And Now, For Something Completely Different!

(picture originally uploaded to Flickr by me’nthedogs)

For those of you who might not know, the title of this post is also the title of a very funny Monty Python movie… that is if you “get” Monty Python humor. I was going to post the trailer for the movie off of YouTube, but ruled against it 🙂

A little while back, I was headed to the district office for the Central District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada (wow, that’s a mouthful!). I had my handy GPS because I have a reputation for taking the scenic route. So, if you ever travel with me then you better have an adventurous spirit and be willing to leave early to get anywhere. Anyway, I had put in the address of the district office. When I got to the road I was supposed to turn on, there was MAJOR construction. I tried following the signs for the detour but ended up in the middle of what seemed like a secret base or something… maybe the Canadian version of Area 51… Needless to say, I got out of there quickly, called the district office and found my way to the office for my meeting.

Life seems to do that to me a lot… OK, GOD seems to do that to me a lot. I am happily going down my path, a path that I know God has me on, and all of a sudden there is a HUGE detour sign. The only thing is that the detour does not lead back to the path I was on… I end up someplace completely different! And that’s what has happened in the lives of the Zonios recently.

Let me go back a year… (cue the flashback sequence music) I was in southern California having attended the Idea Camp. I was on my way to the Pasadena gathering of Mosaic when all of a sudden I had the thought, “I could live in California again.” Immediately, my sub conscience retorted, “Uh, NO I CAN’T!” You see, I grew up in northern CA. When I got married and moved away, both my wife and I said that we really never wanted to live in CA again. That’s just how we felt. Well, ten years later and now I had this random thought that came out of nowhere… OK, maybe it wasn’t nowhere, but I wasn’t all too happy about having the thought.

When I got back to my hotel, I called Erin and told here about the thought. She said something like this, “Um, yeah…” Now, when your wife starts a sentence like that when you’ve told her about a crazy idea you’ve had, then you should immediately stop the conversation and return to your happy life! Well, that’s not what I did… I listened. “Um, yeah… I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that. I’ve been having the same thoughts.” GREAT!

Well, it’s been a year of praying, listening, seeking out wisdom and looking for what God might be up to. This past Sunday, we announced to the congregation that we will be finishing up our time at Redwood and moving to Northern California as the end of June. (Don’t worry, I told my senior pastor two weeks previous.)

The obvious question, at least if it was me hearing this news, is, “So, what will you be doing?” In short, we’re still figuring that out. And the answer to your next question: “Yes, we are crazy.”

OK, there IS more to it than that. As we’ve been seeking out God in all of this, one of the things that has come up is my desire to go back to school. The plan is to pursue a Ph.D. in sociology with an emphasis on children, families and religion. With my growing passion in looking at the mutual interaction between culture and children’s ministry, I’ve found that I really need to dive head first into it. Ultimately, it’s my desire to teach at the university level, do research concerning children and families as related to the religious landscape here in North America as well as in other areas of the world. I would also like to enter more into the different conversations happening about what a missional or third way of doing church and christianity looks like.

Now, this move is more than just about me. God has speaking to my wife and children as well about what this move means for them and the story he is writing for our entire family.

In the meantime, we have MANY unknowns. We are definitely taking huge step of faith in doing this. We have to find a place to live (we’re sensing a call to live in the San Francisco East Bay Area), jobs (for both Erin and I not on a pastoral staff), acceptance into school… and that’s just the beginning! We are sad to leave here, excited about what God has for us, and scared out of our minds about the details. It’s an interesting mix of emotions. Please pray for us in the next few months as now we can begin working through the logistics of moving back into the US from Canada and to an area where we have to start from scratch.

I look forward to seeing what God is going to do. I know that it’s going to be a challenging path, but it’s definitely going to be an adventure!

As for this blog, this move really doesn’t change anything. I’ll still be connected into the CM world just from a different vantage point. And I think CM needs people seeing things from as many vantage points as possible.

Here’s to “chasing The Goose!” (You’ll have to read Mark Batterson‘s Wild Goose Chase.)


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35 thoughts on “And Now, For Something Completely Different!

  1. jonathan says:

    The thought of Henry becoming more intellectual is scary! Will you still remember us when you’re Dr. Jz?

  2. Kenny says:

    You better hurry up and get that igloo you're living in listed before it melts for the summer. I'd hate to see all your hard work melt…

  3. Matt Guevara says:

    Henry – I'm in your corner. You are on my regular list of people to pray for and I'm asking God to make His direction known for all the things you guys are still in the process of figuring out. I'm glad you shared this experience with everyone and I'm proud to know someone who has the faith to step out and trust God in this way. It's inspiring.

  4. Patti Kirkland says:

    What an amazing journey God is calling you and your family! I have no doubt- from the first time I met you in CA at Rock Harbor, that you had a high calling (and yes, I know-in truth we all have a high calling-). Our prayers are with you, your wife and your adorable children as you transition. I look forward to continue to read your posts through this experience and learn from your perspective.

  5. Barbara Graves says:

    Congratulation!! How exciting for you and your family!! Like Mark Batterson says, "The scariest experiences make the best stories!" You will certainly have stories to tell of God's provision when all this becomes "…remember when…"
    I'll be praying for His clear direction and provision! And, based on what I know of San Francisco, which is very little other than stereotypes from movies, all the roads run downhill, so if you get lost, you just coast to the bottom and start over from there, right? So it should be a good move in all aspects of life!! LOL! Many blessings as you follow Him!

  6. amy dolan says:

    proud of you and the journey you are on! look forward to seeing all that is ahead!

  7. Theresa Haskins says:

    I am extremely excited for you Henry! You can NEVER learn enough!!!! I would love to return to school – who knows, maybe one day! I will be praying for your entire family! I know God will bless you as you follow Him! Please keep us posted on your life!

  8. @jamie_doyle says:

    My friend –
    congrats on the new adventure, the direction (or lack-there-of), the fun, the worry and the God moment!
    One good thing is that you'll be back in the States – I don't know what that means, but hey, I'm in the States and it's going pretty good!

    I look forward to reading more as you journey down this unpredictable path!

  9. […] For those of you who might have missed it, our family will be making a huge move at the end of June. You can read about it here. […]

  10. Hey Man –

    Glad to see you are moving back to the states! I will be praying for you and your family! Crazy times ahead for the Zonio's!

  11. Rachel Fenske says:

    One of my favorite songs is called "For Such A Time As This" by Crystal Lewis. Listen to it! : ) My favorite line: "Sometimes the thrill of soaring has to begin with the fear of falling."

  12. Kerry says:

    WOW Henry! Sounds like an adventure indeed. Wishing you all the best… but what will your kids do without SNOW in the winter?!??

  13. Diane Moore says:

    When God talks we need to listen. After reading your blog, it is so easy to see God leading you up a new path in life. After I wrestled with Him on a few occassions, I know who won so why even try to fight what He wants in our lives.. When God opens the door a person has go through it so there will be no regrets later. I will miss you and your family and know God is with you no matter where you are. We all will see each other again one day. And if you do miss the snow you can always come for a winter visit 🙂

    • henryjz says:

      Thank you Diane. Your encouragement means a lot. It continues to be a privilege to serve alongside you and partner with you as you provide love to the children in your home. And you can come visit us, too, if you need some sunshine 🙂

  14. […] desire to see people surrender their lives to the Holy Spirit and his pioneering spirit. My familiy’s recent decision to resign my current position and move to California was, in part, confirmed through reading Wild Goose […]

  15. Henry Zonio: Would really appreciate ur prayers as we continue to look for housing for our move http://bit.ly/9kLIqA #completelytrustinggod says:

    […] Zonio Would really appreciate ur prayers as we continue to look for housing for our move http://www.elementalcm.com/2010… #completelytrustinggod 16 minutes […]

  16. janie says:

    Its interesting to read this. I am going through nearly the same thing after 20 years of children's ministry. God is up to something. I can just feel it.

  17. […] For those of you who might not already know, my family is taking a huge step of faith and leaving Thunder Bay, ON for California. You can read more about that move here. […]

  18. […] in control. I needed to, once again, surrender my desire for certainty and control and notoriety. This is going to be a lot harder than I thought… “Please sir, please eat me. You’re so beautiful – I’d rather be eaten by […]

  19. […] of our recent move from northwestern Ontario to northern California, we haven’t had access to a large portion of money so I wasn’t sure if I’d be […]

  20. Revisiting Orange 2010… Take Two! | Elemental Children's Ministry says:

    […] OK for you to share your thoughts as well!) Unfortunately, I was in the middle of a major life transition and was not able to get those posts up. I’m […]

  21. […] Over a year ago we embarked on a crazy journey. To make a long story, short… we felt led to leave Thunder Bay, Ontario and my position at Redwood Park Church to move back to California. Along the way, we discovered some reasons for the move: being closer to family after living away for 12 years and me going to grad school were just a couple of the reasons. Upon arriving in California with no jobs, no place to live, and no idea of what God had next at the beginning of July 2009, Erin landed a well-paying job within a couple of weeks (and she’d been out of the workforce as a stay-at-home mom for 11 years)! […]

  22. […] Back in June 2010, I resigned my position as the children’s pastor at Redwood Park Church in Thunder Bay, Ontario just north of Minnesota on Lake Superior to move back to the San Francisco Bay Area where Erin and I grew up. We weren’t sure what was next, we just knew that it was time to move, so we trusted God and took a leap of faith. Over the past four years, it’s been an amazing adventure! […]

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