Dear Church Family:
Bruce and Sandy Wegner here. We wanted to check in with everyone to give you an update on us since our new adventure began this past June. It has been quite an emotional transition, after 3 plus decades in one place. We were filled with questioning and tears from leaving our wonderful church family and selling our home where we raised both our daughters. And yet, we were filled with expectation as we looked forward to entering a new season of life that we believe God had prepared for us. It is a tension we continue to hold loosely, recognizing that it is the reality of change.
First of all, we want say an enormous THANK YOU to everyone! You all sent us out on wings of eagles. Our send-off ice cream social was perfect beyond words, including each speaker’s personal story, each person’s endearing words of encouragement, the “you hit the mark knowing us” humorous video, and the slide show of sweet memories. Your cards, notes, phone calls, and financial gifts were totally inspiring and unexpected. We felt your love lift us into the sky as we left the church and community we so cherish. We love you all and miss you dearly.
In this process of change and the unknown it brings, we have learned some things that we would like to share:
When you listen for God’s voice and travel with His presence, you can rest in His love and care. We have felt His covering over us in the initial months of our adventure and it’s very pleasant. We landed in our mountain cabin, and it almost immediately became our home.
Rest is an essential part of a healthy life. As some of you know, I (Bruce) am a “napper.” I have scheduled 30-minute midday naps as part of my regular routine for close to 40 years. However, Sandy and I didn’t realize how much we needed a time of rest. The amount of change we packed into this adventure was exhausting to us. It has been so refreshing to rest in this transition, and it has allowed us to pray and listen for God’s prompting so much easier.
But, one must first learn to rest, especially for those of us that are hard-wired for work. Oddly, it’s a “muscle” that requires exercise, the exercise of slowing down. It’s hard to not push to accomplish 100 tasks per day to sense success. Chris Vallotton calls this “the rhythm of rest.”
There is an important reminder here: rhythm is only rhythm when it’s repeated over and over again in a very intentional manner. Rest is not a one-time event; it’s a planned and scheduled part of a healthy lifestyle. This is especially true during times of high workload and stress.
Sometimes we must redefine success as the world sees it, and consider significance. It’s not always about quantity. Sometimes it’s about focus and quality. And more often than we recognize, it’s about sitting at the feet of Jesus.
There are times when you need to play. Sandy and I have really enjoyed hiking on the mountain trails and kayaking on beautiful Lake Gregory. It’s awesome to venture into God’s creation. Romance is critical here as well. We have scheduled weekly date nights and attend special events like rodeos. It has been not only refreshing, but also healthy for our marriage. And we have enjoyed some really good times of conversation on our daily hikes around the lake as we contemplate our next steps.
New peeps and hospitality compliment each other. One of the areas we have focused upon is meeting people and hearing their stories. That requires us to ask questions and listen. It has been wonderful to embrace the local community and begin the learning process of how flatlanders like us can fit in with mountain folk.
We were cautioned that this new adventure could be accompanied with loneliness, so we are very focused on getting to know our neighbors: my new barber, the grocery store clerks, and the guy that inspects our kayaks when we unload them for a paddle. We have opened our cabin and enjoyed meals and times on the deck with friends. We have also taken friends to local concerts, hikes and paddles on the lake. It has definitely not been lonely here in the pines.
Church is the hope of the world and an awesome place to be with God’s family. We have connected with a couple of churches on the hill, and we already find it difficult to choose where to set our roots. Church is where we find like-minded peeps and the opportunity to serve and be a part of community that matters. Both Sandy and I “know in our knowers” that God has plans to use us, and the local church is one of the best starting points to discover His purposes. Heritage has poured into us over the 25 years that we called it our family, and, as a result, our lives are richer and better equipped to be a blessing to others.
Trust in God’s timing to bring everything together. It is really hard not to “jump into the high performance sports car, turn the key and shift through the manual transmission in rapid succession” during this time of listening for God’s voice and direction in this new season. We believe God does want us to “engage” with life right now in metered ways even during this time of rest. We want to “bloom where we are planted” and not hide in the shadows. So we are engaging, but we are also careful to engage in a healthy and selected manner. And because of this process, we are able to spend time taking excursions to investigate opportunities, while listening for next steps, as we trust Jesus with our destiny.
So, with the above in mind, here is where we are today, 4 months into our adventure. We have be-bopped around the mountains and ventured to the Central Coast to check out possibilities and opportunities. I (Bruce) have been blessed with a few ministry ventures teaching leadership and ethics to executives in the business world. Sandy has stepped into helping with a women’s retreat. We both are helping new friends develop a small retreat center on the mountain in a rustic home and garden built in 1928. We have experimented with day trips and weeklong trips “down the hill” to see how we can best stay connected with our two daughters, close friends, and family. We continue to seek where to focus our gifts and talents. We continue to listen and discern God’s prompting. And we continue to prioritize times of rest.
We now believe God is calling us to the local mountains versus the central coast. That is an enormous decision for us, and it allows us to open specific doors we purposefully kept closed as we begin to put down roots and fully invest ourselves in church and community. This will allow us to walk through newly opened doors and invest in a focused manner to be used to make a difference in the mile-high conifer forest we now call home. There are plenty of prospects, from the local church to a plethora of Christian conference centers and camps, to the business world. It’s exciting to be here at this specific time in our lives. Thank you, Lord.
There is definitely more to come. Adventures tend to take the narrow rutted dirt trails off of not-so-straight roads. Stay tuned. We love you all. Thanks for investing in us in so many ways. We now take the fruit of your love and nurturing, poured into us over the years, and we invest it here on the mountain.
Bruce and Sandy
Bruce and Sandy have been part of the Heritage family for over two decades. Bruce served on staff as a pastor, overseeing the operations, facility, as well as Family Ministries for many years and both Bruce and Sandy contributed greatly to the Children’s Ministry. They moved to their cabin in Crestline in June 2018.