Ich bin Bettler; hoc est verum…

Me and my bride-to-be, Maritza.

Me and my bride-to-be, Maritza.

…and I’m sorry if you thought that a nuanced theological point was coming when you clicked on this link. One is not. Sorry.

My first year of seminary is now over. What a blessed time of work, study, fruitful discourse, and spiritual growth it was! ← So much so, that I even used an exclamation-point there. I now have an even more generous portion of that oh-so-Lutheran feeling of paradox: I know that I am “more prepared” for the ministry than when I began, but I feel even less worthy. So it goes. Blessed be God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Whose ways are not my ways, and in Whose Almighty hand my future rests. All thanks and praise to Him.

One of the difficulties I faced this past year was sparse funding. Work and donations did get me through both terms, but only barely. Still and all, the Lord has provided for me — and not just financially: He has also provided me with a wife, my lovely Maritza, to whom I will be joined in Holy Matrimony in thirteen (long) days; excepting the eternal salvation granted to me in Baptism, I cannot imagine a more wonderful gift. After some jet-setting around the country to celebrate our nuptials with family (first in Arkansas, then in Oregon), we will be heading to Baltimore, where I will serve as summer vicar at the Lutheran Church of Our Saviour (under the Rev’d Fr Charles L. McClean, my spiritual director of some five years now). Some modest funding and a place to live have been provided for me and my soon-to-be wife; hopefully, she will find work in the area, as well. Again, thanks be to God for His provision.

 Fr Charles and me at The Lutheran Church of Our Saviour (UAC), May 2013

Fr Charles and me at the Lutheran Church of Our Saviour (UAC), May 2013

With all that said, our delicately balanced budget has just been visited by an unforeseen, alien line-item: my landlady is selling her house and moving out of town. Seeing as how I live in her basement, I’m going to have to skedaddle out of my apartment at least by the end of the summer (when Maritza and I return from Baltimore) if not before then. My landlady has been very gracious to me since I moved in last September, and my rent has always been lower than average for this area. This was a huge blessing during my straitened circumstances of the past year, one for which I will always be grateful.

The fact remains, however, that in addition to the unforeseen cost of moving an apartment, our cost of living is likely to go up significantly next year, it being fairly-well guaranteed that we won’t be able to find another place for anywhere near the same low price. At this point the fall job situation for both Maritza and me is pretty uncertain, subject to the limitations of our visas, international teacher-certification (for her), and a generally poor job-market in southern Ontario.

So, here I am begging. I won’t sugarcoat it, or try to make it sound noble — this is me begging. I’m not the worthiest of causes, no. In the final estimation, though, please do not consider my merit but rather the need of the Church for pastors. Perhaps you don’t think I am fit to answer this call, not fit for the ministry for one reason or another. Well, you’re probably not wrong: please pray for me, that the Lord would break me, mould me, burn out my dross, and make me fit. I have a long way to go. While I am indeed straining on towards what is ahead, my immediate concern is not the end of year four, but rather the beginning of year two: more to the point, I would really like for there to be a year two, and at this juncture it’s a little uncertain as to whether there will be.

If you as an individual can afford a small financial gift, I would be most grateful. If you are a member of an LC-MS or LC-C church, or of a church in communion with them, and you think that your church might be willing to support me either with a one-time gift from its mission budget or general fund, or, if possible, with a regular small monthly remittance, please contact me. I would love to keep you apprised of my progress with updates for your church newsletter and would certainly make every effort to visit at some point in the future, if time and circumstances allow. Please forward a link to this post, together with my contact information, to the appropriate persons — a pastor, deacon, or elder. If you are such a person yourself, I ask that you would consider bringing my request to your congregation. Again, I would be most grateful.

Thank you for reading thus far, dear friend. Please visit my donation page if you would like to send a financial gift. Thank you and God bless you.

 

Sem. Trent Demarest

 

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