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Thomason Family Update

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On Sunday, March 20, I made a special verbal announcement to our church body in regards to my family’s future ministry. I want to take a moment and share about that in writing.

The short of it is that come this June our family will be transitioning to a new role and new church in the state of Washington. While this decision is big, it didn’t come quickly or lightly. For the past year or so we have wrestled with whether the Lord would have us continue serving the students at Grace Church of the Valley here in Kingsburg or possibly have us return back to overseas missions. Bethany and I began praying about what the Lord would have. This was especially hard because we have sat under Pastor Scott’s teaching for nearly nineteen years, with only about two years where we didn’t because we were living out of the country. While not only being a personal friend, Pastor Scott has also been a personal mentor for me. He has guided and pushed and encouraged me in ministry. For that I am extremely grateful!

But as we prayed, another friend, Joe Penberthy, called and said he needed an associate pastor for a church he’s been planting in the Seattle area. He said he needed someone who could help disciple, who could lead music when needed, who could help fill the pulpit at times, and who could come alongside their growing church and help pastor the people God has been gathering. Bethany and I truly hadn’t thought a lot about church planting, but as Joe described the role and the need in Seattle we realized the Lord may be in this. Barna Research lists Seattle at number seven of the one-hundred most unchurched cities in America. They also boast being one of the most progressive cities in America. Needless to say it’s not an easy place to plant a church, and it’s not an easy place to do ministry or raise a family. However, God still has his people there and they are in need of shepherds. It reminds me of Acts 18 where God is speaking to Paul about Macedonia and encourages him by saying, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people” (vv. 9, 10, my emphasis). Paul had to trust the Lord’s sovereign hand to continue to preach and teach and share the Gospel in a hard place, and for Bethany and I, we are trusting God’s sovereignty in leading us to this domestic mission field.

The church we will be joining is called Redemption Hill Bible Church and it’s a five-year-old church plant in the city of Bellevue, just outside of Seattle. Would you pray that we would be used to not only shepherd the flock of God there, but that we would be bold in proclaiming the gospel to our neighbors and surrounding community? And while we don’t know yet where we will live, we covet your prayers for the Lord to open up housing for our family. We are greatly encouraged by God’s kindness in providing a Christian school for our kids in the area, but due to the volume of new students trying to attend, our kids are still on a waiting list. Would you pray that the Lord would open up the space needed for our children? Thank you for praying with us!

Finally, we want to express our genuine love and gratitude for Grace Church of the Valley. It has been a joy to serve the families of the high-school and junior-high students these past six years. As we complete another school year here, I’m looking forward to watching the seniors who I have seen grow up here since they were incoming seventh graders. We love this church and trust the Lord will continue to provide faithful shepherds for this church. God continues to raise up young men to preach the Word and as the church continues to be faithful to Christ, the Great Shepherd will always care for his flock.

With gratitude,
Pastor Shay

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