An Open Letter to My Sending Church
Dear Pleasant Home,
I remember the first time I entered the doors of Pleasant Home Baptist church, immediately I asked God, “Are you really calling me here?” I was timid and shy and knew not a soul, so logically I sat on the very back row. But it wasn’t long before I noticed the spirit of the people as one by one you all came up and hugged me saying how glad you were to have me there. It was clear that this was not something you had been trained to do, but instead it was in the DNA of the church to love on people as they walked through those two double doors. As I was leaving that very first Sunday I noticed the sign above the door as you exit, it says “You are NOW entering your mission field” and how true that statement would become in my life. The mission field before me, but the church behind me every step of the way. I could never, even if I tried to, describe all of the ways that PHBC has impacted my life personally, spiritually, and emotionally because that would take forever. But I want to thank you, church family, for being my support and lifeline over the past two years and prayerfully over the next two years as well. I am so thankful for the little red brick building and all the memories made at 386 Matthews Road, but I am more thankful for the people inside of that building and how each one of you have played an intricate part in sending me 7,000 miles away.
Thank you for molding me
You, as a collective body of believers in Christ Jesus, have poured more wisdom, knowledge, support, and love into my life then you will ever know. I did not come with an extensive resume or much experience in ministry but you all gave me so much just by allowing me to serve as part of your staff. I have learned how to love people genuinely, how to serve people without holding back, and how to always be willing to grow more. You have trusted me with your children and allowed me to love and teach them as if they were my own. I recognized the deep responsibility that I had as kids minister and the reality that what I was presenting to these precious children held the weight of eternity. Yet, I never felt as if I was doing it alone. I knew from my very first week that all I had to do was turn my head to the right or to the left and someone would be standing there waiting to help me, support me, teach me, and encourage me. I am not the same timid and shy college student as I was on that first Sunday, I am someone that is willing to follow Christ into any part of the world because I know that the people of Pleasant Home Baptist Church have molded me into a daughter of Christ ready for the ministry that He has called me to next.
Thank you for supporting me
Upon my return from that very first trip to Japan it was evident that God was stirring up a love that is unexplainable in my heart for the Japanese people. It was also evident that because of your love for me, he was also doing the same in your hearts. Not only has God called me to Japan, but Church, He has called YOU there as well. Your financial support allowed me to travel 7,000 miles and spend 10 weeks in the country that He would eventually ask me to live in. Your physical support allowed me to leave my ministry inside the walls of the church in capable hands, never once worrying about whether things were being accomplished or children were being reached. But your prayer support literally carried me every second of every single day. My love for the Japanese people grew even larger over those 10 weeks last summer, and yours did too. When I returned you were all willing and ready to listen to my unending stories about Japan, and I could see the Spirit working inside the heart of Pleasant Home as He was preparing all of you to love the people that He would call me to serve for the next two years. Before William Carey left for India he told his friend Andrew Fuller, “I will go down into the pit, if you will hold the rope.” And I know, Church, without a shadow of a doubt that you will be holding my rope. Your support has allowed me to open up my heart wide to love a people and a place that desperately needs the gospel and I know that with Christ ahead of me and you behind me His Kingdom will grow! What greater privilege than to be a part of that!!
Thank you for surrendering me
My initial thoughts upon hearing God’s initial call to go back to Japan were about leaving my family and my church. It physically pained me to imagine leaving all of you to move to a place where I am the foreigner. But, I remember my first conversation with Taylor and Caleb about the possibility of applying for Journeyman and before I could even explain why I wanted them to support me they both shouted “DO IT!” You have a pastor who has poured countless hours into guiding and disciplining his staff and he has played a large role in this entire “sending” process for me. Because I know his heart for the nations and your diligence in supporting him as your leader, I know that you are all ready to surrender me and send me out to the fields prepared for the harvest. Though there will be a few tears shed, many goodbyes told, and thousands of miles between us I leave confidently because I know that you have fixed your eyes on Jesus. I know that you have all looked at the mission of God, counted the cost, and declared that HE IS WORTH IT.
My prayer for you is that you continue to grow in your relationship with Christ. I pray that he continues to grow Pleasant Home Baptist Church, that he sends many weak and weary sinners through those doors, and that they will leave filled with compassion, love, and the GOOD NEWS of Jesus. I pray that you train up many more Harvest-workers and that your eyes would be completely fixed on the weight of eternity and the calling that we all have as Christians. I pray that this calling to make His name known among the nations would propel you to reach out to those in Laurel and then to the ends of the earth. Thank you church, for loving me, for guiding me, and for sending me.
I love you all,
Meghan Gagliano is currently the Children’s Minister at Pleasant Home Baptist Church. She had the opportunity to serve for the summer of 2017 in Japan and will begin her 2 year deployment to Japan through the iMB.