Richard S. Phelps Ministry Newsletter
Dear Family and Friends,
This newsletter letter is somewhat different.
Many have commented over the years that my ministry has always seemed to be busy and ambitious. I think that has often been an apt description and feel gratitude that the Lord has been willing to use me as an ambassador of his love for many years. Now, I am facing a challenging time in my life and ministry and taking a time to reflect and seek wisdom from the Lord and others for how to proceed.
This year has not been very different for my life and ministry. I set out many goals for the ministry and made plans for what to do. My newsletters have documented the ambitious plans for the project to support firefighters with weight and obesity issues. I hoped to participate in 3 or 4 trade shows, visit and train many fire departments in many states, upgrade the quality of our social media and complete the writing of my autobiography. I had also accepted the request to serve as Chaplain for a large local Fire Department. In addition, I had sent out a fundraising letter to about 100 family and friends seeking donations to make this ambitious plan a reality.
The first hint of a problem with these ambitious plans came as I experienced a worsening of a lower back problem that had started last October when I attended a trade show in Baltimore. I chose to walk a considerable distance from the train to my hotel and experienced what I describe as a decomposition of my lower back that was very disabling. The back problem has persisted and worsened since then to the point where I was unable to do most anything without disabling back discomfort. I was forced to begin a medical evaluation and treatment options. The back problem had made it impossible to make progress on ministry goals.
The second hint of a problem with my ambitious plans came with a very limited but generous response to my fundraising letter. It became obvious that immediate decisions had to be made to drastically curtail the plans that had been made for 2016! So, many adjustments have been made and I have entered a season of prayer and reflection.
In this short time of reflection, it is obvious that I have a long history of ambitious and compulsive ministry and that it is vital for me to take a pause and seek direction for the future of my life and ministry. At the very least, I will need to be more realistic about the limitations of my health and financial support. The good news is that I am responding favorably to physical therapy and there is hope for improvement for the back situation.
I again ask your prayers at this time as I will be evaluating my future. I also ask for feedback if you have read this letter. Thank you all who have so generously encouraged me through all these years of ministry. I am confident that God will guide my future. Blessings, Dick