Moving across the country is hard. But Curt and Becky Vanderstelt’s decision to leave Two Rivers, Wisconsin, for Half Moon Bay was easy. They heard God’s call for Curt to apply to become youth pastor at Mariners Church, they saw God’s plan unfold, and they acted.

“In an earthly sense, it makes no sense for me to leave an area where I’m established and known,” said Curt, who most recently was a hospital chaplain after 25 years in youth ministry. “And it makes no sense for Mariners Church to want a 46-year-old guy to lead its youth ministry. Yet God brought us together. God opened an opportunity to respond to an email, for an interview to go well, to be selected from a strong group of candidates, for Paul and I to connect well on a personal and professional level. As we met with ministry stakeholders during our site visit, Becky and I felt increasingly drawn to Mariners Church. Only God could make those details come together.”

Among the many challenges the move poses, trading cold and snowy winters for a more temperate climate may be the easiest. Perhaps the toughest is learning the culture, needs and rhythm of a new community, a challenge Curt has faced previously, transitioning among posts in small Great Lakes towns, suburban Milwaukee and Chicago’s inner city. “I’m eager to learn what makes Half Moon Bay a unique place? What makes families tick? What is the passion and the drive of the church?”

Curt intends to tackle that challenge by tapping into the insights and talents of adult volunteers working with youth and the youth themselves. “I don’t want to reach out to the high school and middle school youth in town without understanding the kids who are already here. How do they want to meet Jesus? How do they want to grow in their faith?” Curt said. “Our youth are going to be the most effective missionaries that Mariners has. How can I partner with them to reach their friends and other youth on the coastside?”

Curt may have plenty of questions, but he arrives with great confidence in God’s plan. “I am confident that Christ has led me to Half Moon Bay. I love this call. I am so ready and excited to join what Jesus is doing in Mariners Church. I’m confident and hopeful he is going to do great work and I get to be a part of that.”

Want to learn more about the Vanderstelts? Watch an introduction video on our MarinersHMB YouTube channel. You can find it by clicking here or navigate to the “Youth” playlist and look for the video titled January 16, 2019.

By Dan Page, Volunteer Storyteller