As many of you know, there have been some major shifts in the life and trajectory of our little family over the past few months. In short, the Lester’s are moving to Austin, Texas at the end of 2017.
I have resigned from my role as Lead Pastor at Bryanston Bible Church in order to pursue a role at The Austin Stone Community Church. If you would like some context and background to this, then feel free to read my resignation announcement below.
The support and love that we have received has been overwhelming. The BBC community really is a special family, and our friends and loved ones have supported us well even in the midst of what I am sure is some level of hurt, confusion and sadness.
Over the next few months, we are focusing on a few things, and we wanted to let you in on some of that so that you can pray for us, and partner with us – if you like – as we move from one season of our lives to the next.
- Wrap up our lives in South Africa from a practical perspective. We have sold our house and are awaiting transfer on that deal, we are selling furniture and cars and wrapping up visa issues and thousands of other pieces of admin and paperwork that come with moving countries. It has gone remarkably smoothly so far, and we are very thankful for that.
- Close out our ministry at BBC well. Both Sue and I finish our official employment at BBC at the end of October. The church leadership have been very generous and have released us for November and December to focus on the move. I am so encouraged by the leadership team in place at BBC. The elders have been brilliant, the ministry leads have been amazing, and the team of Badi, Tumi, Merryl and Kevin that has emerged has been a wonder to watch and to work with. It has always been my goal to hand over to these teams so that they win. That is still my goal. I will have the opportunity to preach at BBC a few more times, and if I have in any way been helpful in your Christian journey, I would love to say “cheers” at one of those gatherings, so please do come say “hi”. I will preach the morning services on the 8th of October, the evening services on the 22nd of October, and then we will go out with a bang as I preach all four services on the 29th of October. I hope to make much of Jesus in all of those opportunities.
- Work hard on gospel goodbyes. Goodbyes are really hard, and that is okay, but we are trying our best to do them well. With a worldview of eternity, goodbyes between Christ-followers should have a different flavor and we want to work hard to infuse them with that. Our close friends and family though have born the brunt of ministry and what that can do to friendships (I am still trying to figure this out), and so we do want to focus our attention on just spending quality time with people we love dearly, leaving space for sadness, nostalgia, laughter, tomfoolery, mourning and rejoicing together. Forgive us if we seem unavailable for other opportunities as we focus on those closest to us. We will do our best to honor you all.
- Get some rest and see some stuff. In the next couple of months we have the privilege of some trips to the beautiful South African coast and the incomparable South African bush. We head down to the North Coast this weekend, to a place we just love to spend some time with family. Some dear friends at BBC have made this possible and I am eternally thankful. My kids have never seen Cape Town, and that just isn’t right, so we will fix that in November. My family will miss the bush maybe more than any place in SA and so we want to go get lost together for a few days on a game vehicle thanks to the marvelous hospitality of Sue’s parents. We are looking forward to that a great deal.
So that is where we are at. Shout if you have questions. We are looking forward to the next season in Austin, but at the moment we can only see it through the immediate lenses of having to leave here to be there. It’s a funny thing, place. It is true that you take yourself with you wherever you go, but it is also true that where you go isn’t where you are from. Here isn’t there, and here has been very good to us. I am sure there will be too.
Ross, Sue, Daniel and Katie