FROM PASTOR DONALD’S DESK:
It’s hard to believe that I’m writing my final newsletter article for Salem Lutheran Church. It’s kind of weird to be sitting in my office with nothing really hanging on the walls, and fewer and fewer books sitting on the shelves. This past Sunday I thought about how it was my second to last Sunday to worship in this sanctuary. If you would have asked me 5 years ago where Salem, Illinois is located I would have said, “I have no idea.”
Now, 5 years later I can tell you exactly where Salem is located. Salem, more precisely Salem Lutheran Church has been a place I have grown to love over the past 4.5 years. There have been a lot of laughs that have been shared along with tears shed over losses of loved ones. It has been a blessing over the years to serve at Salem. I know that I have grown in my skills in ministry, and probably even picked up a new skill or two.
God had a plan with me coming to serve at SLC. One thing that I have had up in my office is something I received on vicarage from two of the secretaries at the church. It says,
Donald Matthew Antor
Just think, you’re here not by chance, but by God’s choosing. His hand formed you and made you the person you are. He compares you to no one else – you are one of a kind. You lack nothing that His grace can’t give you. He has allowed you to be here at this time in history to fulfill His special purpose for this generation.
I feel that picture is a great reminder that God is working in my life. I wasn’t called to Salem by some random picking but God had a plan. He formed me to serve the members of Salem Lutheran through the experiences in my life. He also led me here so I could continue to grow in my ministry and learn new skills that will help me as I continue to serve as His shepherd for the church.
These past 4 years have been very special to me. I will cherish my time here. I’m very thankful for God calling to me Salem Lutheran Church. God called me here for a reason. I know there have been many special relationships that have been formed. My afternoon visits were always a highlight and a blessing to me. It helped me to get to know the members of my flock even better so I could be a better servant. There were days that I know those visits uplifted my spirits if I was having a bad day. That was especially important to me being 5 hours from my family. I had my church family I could go talk to and be welcomed as if I were a family member.
I definitely will not forget any of the trips that I was a part of over the years. The 3 mission trips, 1 National Youth Gathering, 3 Passion Conferences. Those will always be some of my favorite memories of my ministry here. There were a lot of laughs shared, pranks, interesting car rides and experiences, even some hardships and tears during those trips. While on these various trips I could see Salem Lutheran Church as a place where friends truly became family.
And I just want to say a big thank you to everyone of Salem Lutheran Church for welcoming me into their families. I also am greatly appreciative of all the prayers and support over the years. I know that without all the prayers and support, all the positives I accomplished in my time here wouldn’t have been possible. God has truly blessed me over the years in my ministry and Salem Lutheran Church. I will continue to keep the members and ministry of Salem Lutheran Church in my prayers. I pray that God continues to strengthen your faith and guide all of you in proclaiming Christ crucified.