Ministry means never knowing what the next phone call will bring. A complaint? A word of praise? Or soliciting? News of a birth, wedding plans, or a death? You never know. That's the nature of church ministry. We recently had two ministry-defining calls back to back.

One day I switched on my cell phone, and it immediately buzzed with an incoming text message. It was from my wife: SAD NEWS ABOUT MISSIONARIES. CALL.

That's when I learned that two of our long-term members, Warren and Donna Pett, had been shot to death in Uganda. I was stunned. Just a few weeks earlier Warren and Donna had stood before the congregation, explaining what they would be doing during their next term in Africa, and then we prayed for them.

A few days later, we gathered for their funeral, the two mahogany coffins shipped from Africa at the front of the church. Two coffins for two 49-year-old people. It is always shocking with more than one casket at a funeral. Usually it's because of an auto accident. This time it ...

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