Yesterday, May 12th, something amazing happened. Something providential and miraculous. Two ministries became one. This did not happen overnight, as you might imagine. We do, after all, live in a Newtonian world, and when two things come together there is friction. And yet, this merger, and the events leading up to it, has happened so providentially, so precisely, and so definitively, that we felt—no, we knew—that God was moving.
Newton, it seemed, took a break.
And God stepped in.
ARISE has been training, teaching, and preaching for a decade. Light Bearers for more than two decades. Both ministries have been stable, effective, and successful in their respective specialties. Ty Gibson and James Rafferty have been Co-Directors of Light Bearers from day one. Too, David Asscherick has been the Director of ARISE since day one. So these are two well established and moored ministries. This, then, was not a “fly by the seat of the pants” decision.
It began as a friendship. Moved to a conversation. Grew to an exploration. Matured to a real possibility. And then arrived as a providence-laden reality.
Like a birth, if we may employ that analogy, it began slowly and, uh well, “the last movements” were “rapid ones”. The last three weeks in particular have been filled with evidences, openings, epiphanies, and providences many. It is not an exaggeration to say that every person in both ministries feels that we have been led along by God Himself in this venture.
It can be difficult to get two preachers to agree. What happens when you get seven of them? That’s a miracle! And we’re not just saying that. There were so many opportunities for red flags and impossibilities to present themselves. From logistics, to philosophies, to perspectives and emphasis, to mission objectives and methodologies, to dreams and visions, to future hopes and plans, to finances, to committees, to boards, to websites, to personalities, and many more things beside, it would have been easy for this merger to get hung up and die at a hundred places.
It never did.
And not only did it not get “hung up”, it gained momentum, excitement, and plausibility as it progressed!
So here we are. Yesterday Light Bearer’s board of directors voted the merger unanimously. ARISE’s team did the same. ARISE’s own conference president, Elder Ramiro Cano, gave his heartfelt blessing even while confessing, “we’ll be very sad to see you go”.
And this brings us to an important element. There is some sadness mingled with the joy. ARISE’s departure from its local conference (Central California) and local church (Sonora) is not easy. The relationships are many. And they are deep. As ARISE transitions to Oregon, we will deeply, genuinely miss our many colleagues and friends in the Golden State. But this is not “good-bye”, but rather “fare thee well”. For this world is not our home. There is work to be done in other vineyards.
So the brief sadness will pass and give way to a great happiness and joy, indeed an eternal happiness and joy! And this is what this merger is all about: eternity. We are taking the “long” view on reality. We’re trying to see what God sees and create what He dreams and desires. And right now we are immovably confident that God’s dream for us is a dream together.
Two becoming one. Twice the light.
Unity. Synergy. Activity. Possibility. Ministry.
We’re excited! Can you tell?
The Light Bearers Team and The ARISE Team
To read Elder Cano’s letter to the CCC, click here.
To read David Asscherick’s letter to the CCC, click here.