Greetings from New Jersey!
After driving for 12 hours on the first day, and 3 hours on the next, we made it here. The girls were excellent on the trip, and very excited to be here!
I am spending the summer interning at Pompton Plains Reformed Bible Church.
We are staying in the Ministry House, which is the old manse behind the church. We are well catered for here, and the congregation has made us feel very welcome. There were a number of meals waiting for us, and the house was all ready for us when we arrived.
Initially I was scheduled to preach on the Sunday evening after our arriving (We arrived on Wednesday evening). But Pastor Kuiken was unwell, and so I took the two morning services. My partner-in-crime from Seminary Aaron graciously agreed to do the evening services. They were due to spend the weekend with us, as they were waiting for their apartment in Jersey City to become available.
Aaron is doing an internship with Pastors Murphy and Perez from Messiah's Reformed Fellowship in New York City. I had joked with him previously about doing a pulpit swap, little did I realize that I would be calling him and asking him for real!
All of the Sermons that I will preach here will be on Sermon Audio. You can find all the Sermons preached at Pompton Plain at this link from Sermon Audio. (For my sermons you can simply search at the same site for my name as speaker).
It has been a busy introduction. Pastor Kuiken was away during the first week. The week was spent visiting, and preparing for Sunday. We had two members of the Church pass away, as well as another member who had a serious fall that required Spinal Surgery, so it was a very busy week. A good introduction into Pastoral Ministry.
Due to the large number of members they have two morning services. These are exactly the same, just to two different groups of people. It is a little funny to be preaching the same message twice, but I remind myself that the second group has not heard the message yet.
I am enjoying the challenge of preaching. The nerves are still there, but they are decreasing down to a healthy nervousness. The congregation here are incredibly encouraging. I've been told that I need to slow down a little bit more, and so I am working on that.
I found very quickly in class that when I read a full manuscript it kills my facial and body expressions. I also look like a chicken! (Imagine a chicken picking feed off the ground, and you get the picture!). So I am preaching with an outline of two pages. This seems to be going much better, and as I get more comfortable in the pulpit I am sure that this will continue to improve. There is so much to learn, and it is exciting to think that I still have another two years of Seminary to learn more.
We are also enjoying the local YMCA. They provide free memberships for Pastors and their families, and as a Pastoral Intern we qualify for this as well. So we are enjoying swimming, and exercise classes. The two younger girls will also be able to have swimming lessons as well.
So we are blessed. We are humbled with the Lord's continual provision for our lives. We are enjoying the privilege of being involved in a congregation's lives. We are weeping with those who are weeping and rejoicing with those who are rejoicing. It's going to be hard to leave here!
Have a blessed week,