experienced this degree of love and acceptance before, well, except from my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, of course 🙂
Regarding the weather, well, with all that I have to look forward to I don’t think the cold will be too much of a scourge.
In closing: I am so grateful for the season that I was a column writer for the Times-Advocate. I’m also grateful for the resultant email correspondence that I had with members of the community which gave me a greater realization of how engaging the town really is. You have a good thing going here and the Bartelme family will miss everyone.
May God bless the city of Escondido in Jesus’ name!
— Paul and Danica Bartelme have been married for 23 years and have three children age 13 years and under. Jacob (13), Lily (11), and Luke (10). They’ve been residents of Escondido for 12 years and love Harley motorcycles and good music. They pastor Escondido’s very own Sanctuary Church.