“Enjoy The Wilderness”: The Jones’ Life Update.

“When we were sent to Wichita Falls in 2017 to serve as the director of The Wesley Foundation at Midwestern State University we could not have fully understood all that God was going to do in us, through us, and with us. We also didn’t know where Wichita Falls was, but we were hopeful and optimistic about the work that was ahead of us. That same year I had an opportunity to speak to Rev. Dr. Zan Wesley Holmes about the transition. He told me to “enjoy the wilderness.” At the time, I thought, “Oh, Lord, the wilderness!” The children of Israel struggled in the wilderness. Some of them died in the wilderness. Moses didn’t make it out of the wilderness. The wilderness was not looking like a place we wanted to be, especially as a young family.

But God.

As we set out to do the work God was calling us to, we quickly realized that there was more to the wilderness than what we had perceived. We missed that children were nurtured in the wilderness. New alliances and allies were made in the wilderness. Joshua and Caleb became leaders in the wilderness. Jesus was tried, tested, and triumphed in preparation for ministry in the wilderness.

And that is what happened for us: our children were nurtured in this wilderness, we developed meaningful relationships and partnerships in this wilderness, we became better leaders in this wilderness, and through trial, testing, and a bit of triumph, we are better equipped for the life and ministry that awaits us.

Beginning in April, our family will begin a new journey on a familiar road as we have accepted an appointment to serve as the next director of The Wesley Foundation at The University of Texas at Arlington. This appointment brings us back to the DFW Metroplex where our families are and an opportunity to continue faithfully serving college students and young adults in their most formative years. We are grateful for Midwestern State University, The Wesley Board of Directors, the wonderful people of Wichita Falls, and the loving churches that allowed us to serve with them over these last five years. To the amazing students, the world changers: Thank you for allowing me to do life with you. This opportunity is only possible because of you. Your grace allowed me the space to mess up, be creative, try things I wasn’t sure would work, and grow into a better pastor. Your imprint on my heart is forever! What we have accomplished together is just scratching the surface of the great and wonderful ministry that will come through you and future leaders.

While we are excited for the ministry that awaits us in Arlington, we are even more excited to be closer to family. We left DFW as young wide-eyed college students 20 years ago and we return as adults with a family of our own to share with our parents, our siblings, and our communities. It will be a joy to do what God has called us to do with our family to support us. We are hopeful that God’s grace will allow us to be as fruitful in this familiar land as we were in Wichita Falls.”

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