September 22, 2019
Well, it’s that time. Time to start the goodbye week with my last Hixon Blog for FBCWS. I’m sure I will repeat some of this on Wednesday night and on Sunday morning, our last here. But for those who do choose to read this, I thank you and I will try to give you a few things here today that you might not hear later.
Where to begin? What to include here today? There is too much to sum up from the last 15 years. I do fondly remember our first days here. I even found a VHS from our first Sunday dated 1-30-05. I was 47 when I came here and now well you can do the math. A big chunk of my adult life has been spent here. We leave with a lot of good memories but like all of life there were some rough spots as well. I have never personally lived anywhere as long as we have lived here. When I was a kid we moved a lot and during our ministry days we have moved frequently as well. We spent almost 10 years at another church and that was the longest I had lived anywhere until now. When we came I really thought we would be here about 4-5 years and then God would move us on. I know, I know, some of you were thinking (and hoping – ha) the same thing. I remember someone saying that God never calls you awayfrom something but He always calls you to something. I don’t know if that is true but I have always held onto that. There have been times over the years where I felt “OK, maybe it’s time to move on,” but each time God did not allow it. I am not really sure why. But God left us here for a reason, which even now may not be clear, but we have always tried to listen to His voice. I have certainly made my share of mistakes over the last 15 years but I have always tried to be faithful to His call and to do my best to maintain my integrity and to represent Christ well. Being a pastor is never easy. Don’t let those who make it look easy fool you. I’m not looking for sympathy here but I am already praying for the next man God is preparing to lead this church. I have always told people I was a much better Youth Pastor than I ever was a Senior Pastor (and it’s still true). I can still remember thinking as a Youth Pastor how good it would be to call the shots but then I became a Senior Pastor and realized no one really wanted me to call the shots. Ha. So please forgive me for not being as good of a pastor as I would have wanted to be. It was difficult and frustrating for me as well. You always look back and think of things you could have done differently but in the moment you do the best you can, given the choices in front of you and all the variables that no one else sees. Just know we love you and we are praying for God’s blessing upon this church. I do believe God has someone who He wants to use to lead this church. But this church will have to be willing to follow a leader. That means being willing to trust them to lead and to be willing to many times give up what you want so that God’s church can move and change and grow. Change is painful so don’t be tempted by ease and comfort. Know that if it’s too easy or too free of pain it’s probably not God directing you.
People have asked, so what are you doing now? When do you leave for Jamaica? Obviously this Sunday will be our last at FBCWS and then the next Sunday we will be south of here at Chris Ortego’s church speaking on October 6th. Then that next week we will be driving to Georgia and speaking in a couple of churches there and in a Sunday School class another week. We will be checking in with Henry Baptist Church outside Atlanta. They will be our “sending” church. We will be staying with a sweet couple who we met through this process and are on the mission board for Noah’s Ark Children’s Home. We will also spend a few days visiting Olivia and her husband Darrell in Kentucky. We are hoping to stop in on some friends and churches in North Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsylvania as well. We will be back in Fort Worth about the middle of November. We have one church in December and 2 more in February where we are currently planning to speak. If you know of another church that would let us come speak be sure to let us know. We are looking to fill our calendar up with speaking engagements during the next 5 months. In January I am sure we will be spending some time in Tucson as our daughter, Gabby, is expecting her first child. We are also in the process of selling our home. We have a contract on it so please pray that the appraisal will go well. We have been working relentlessly on selling things and moving things and throwing things away and giving things to our kids and cleaning and painting and caulking and well it seems to be a never ending process. If that all goes well I have been telling people I will be unemployed and homeless within a month. And by the world’s standards that sounds illogical and maybe even like a failure but we believe there is no better place to be than right in the center of God’s will, even if it means living out of a suitcase and relying on the faithful giving of others.
In the middle of all of this we have been doing our best to “raise support” for our ministry to Jamaica. People ask, are they paying you a salary? The answer: No. We are going as missionaries to Jamaica. Many of you may not realize it but of the thousands of evangelical missionaries around the world, the vast majority have to raise their own support. Southern Baptist missionaries are the rare exception to this rule. But raising your support simply means you have to share with people about God’s call and then pray that they will respond to help support you as God leads them. It is a very humbling process. But we believe God is honored by His people giving to help send missionaries around the world. I know many of you do that already in an indirect way through the Lottie Moon Offering and various other offerings. Let me encourage you to consider giving even more to missions directly whether it is to help us or another missionary. So the answer to “when” we will go to Jamaica is directly tied to our monthly support. When that support is fully secured then we can and will move to Jamaica. Right now (and this could change) our plan is to try to be there before the end of February. So be in prayer for us and our funding. We are fully trusting God and we believe completely that He will provide the money necessary for us to go!!
If you can, I hope you will join us this Sunday for our very special last Sunday at FBCWS! Jennifer and I will both be speaking and doing some extra things together. We hope to have a new video ready for Sunday with new pictures from Jamaica. We will be doing a little reminiscing and we will share more about Jamaica. We will be handing out our Prayer Cards and brochures and more! I will also be finishing up our series on Trust & Obey. Then I am told there will be a special luncheon after the morning worship. We are looking forward to the next phase in our ministry but we will also miss FBCWS very much. It has been home for almost 15 years. People ask: Are you excited? My standard answer is, Yes, we are excited and terrified at the same time. This is truly the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It has been gut-wrenching thinking about leaving my children and grandchildren to move to a foreign country. God’s call is best but we aren’t promised easy. He has already shown Himself faithful in the midst of all this. We will share more about that in the future as we look back someday. But pray for our children and grandchildren and for us as we will miss them terribly. We do know that we will be coming back to the US several times a year so don’t be surprised if you see us again!!
If you want to stay in touch be sure to check out www.reachjamaica.com. We will be updating that soon and we hope to keep it fresh with new videos and more coming!!
We love you! We thank God for you!
I am ON MISSION Today! Are You?