I had been in conversation for a couple months with the search committee members; Donna, Bill, Rosse, Pam, Deanna, Mike, and Helen. It was time to see if God was calling us to serve Him together.
We flew from Los Angeles where we had spent the previous three years and landed in Wichita, KS. Other than the incredibly short walk from the gate to baggage claim the item that still stands out the most in my mind is the sign we saw at baggage claim, “HUNTERS PLEASE RETRIEVE YOUR GUNS”, I believe there was an arrow pointing in the correct direction. The irony was that we couldn’t say, “We’re not in Kansas anymore,” because that is exactly where we were! We got our bags and our rental car and headed for Marion, KS. I remember it was “rush hour”, I think we slowed down to 50 on the interstate!
We stopped one time to change a diaper and then came into Marion from the North. We had been given directions to avoid construction on Highway 50, a gift for which I will always be grateful!
We drove past the football stadium where Marion was preparing to play that night and turned right on Denver street arriving at Bill and Debbi’s house. They were so welcoming and hospitable! We loved getting to know them.
Bill led us out to the bed and breakfast at the lake. We got set up there and then met the search committee for dinner at Helen and Dwight’s house. It was a great time to meet one another in person and become better acquainted. The meal was delicious! After the meal we visited a while and made plans for the next day.
We met at the church and were given a tour of the building. It was beautiful! And we could tell that each search committee member was proud of this place where God had been worshipped since 1871!
Following the tour we went to Art In the Park, an annual craft fair in Marion the third Saturday in September. If you are ever in the area it is worth coming to experience. Dani carried Sadie in a sling and different committee members guided us around. They introduced us to bierocks, delicious! By the way others interacted with committee members it was evident that this was a wonderful community!
That night we had a wonderful dinner at the Grand Central Hotel in Cottonwood Falls. The food and fellowship was great!
Sunday morning we all went to Halstead Presbyterian Church so that the search committee could hear me preach at a neutral pulpit. The service went well and I was terribly nervous! The committee members were complimentary after the service and we headed for lunch in Wichita.
During the lunch we all felt like this was a great fit. Mike told me if we decided to come he wanted me to commit to being here 5 years. I told him I wouldn’t be able to do that, but I could commit to being in Marion for as long as God called me there.
Here we are 11 years later and God’s call remains strong. We love this congregation and this community and we are so glad for that first weekend in Marion 11 years ago!