Poem: Triune Delight

worship pic cool

 

 

 

 

Abba Father

I delight in your affection

I’m graced with your time

Lost in comfort, and strength,

Father

 

Blessed Son

I’m stabilized in you,

Soul strong from your work

When you gave it all, and rose,

Jesus

 

Divine Spirit

I’m ignited in your presence,

Hidden deeply in the love

Learning to risk, empowered,

Spirit

 

Conrad Esh 1-20-15

 

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Poem: Palm Trees and Rest

palm trees and rest

The palm trees,

The ocean blue,

I meditate on God,

One verse, not two.

A broken shell?

A breaking wave?

Will my work survive?

Or face the early grave?

The morning rise,

The laughing gull,

Now be with me, says God,

No need to talk at all.

No need to talk.

At.

All.

Conrad Esh 1-20-15

I wrote this poem while reflecting on my 2009 sabbatical, which was during a time of ministry fatigue and near burnout from pastoral ministry.

My Upcoming Trip to Cambodia

Why are I taking a trip to Cambodia in early January?

cambodia-mapSince I’m overseeing missions in our church, I’ve been invited to join pastors Jeff Cannell and Peter Shumaker on a trip to Cambodia (January 8 – 27). Immediately I sensed a clear green light from the Holy Spirit when they asked me to join them. When I brought it up to Vicki, she responded affirmatively, “I think you should go.” I later discussed this with our pastors and elders and received their blessing. That’s when I started looking into the cost of flights and began making necessary plans.

So basically, there are two reasons why I’m going to Cambodia. First, I will participate in a conference that will train Vineyard pastors and church planters in Asia. Secondly, I will be exploring the possibility of our Vineyard church partnering with Asia’s Hope, joining in a mission partnership with other churches such as Central Vineyard, Life Vineyard, and Columbus Vineyard, among others. By God’s grace, this has the potential to release our church more and more into missions!

Why is Asia’s Hope all of the sudden on the radar?

While it might be true that some of us are just now hearing about this ministry, it’s certainly not something that just came suddenly into the picture. We’ve heard amazing reports over the years from Pastor Jeff Cannell, having our hearts stirred for this ministry. Even while I was serving as a pastor in Urbana, Vicki and I both thought we would love to lead our church to connect with Asia’s Hope and partner with Central Vineyard. Now that I’m in Marysville, I’ve heard Pastor Steve say essentially the same thing. He told me that he always thought that Vineyard Church of Marysville should partner together with Central Vineyard. I don’t believe this is a coincidence. The Lord is bringing this about in his time, and that time certainly feels like it’s now.

What is the vision and mission of Asia’s Hope?

three_happy_kidsIn a nutshell, Asia’s Hope exists to provide safe, loving families for orphaned children in at-risk areas of Asia. They are currently in Cambodia, Thailand, and India. By caring for these orphans, they are fighting poverty and human trafficking in a very tangible way. All of their 32 homes are modeled on the concept of a family unit, not an institution. As their website states, “Orphaned children don’t just need food and shelter — they need moms and dads. They need families.” Asia’s Hope has been providing loving care like this for years. You can check out the articles and videos directly on their website: http://www.asiashope.org

What might set Asia’s Hope above other opportunities for our local church?

For years, Vineyard USA has been encouraging all Vineyard churches to get involved in a mission partnership with other churches, and this is a great opportunity that God has put before us. Other Vineyard churches in our region are involved in this work and, through partnering with them, we can have a greater effect globally.

Secondly, working with at-risk children fits really well with our church’s heart for fighting against human trafficking and injustice. But it’s not just the planting of new children’s homes; Vineyard churches are also being planted alongside of the homes. These churches are seeing kingdom of God come with power and we will, in turn, hear many inspiring stories from the Vineyard movement on a global scale.

Lastly, I’m also impressed with the leadership of this organization, and how well they communicate back and forth with supporting churches. If we help support orphans in one of these homes in Cambodia or Thailand, these children will become more and more like our children. We will see their pictures, we will receive a bio with information on every child, we will visit them on mission trips, and we will get updates on their development and process. We will carry them in our heart and pray for them. These kids will become like our kids.

Does this mean Vineyard Church of Marysville will definitely be supporting Asia’s Hope and do kingdom work in Asia from this point forward?

Not necessarily. Even though it might sound like we are diving in head first, we are simply in an exploratory phase right now. We feel a need to explore this option for our congregation, being “onsite with insight.” That is why I will take the 20 hour flight to Asia in January. We want to make sure that what we’re declaring is not just hearsay. We need to see firsthand what is taking place and observe what the Lord is doing, which will help us in discerning any kind of long-term partnership. We certainly welcome your prayers. Actually, we need them as we move forward!

12 things I love about Marysville

esh 0121. I love our new home on 4th Street! It is now my favorite house we’ve lived in to date. We’ve worked hard from the beginning to make it our own, and it’s starting to feel like us!

2. I love that we live near the center of town, within walking distance of the city pool, an amazing ice cream place (Whit’s), the dog park, the library, the Vineyard church, and on and on the list goes!

3. I love that we live within a 3-minute drive of long-time friends Tim & LaRonda Stauffer. We actually lived within walking distance of each other as newlyweds in Denver, PA. Then our paths crossed again in Urbana, Ohio and now in Marysville. You just can’t plan these things! Of course now we’re now saying, let’s just do life together!

4. I also love that long-time friends Ryan and Anita Hostetler happen to be going to the same Vineyard church we’re now apart of. We get to continue to do life with them as well, even as we go deep with other individuals and families in our new church community!

5. I love my new job as Associate Pastor of the Vineyard Church of Marysville. Not only are we meeting some incredible people in the church and working with some incredible people in the church office, I also get to do the things I love to do. I oversee prayer, evangelism, missions and connections in our local church. I’m working toward developing teams that lead these very ministries. And honestly, it doesn’t always feel like a job to me. It feels more like a calling!

6. I love that my family is back within the association of churches we call Vineyard USA. Within the Vineyard, I’m so thankful for a grace-filled approach to evangelism, a strong theological understanding and practice of the kingdom of God, a welcoming attitude toward spiritual gifts and healing prayer, a desire to see both men and women empowered in leadership, and on and on. We love this tribe! It feels like a coming home!

7. I love that Vicki has started a business with her friend LaRonda called Birch Tree Studio, and they both can’t stop smiling. They buy things at auctions that look like throwaways, and they see potential I don’t always see. Then I return home from work and I’m in awe at the artsy lamps, chalkboards, pillows, rocking chairs, dressers, and floral arrangements that emerge out of nowhere. And I think, this start-up business will do just fine.

8. I love that we are close enough to maintain relationships with family and friends in the towns of Urbana and West Liberty. A little closer than Thailand, don’t you think?!

9. I love our new Golden Doodle puppy named Junia. She is a fantastic non-shedding, very-little-barking type of dog! We still say the occasional, “No biting, Junie! Those puppy teeth hurt!” But even that is getting better as she’s learning better ways to be her playful self around us humans!

10. I love that the Marysville schools have a really good choir, band, drama, and art programs for our girls. Every one of our three daughters seem to be doing well in school, although we still welcome continued prayer as they build strong friendships in yet another town! Transitions are brutal! Please continue to pray that Bryn, Lydia, and Ellie would have wisdom and courage to build healthy friendships in yet another school (three different schools in the last three years seems like a lot to ask!)

11. I love that the local YMCA has two racquetball courts and I now found some people who are willing to play regularly with me. This is exciting as I have sorely missed my time playing racquetball on a weekly basis with some dear friends in Urbana.

12. I love that Marysville has a Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Chipotle, Old Bag of Nails, Crazy Burrito, among other restaurants! Did I mention Starbucks?!

We’re Moving Back to Ohio (For Real!)

Our family has been living in Bay Port, Michigan this past year. It has been a year we’ve treasured. A year of being close with Vicki’s family on the Thumb of Michigan. A year of connecting meaningfully with Pigeon River Mennonite Church, my wife’s home church. A year of Conrad working as a special education teacher, landing a long term substitute teaching position. A year of Vicki working part-time at the local eye doctor and part-time as a high school receptionist. A year in which our children have established some strong friendships within Laker School District and within the church. And in additional to everything else, this has also been a year of stepping back from carrying the burden of pastoring a local church. Even though we didn’t seek it out, it was as if God “tricked” us into taking a year sabbatical from pastoral ministry, a year we desperately needed. We now recognize this year as the Lord giving us a season of rest.

And now, our family is in transition once Esh family pic - restaurantagain. We have been in touch with Pastor Steve Wood from Vineyard Church of Marysville and Conrad has accepted an invitation to become their Associate Pastor. So we are returning to the Vineyard Association of Churches (which has been our heart’s desire) and we’re returning to central Ohio (where we have a huge network of relationships). Even though transition is never easy, our family is very excited! We plan to move to Marysville in the middle of June. So yes, everything has progressed quickly, and we have felt the loving presence of the Holy Spirit in the entire process.

In light of this transition, we would greatly appreciate your prayers in the following areas:

  • Pray for strength and peace (even laughter) as we pack and move across state lines once again.
  • Pray as I (Conrad) begin my pastoral assignment and make meaningful connections with our new church family.
  • Pray for Vicki as she seeks employment in the Marysville region, ideally landing a job in which she can use her degree and find fulfillment.
  • Pray that we would find a good deal on a house to purchase. We will likely be renting initially, but we hope to buy a home soon.
  • Pray for our children as they transition and make new friends. Quickly and effortlessly, we pray.

Thanks again for supporting us, caring for our family, and praying for us as we transition to Marysville in the very near future! (The photo above is a recent picture of our family eating at a Mediterranean restaurant near Detriot.)

Poem: Storyteller

Esh Family Pics 11-20-14 052

I was reading to the kids one August night,
And lo and behold,
they interrupted the story that was told.

They said, Daddy, what comes next in the script?
Will they live or will they die?
Will they laugh or will they cry?

And I said, Kids! Relax!
And listen very carefully to me,
Let the storyteller tell the story.

I was trying to solve the confusion of my life,
And lo and behold,
I pushed to make things happen, as if bold.

I said, Father, what comes next in the script?
Will it be city or countryside?
Should we go straight or to the side?

But God said, Child! Take heart!
And listen very closely to me
Let the Storyteller tell the story.

Conrad Esh, 2-6-2015

Poem: Saginaw Bay Surrender

Esh Family Pics 11-20-14 479

I walked by the sea,
By the Saginaw Bay,
The Savior said, Surrender.
I paused and said, Okay?

He preceded, Will you trust me?
On Lake Huron sand,
I crushed my sculpted castle,
Then took the Master’s hand.

Now, I’m sitting by the water,
Pondering destiny and fate,
Surrender, a word I’ve heard before,
but this time…so much at stake.

This time so much at stake.

Written by Conrad Esh 2-3-2015