It's not goodbye, it's see you later!

Kevin Ibanez 

Good bye. The finality of this statement seems so cold, so utterly final.  So instead of saying this phrase to people, I will intentionally choose to say, “See you later.”  We live in a world that is constantly in a state of flux.  I have heard that “the only constant in life is change.”  I agree with this statement.  As soon as we are getting used to something or someone, change happens.  Be it change in location, style, personality, relationship status, whatever “it” is that changes.

There is a major change happening in my life right now, and in the life of my family.  God has made it abundantly clear that He is calling me to be a senior pastor.  I have been a youth pastor for the past sixteen years of my life. And now at the age forty, He has opened the door for me to be the senior pastor of a church in the City of Vista, California located in San Diego County.  The church is called Valley Bible Church.  I have officially resigned from my position as the Pastor of Student Ministries at Sunrise Church Rialto campus and will be starting a new chapter in my life's journey as the Senior Pastor for Valley Bible Church.  There it is – Major life change.

Our last Sunday at Sunrise will be December 14th and I will begin preaching at Valley Bible on December 21st.  We will also be moving out of our house at the end of the month and looking for a new house to live in San Diego County near the church, once again -- Major life change.  We will be leaving the area we have lived in, ministered in, and known for the past 18 years of our lives, leaving relationships and familiarity as well as close family and church family behind – Major life change.

Therefore, we covet your prayers in this transition.  This will be hard, and from a human standpoint, not only hard, but overwhelming and daunting.  This is why we need God’s grace and strength. These are those defining moments in life that truly cause us to fall at the feet of Jesus and cry out with desperation for His help.

We are both excited and nervous.  It is a bittersweet thing that is happening.  We leave behind people we love, our home church that we have been at for the past four years and a ministry that we love, for something new and different.  But we go in faith, and in the power of His might, because God has told us to go and put feet to our faith.

The comfortable, easier thing would have been for us to stay and disobey God’s leading, but in the long run, we would be miserable and out of the will of God.  We know that God has a great plan in store not only for us, but for Sunrise Church, too.  So we trust in Him.  We move forward according to His leading.  We put our unknown future into the hands of a known God.

On behalf of Andria, and my children, Joshua, James, Jacob and Jasmin, I want to thank all of you for embracing us into the Sunrise Church family.  We love you all dearly and thank you for the last four years of being so supportive and encouraging.  We will thoroughly miss all of you and will always consider Sunrise Church one of our fondest places of ministry.

Also, I want to extend an invitation to all of you – if you ever find yourself in the North County area of San Diego County, please look me up and we would love to connect with you.  My phone number and personal email will not be changing.

God bless you all, and we as Christians know that “goodbyes” are really “see you later.”  If we do not reconnect on this earth on this side of heaven, then we will be reunited in heaven around the throne of God giving Him the worship and glory that He so deserves.

So my final encouragement to you all is found in the Book of Philippians 1:2-6, which says:

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

So, Sunrise Church family, I encourage you all to continue sharing the love of Jesus with everyone you can, and do this so that we can bring as many people as we can to heaven with us someday!

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