After 22 years in the Seattle area, 20 of which were lived in the same house in Sammamish, we have left the area. We are in transit to a new region (Chicopee, MA) and a new ministry (Senior Pastor at First Central Baptist Church). Before leaving, we preserved some of our memories in a time capsule.
We got the idea from Dr. Henry Cloud’s book, Necessary Endings: The employees, businesses, and relationships that all of us have to give up in order to move forward. In one of the final chapters, he told of a business that was closing a branch and demolishing the building. Before that event, the employees gathered together, placed memorial objects in a time capsule, and buried it in the foundation of the old building. It was their way of bringing closure to their time with that company.
Carol and I liked the idea and decided to put together the Wheeler Family Sammamish Time Capsule. We left it behind in a secure location.
Our time capsule contains the following items that remind us of our life and ministry in this place:
- A pair of shoes—reminding us that life is a journey. We are sojourners, temporary residents whose ultimate home is heaven.
- A soccer ball—our family spent many hours playing, watching, and reffing soccer games. Jonathan, Amanda, and Caitlin all played youth soccer; Amanda played on the varsity at Eastlake High School and Caitlin was on the freshman team; Amanda played for Crossfire; Amanda and Caitlin refereed soccer games for the Lake Washington Youth Soccer Association; Mark & Carol watched a boatload of soccer games over the years.
- A can of tennis balls—Jonathan and Mark played hours of tennis together; Jonathan played for Inglewood Jr. High and Eastlake High School, two years on the varsity squad.
- Eastlake High School license plate frame—Jonathan, Amanda, and Caitlin were members of the classes of 2005, 2006, and 2008, respectively.
- Bicycle gloves—Mark rode a 40-year-old 10-speed bicycle year-round through the streets of Sammamish.
- Crossroads Bible Church Impact Spain ’98 t-shirt—well worn with paint, frayed edges and holes. It symbolizes 14 1/2 years of hard work and fruitful ministry while on the staff of CBC. Mark served with singles, adults, missions, and even a stint as acting executive pastor. Carol served in children’s ministry. Together, we cooked for JH Summer Safari, and led short-term missions teams to Spain and Russia. We leave behind a legacy of trained leaders and changed lives.
- United Evangelical Free Church t-shirt—only worn once. It symbolizes 7 1/2 years of hard work, yet with little visible fruit to show for it; leaving us with a feeling of unfulfilled potential.
- A paperback NIV Bible—we came to the Pacific Northwest for the sake of the gospel. We leave here for the same reason. God called us to serve him in Bellevue and Seattle during this season of our lives and he has now called us to leave so we might serve him in a new place during a new season.
While these items don’t capture every memory of the past 22 years, they are visible reminders of what we leave behind. They help us to say goodbye and bring this chapter of our lives to a close.
Thanks be to God.