How do you leave a place you have loved for so long?

My pastor, Mike Hsu:

Yesterday morning, the moving trucks left our Diablo Dr. house. This was the house we lived in for 11 years, in a city we lived in for 15 years. Our children had known only one house to this point, and when we left Lincoln late in the afternoon, it was incredibly difficult to do. Along with our neighbors and friends, we all cried. Our two oldest didn’t want to leave the house at all; and the rest of us hurt in our own ways. How do you leave a place that you have loved for so long? And why do you leave a place you have loved for so long?

I’m sad this week because my pastor of six years is leaving Lincoln and headed to a new call in Vancouver, British Columbia with a small city church up there. I’ve spent my whole life in the church, but I’m not sure I’d ever been pastored till I met Mike as an angry, bitter 19-year-old only 18 months removed from a toxic fundamentalist church that I’d grown up in. There are tons of stories I could tell to illustrate Mike’s fidelity–that is the first word that comes to mind when I think of him–and I hope to tell many of them in the weeks and months to come.

Briefly, the greatest gift Mike gave me is that he made the idea that the church is the people of God seem plausible again. Like many in my generation, I had some really awful experiences with Christians growing up. And when I came to Grace as a 19-year-old, bitter and hurt, I didn’t trust most Christians. Mike is the one who first opened me up to the possibility that the church could be beautiful.

Anyway, I hope to tell stories later. For now, I’d just like to ask people to pray for Mike and his family as they make a very difficult move and to pray for Grace Chapel in Lincoln as we begin life without the Hsu family, which for most everyone in the church still seems unimaginable.