Life is often wonderful and terrible all at once. Often-times the wonderful and terrible are so intertwined that they join to create a “new chapter” of life. This is very much the process by which I became a travel advisor. During about 3 decades of working with teenagers as a teacher and Youth Pastor I traveled with them all over the earth. First, as a music teacher putting together choir and ensemble tours, then as a Youth Pastor creating camps, taking people to conferences and leading short-term mission trips all over the world. Those experiences and interactions with diverse people from many nations had a deep impact on my wife, Ellen and me.

The time came, as it always does with Youth Pastors, to turn over the reins to a younger leader. During that season of wondering what was next, I was encouraged to consider replacing our church’s retiring Missions Pastor. Apparently, the leadership saw me as a good fit for this because I had grown to value global missions so highly. The next 8 years were spent helping people to help people here near and far. Part of my job was to use my experience taking young people all over the globe and morph that into taking adults. I loved the process of listening to the needs of our workers in the nations, growing and equipping a team to go and support the work they were doing.

After our three children were grown, Ellen and I also began to “spread our wings” in our personal travel. Our love for people and adventure grew out of our experiences in ministry and we began taking immersive vacations to places like France, England and Italy. We also started taking cruises to slow down and break away from our very people centered lives for a time to reconnect and re-energize.

We all know that Covid led to many changes. The church I was on staff with began to have financial challenges that led me to the decision to serve the church non vocationally. I stepped down as Pastor, but still desired to find a job that would allow me to create my own schedule and continue to serve our community and the nations. That search didn’t take long as I found a very young organization called FORA who was leading the travel industry into a whole new world allowing travel insiders to create their own brand and business while taking advantage of their ample training, resources, and support. I joined their team and have begun my journey helping build itineraries, plan cruises, host tours and continue to provide support for churches and missions developing short-term teams.

That’s why I opened this article the way I did. The terrible of walking away from a beloved career led to the wonderful of an exciting new way of serving others. At the time of this writing, I am still fulltime at Faith Bible Church and growing my brand as a Travel Advisor with FORA Travel. See…wonderful and terrible all intertwined leading to create a “new chapter”.