On Tuesday of this week, I finished another major milestone in my progress; I graduated with my certification of one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. The class consisted of 17 weeks of instruction (8 classroom hours every Monday), 24 hours a month of on-call chaplaincy at Methodist Medical center (8pm-8am one day during the week, and 8am to 8pm on one weekend) each month, January - May, and then 300 total hours of clinical work (fulfilled by my work at St. Croix Hospice). For those of you keeping score, that's 140 hours of classroom work (we met 4 times for a 1 hour individual instruction), 120 hours of on-call work at Methodist Medical center (and, by the way, when we were on call we had to be on location, meaning we had to be at Methodist for the entire 12 hour shift), and 300 hours of supervised clinical visitation. I have already been endorsed by the Converge World Wide for chaplaincy; this is one more requirement down. May is stroke awareness month; I am now 7 1/2 years post stroke, I love what I do through Hospice and I am so thankful to God for what He has allowed me to do, and for all the people who have been praying for me through this process. For those of you that might be reading this blog who have recently had strokes, or know someone who has recently had a stroke, please, never give up. Your stroke may have taken many things from you, but don't let it take your determination! Drs told my wife I would never walk, talk or feed myself again, and here I am working as a chaplain for St. Croix Hospice; Drs know a lot, but they don't know everything! God is in control, let Him take over.
A few years ago I was presented with the opportunity to come back to Stratford, Iowa, to First Baptist church, as their pastor; for those of you who have followed this blog for some time, FBC in Stratford was my first pastorate. Let's just say I prayed about it as I was jumping at the opportunity. The church has a parsonage, so I could live there and not have to worry about a houe payment; and I needed to slow down, and this was a part time position (which, as a side note, allowed for me to get a greater disability from the VA than when I was working full time with St. Croix Hospice...) We love Stratford, and absolutely love the church; the people are wonderful and accepted us, again, with open arms. This was, for me, the perfect position: I get to pastor a church I LOVE, I get to do life with people I LOVE, and I have already had the opportunity to do weddings and baptism services for kids (adults now) that I have known their entire lives. IT IS GREAT. The longer I have been here,