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Sep 15 / Bill

The second Great Move…as in twenty years ago—and today—as in 2010.

September 15, 2010

Taylors in Arkansas, circa 1988

Then—as in twenty years ago—and today—as in 2010.

It was exactly twenty years ago this week that Yvonne and I (plus a Stephanie, then 14 years) drove to Austin, Texas from Russellville, Arkansas, from under 20K people to almost 1 million, from near-rural to cosmopolitan city, from the perimeter to a center. Christine had already arrived in January, 1990 and David was studying a year at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. We drove, I the largest U-Haul truck plus their largest trailer, and Yvonne our old Suburban loaded to gills. My faithful front-seat companion was a large ficus plant.

Three three just prior to leaving Arkansas

(An extended parenthesis. Actually, I really should [but I am not going to do it right now] go back twenty five years ago when we landed in Houston, after six weeks in Europe (where Christine and David had spent a longer time as exchange students in Austria).  Yvonne and I had invested seventeen years of our lives in Guatemala, primarily teaching at SETECA, but also church planting, building relationships with dear Latin American friends, seeing some come to Christ and enter into transforming discipleship, witnessing the birth of all 3 kids there, and their years until terminal departure: Christine at 15, David at 13 and Stephanie at 9, Yvonne at a remarkable 39 and I all of 44. And then the sovereign Spirit of God led us away from our beloved Guatemala to a distant, cold nation, north of Chicago. And there we find many more stories, but after a year teaching at TEDS we moved to AR. Long story!)

Father and Son off to Kenya, 1989

Our first year in the Austin area, we actually lived close to Bastrop, thanks to some friends who allowed us to house-sit while we sorted out life, housing, church, friends, school (for Stephanie). It was a hard first year out there in our little house on the prairie and I so admire Stephanie, who went to four different schools in four semesters—Arkansas, University of Nebraska correspondence, Bastrop, then McCallum in Austin.  Christine was now in Plan II at UT, and David had been accepted into Plan II.

Spiritually, Yvonne and I were battling for our lives, and she had entered a 2 ½ year dark night of the soul (ending in Fall, 1992). I found myself in a two-year desert wasteland after a bruising season of ministry in an AR local church, still grieving over the combined loss of Latin America, teaching and pastoral gifting—all three hits in a short span of time. But I exulted in the global panoramas into which I was growing, and I loved my work with the Mission Commission of World Evangelical Alliance.  Mid 1991 we moved to Austin, to our new home, a holy place of peace, where again the kids lived with us, thus reducing university expenses.

The Guatemala side of our family room

In terms of spiritual community, we invested a 5-year season at Westlake Bible Church, at first because Stephanie had found some peer friends there. Then Yvonne and I were asked to take over a struggling college ministry. It became the College Plus group, and God powerfully met us there.

A sacramental corner of our home

This young and passionate group of students and young adults breathed their own life into ours and we breathed ours  into them. Worship, community, Austin-based ministry, mission, transformational discipleship….these were the hallmarks of the CP group. Then the Spirit released from that assignment to the next one.

Austin, memories of Guatemala, circa 1993

This same Spirit led us on to Hope Chapel for eleven years, another long story of God’s grace. We learned, grew, served, engaged in local and global mission from that base. We drank deeply of the well of the Spirit of God. I went to the school of prayer and worship. In the darkest hour of our lives, the Hope friends loved us, prayed for us and invested in us.

Christine and Cliff were married there. David served there for 8 years as Arts Pastor. Yvonne and I gave direction and life to a church-based mission vision and program—regretfully short-lived because of major leadership changes.

The Hope Lenten Exhibit 1

They were good, strong, valuable 11 years.

Again the Spirit moved us on pilgrimage, now to Christ Church Anglican, a worshipping community, strong in God’s Word, passion about ministry in and from Austin to the world, committed to community, a new set of friends. And into a new kind of worship for me—liturgical and sacramental, worship and Word, Spirit and community, mission local and global, new friends.

Hope Chapel, an art gallery, The 14 Stations

The power of symbol, Lent, waiting

Our praying pastor, Rev. Cliff Warner

Never in my wildest dreams did I suspect that I would be invited by the Lord into the historic, huge, global Anglican communion, but it happened there. On April 18, 2010 I was confirmed as an Anglican, so thankful to be part of an Austin church that is under the spiritual authority of the Anglican church of Rwanda. What an irony of mission history!

Praying for and blessing a new confirmee

Blessed by a godly Bishop Jones, evangelist, pastor, church planter

The Body of Christ, broken for us

We are grateful to be there, members of this young church with a heart to impact the city of Austin and from here spiraling out to the world—with our first supported servants in Israel (with Arab Christians) and Uganda (leadership training and missions).

The Twohey Four

The Warner Six

The Taylor II by faith

Spiritual Director and Emerging Sage, Taylor I Two

And the story goes on.  With gratitude to the Great Three in One.


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  1. William Harris / Sep 17 2010

    Hello Bill! I really enjoyed this tour of your family history. Thank you for taking the effort to express so beautifully what God has been doing in your midst!

  2. Bill / Sep 29 2010

    You are a good man!

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