Seven years ago this week my wife, Amy, and I were vacationing in New Orleans. Over the years we have become good friends with the owners of the bed and breakfast where we stay and were looking forward to spending time with them during this visit. Unfortunately, while we were checking in, I was informed that our friend, Randall, was out of town taking care of his mother who was ill and wasn’t expected to live much longer. That evening Randall called and tearfully asked, “How can I be sure that my mother is going to heaven?” I told him to get out a Bible and open it to John 3:16, read the passage to her and ask her if she believed that Jesus died for her sins. He couldn’t believe it could be that simple, but I assured him that an affirmative answer was really all the assurance he would need.
The next morning I received a text message informing me that he had shared the scripture with her and she had confirmed her belief in salvation through Christ Jesus. He also sent a picture of a Detour sign with an upward pointing arrow attached to a second sign that read Hazel Street. As he was driving to funeral home and was praying for a sign that she was indeed with Jesus in heaven he got caught up in this detour. Yes, his mother’s name was Hazel!
Right now the COVID-19 pandemic has created a Detour for us all. We have been directed off of the path we intended to take and don’t know where this new path is leading us. We do know, that God knows exactly where we are in the midst of these uncertain times. Rather than just throwing up our hands in defeat, we are all discovering new and creative ways of doing ministry these days and God is leading us down the new path.
Likewise, the NACFM is having to adapt to the current reality and look to alternative means to continue to serve our members and stay the course of our mission. To that end, I am pleased to announce that our Spring Certification Program will still be taking place May 4-8, but rather than physically meeting in Charlotte, the CP will be conducted via Zoom tele-conferencing. The cost to attend this spring CP has also be reduced to $175, so if you’ve got some Stimulus Check money burning a hole in your pocket, you might want to consider investing it in this opportunity to get a week of CP taken care of without the added expenses of travel and hotel. Registration is still open on NACFM.com at the discounted rate.
Many of you have also been enquiring about the status of the National Conference and, not surprisingly, we are facing a detour there as well. The Board of Directors and Conference Planning Committee are meeting this week to discuss a variety of options that are available to us at this point. Of course there is also much we don’t know and the situation seems to change daily, so we would appreciate your prayers as we seek to make wise decisions head off the beaten path.
I know God is with us on this road, and I am anxious to see where it leads us!
May the Lord bless our individual detours,
Patrick Hart, CCFM