"Whilst there are many memories I can speak about today; I won't ask for your indulgence in that. I feel that it's more apt that I simply say thank you to the Lord for allowing me to serve Him in this place and this church family.
To the many that have served God with all their heart, thank you for being an example, encouragement and challenge to me. you all are my fellow labourers and with Christ He has given the increase. We've shared in the effort, the rejoicing, our ideas and dreams, the lows, and the frustrations but most of all we've seen God do a work that undeniably His hands alone have wrought. Those memories fill my heart with such happiness.
To those that have shared their heartaches, their greatest fears, deepest sorrows and darkest moments. You've made an imprint in my heart that has profoundly shaped me. In sharing these with me, I've been broken for you and my tears have been for your tears. In God, we have all been renewed in our hopes and always He's allowed recovery.
"I simply say thank you to the Lord for allowing me to serve Him in this place and this church family."
"I am not under the illusion that my tenure as your under-shepherd has been perfect. I'm sure, because I'm flawed and prone to misjudgements of which I am not alone. In reflection, there would be many things I would change. Hindsight is 20/20. Although in looking back I can say none was to the intent of damaging the church, the result of which I'm thinking may have caused hurt, I can only say that I believe God may only be the one to heal and overcome these. My sincere hope is that forgiveness has been granted truly and fully. If not, then I press on with that heaviness to bear.
Thank you my friends, my dear church family. My fondness for you has been sincere and I continue to hope for you. To the many who've shown your love, support and kindness please know you've made a difference to this preacher and his family. Your grace to me has been God's provision in times of need. To my critics, thank you also. You humbled me, you made me see my flaws and God has used you to bring me to my knees in prayer, which is never without profit. You all in your totality have helped shape me by God's design, and I'm thankful even through the joy and sorrow of it.
"So, labour on for the master and surrender yourselves to the task at hand."
"The future is as bright as the promises of God, and it's with that statement do I say my farewell. Be well dear church in the love of Christ. be true my friends to the Scripture that is the only rule for faith and practice. Be courageous dear ones in the face of a world worsening in evil. Be thoughtful of the pastor and his family to come. Be comforted in knowing that God is still on the throne. Be hopeful now my loved ones, knowing that God has a work still yet to be done.
North West Sydney, NSW, Australia, the South Pacific, and the Uttermost has yet to be won for Christ. So, labour on for the master and surrender yourselves to the task at hand. I want to finish with the verse that God always brings me to in times of change:
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.
We go down different paths today, but we also continue. In the end, it's about our Lord and to our Saviour Jesus Christ whom all glory belongs. He alone has been my treasure and in Him have I found all the most joyous parts of my life. My family and I bid you all a "see you later Southland", our God use you for His glory alone."
"See you later Southland"