I was tired, worn out by my job. Then I received an unusual offer.
It was a hectic day at my church in Strawn, Texas. I was holed up in my office, sifting through towering piles of paperwork. No end in sight. Then an email popped up on my computer: “Rota Baptist Church Pastor.” Rota? Where–or what–in the world was that?
Probably spam. But I was curious, so I opened it. “Your resume was selected as one of the few for consideration as our pastor!” the email read.
Weird. I’d never submitted an application… or had I? I was exhausted these days. Wiped out after twenty-five years of ministering across the country. Every few years, there was a new city, a new church, a new congregation. And I wore all sorts of hats. In our small town in Texas, I was the pastor, judge and ambulance driver! It was too much. At 68-years-old, I was ready for a more relaxing lifestyle.
A quick Google search later and I discovered Rota was a small seaside town in Spain, home to a U.S. Naval Base. Even if I was looking for a job, there was no way I would want to move halfway across the world. Maybe if I was a younger man.
“I’m sorry,” I replied. “I think you sent this email to the wrong person.”
The next day, I got another email. Instead of an apology, though, it was a questionnaire on my background and experience. Well, what’s the worst that could happen? I thought. Maybe my wife, Patsy, and I would get a free vacation out of it. I filled it in and clicked “send,” expecting never to hear from them again. But one month later, I got a call from Ariel, the head of the pastor search committee at the church.
“We want to fly you out here for two weeks so we can interview you and you can check out the church,” he said. “You’re one of two finalists.”
The absurdity of the whole situation wasn’t lost on Patsy. “What if they actually choose you?” she said. I laughed it off. “Let’s just enjoy the break,” I said.
The trip turned out to be just what we needed. Life in Rota moved at a slower pace. The entire town shut down at 2 p.m. for siesta. You could walk everywhere and anywhere. The church was beautiful too. A small, close-knit community of American military personnel. My Spanish was conversational at best, but I could picture us living there.
Three weeks later, I got the official job offer. Patsy and I packed our bags. We ended up spending two wonderful years on the soothing shores of the Mediterranean.
“I’m just curious,” I said to Ariel one day. “How did you find me in the first place?”
“Well, it’s strange,” he said. “The questionnaire you sent back told us on your experience. Your interview sealed the deal. But I never could find your original application. Not even a resume.”