Pastors journey takes an unexpected turn
Ministry After 21 years pastoring in Newberg, Ed Nichols and his wife are prepping for missionary work in the Caribbean
When Ed Nichols moved his family to Newberg and became pastor at Newberg Church of Nazarene, he figured they would stay for about five to seven years, which is about the average time for a pastor in the denomination to stay with one congregation.
That turned into 21 years as Ed and his wife, Carrie, guided four children through high school and three through college in that time. In the process Newberg has become their home, which just made it that much harder to resign, which Nichols did officially in July.
It will also make their next challenge seem especially stark in contrast, as the couple have committed to a year of missionary work on the Caribbean island of Dominica.
Its exciting, but scary, Carrie said. Its something we kind of joked about, but never really thought would happen. Gods asked, so weve answered the call.
While the couple had the feeling that it was the right time to step down in Newberg, things did not proceed according to their plan as Ed didnt receive any placements from the Church of Nazarene administration.
We believe what the Bible talks about when Jesus said, Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be open to you, so we were practicing that, Ed said. You try to knock on multiple doors and we put in resumes in places we wouldnt have thought we wanted to go and nothing really came through.
The breakthrough came thanks to a member of congregation who came across a missionary opportunity for Ed while at a church conference.
Things just seemed to fall into place from that point on, like God opened that door, Ed said. Finally there was a door that opened. Hes opened that up and it continues to be verified that it was definitely what were supposed to do.
Eds primary role will be as pastor of the first Church of Nazarene on Dominica, but he will also have opportunities to work with mission teams all over the island and participate in the training of local pastors.
Ed is still waiting for his paperwork to be processed by the Church of Nazarene Mission Corps, at which point he will know how much money to raise to cover travel, insurance and cost of living for the year they have committed to spending in Dominica.
Its definitely been a trust walk with God, Carrie said. Its nothing we really thought would happen. Im just learning to trust him more with this, from our financial support to taking care of our kids while were gone.
Moving the Newberg Church of Nazarene 10 years ago from its previous location on Highway 99W, where Walgreen currently stands, to its current location on Old Yamhill Road was a challenge for the pastor. He said he hopes succeeding in a difficult endeavor will also prove to be rewarding in the end.
Something I never really wanted to do was build a church, but God has such a great sense of humor that he decided to have us do that, he said. Before we left, we paid off the debt. It was a stressful time, but a lot of good things happened in that process, too. The building out there is really a testament to working together as a group of people.
It has also been a difficult experience for both the Nichols since stepping down from the church, with Ed saying resigning was one of the toughest things hes experienced.
They do not know when they will depart or get answers to many of their questions, but continue to move forward with the same faithful approach that has led them to this point.
Gods timing was in all of this, Ed said. We look at that now and understand much more in retrospect. Sometimes we wonder what hes doing, but hes constantly doing something even if we think hes not. In fact, sometimes I think weve discovered in this process that when you think hes doing nothing that hes doing the most. So we continue to do that seek, knock thing through this process.