I once was a pilgrim, but now I’m planted

Please note that any links to the Jesus event have been removed as that blog is no longer in service. Instead, you can read my interview re-edited and with a new title here: On a Pilgrimage, Following Jesus.


Today I’m delighted to make an appearance on the Jesus event, a blog by fellow MennoNerd Tyler Tully, who is doing a series of interviews that focuses on the faith journey of friends and colleagues. I’m glad to be counted among them, and appreciate his thoughtful questions.

Each interview highlights “I once was . . . ” “but now I’m . . . ” I like the sense of change that expresses, for the journey of faith is a journey of change, and I’ve certainly experienced that in my life with the church, so I appreciate the form of his title.

Yet in my own mind, I can’t help substituting “and” for “but”–I once was a pilgrim, and now I’m planted — since although I’ve been part of the same church for years, the church is not the same church, and I am not the same person and pastor. In terms of faith, I’m still on a journey, still a pilgrim.

With that caveat, here’s an excerpt, with a link below to the full interview.

My husband and I married while we were both still in university, and together we formed and tried to live out an understanding of Christian faith and life that focused on following Jesus, simple living, and peace. During these years I went to different churches of different denominations — Lutheran, Anglican, Baptist, Gospel Hall, United Church, Plymouth Brethren, and others. Some might say I was church hopping or church shopping, but I think of it as a kind of pilgrimage, looking for a church home even as I was figuring out what it meant for me to be Christian. For me and for us, the Anabaptist Mennonite Church became that church home.


For this interview, please see On a Pilgrimage, Following Jesus.

4 thoughts on “I once was a pilgrim, but now I’m planted

  1. April—-encouraging to read this summary of how God has led you! Your story reminds me of another Chinese woman who became the first female Anglican priest in the world (during WW2). She too had no ambition to become an ordained minister——just a strong desire to follow God’s leading in the circumstances of her life. Not sure if the book (about her life) is still being published but if you’d like to read it sometime, I could give it to your sister to pass onto you. The book is called Much Beloved Daughter by Florence Tim Oi Li (with Ted Harrison).

    1. How fascinating, Helen–there are so many wonderful stories of how God leads. I just had a quick look on Goodreads at a review of the book you mention, and it seems that her ordination was quite controversial, but she continued to serve in spite of and in the midst of it all. I’d be interested in reading it some time.

  2. I really enjoyed reading the interview and I love the ending which says something like “I do this and this, but those are not the main things; the main thing is following Jesus(!)”. What a good reminder of perspective. It’s especially interesting to think about that kind of perspective in light of how different things can progress than what we may expect in life. Sometimes I wonder if that sort of thing explains why I cant seem to fully put my finger on just one “calling” in life; I serve a relational God who has plans and ways that are so beyond my own! But at the same time He is so incredibly gracious and I feel more and more that I don’t have to worry so much about finding that one specific narrow thing to do, but rather to try to do what I feel is before me in a good way and trust Him to guide me along the way. It still requires disciplined goal-setting for me, but it takes a lot of undue pressure off to realize I don’t have to find some elusive tiny little “perfect path”. 🙂

    1. Yes! God is with us and guides along the way. We may not know the “perfect path” or even recognize it if such a thing exists, but we can trust in God and take the next step that is revealed to us. It reminds me of Psalm 119:105: “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”

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