I started on this ministry journey a few months back.  I didn’t initially let my family or friends know what I was contemplating and praying on.  When I was a mid-teen “church” was a big part of my life, and if you have read my testimony, it paints the picture as to how I ended up away from it for a time.

Many in the Greater Baltimore Area of Maryland knew my Father-In-Law, Joe Pula.  He had come to be known as the “Blue Collar Pastor.” Joe and I never were able to really deeply connect, and that always saddened me, but that sometimes happens between Father-in-Law / Son-in-Law relationships.

Joe was called to Heaven back in 2015, since then wounds from that and other issues could not find mend and his Daughter, and I ended up divorcing.  After his passing, all of his things ended up in a decorative box that still today sits in a special corner of my Living Room.  I told my Son what I was thinking and what I was feeling called to do. It took him a little time to process it.  He knew I came from that kind of background once upon a time but was spellbound that I was being called toward it again.  He’s supportive, of course.

He is supportive enough that he consulted his Mother who up until I a few months ago, I was still holding a lot of anger and resentment with.  I have made peace with her and forgave her for the troubles that had my anger. We have communicated peacefully ever since.

What I did not expect when my Son told her was the message I had returned to me.  This message was, “Good for Him, Daddy would be proud.  Tell him he can continue with the “Blue Collar Pastor” if he wants.”  I was shocked, honestly.  This surprisingly gave me a boost in my confidence. I was not about to steal Joe’s thunder by taking on “The Blue Collar Pastor” moniker but knowing that she believed he would have been proud put more wind in my sails.

The next step came when my son presented me with Joe’s Bible, with all its contents from the day he died still intact.  This was very emotional to me as I was the one who very ceremonially picked it up from his hospital table where it laid open from the previous nights reading and closed it.  In retrospect, I wished I had marked his page because I’d love to know what in it he last read.  I spent that afternoon after receiving it from my Son Kyle slowly going through it looking at his notes, bookmarks fashioned from various papers and objects, and reading through the many highlighted and underlying scriptures.  I mended the broken spine of the bible as pages were coming loose from being opened and spread in study.

I would find during my courses of ministry education and bible study that I was not just presented with any bible, I was given with a legacy.  A legacy that can be followed only by looking through the bookmarks and highlights that have been guiding me on my more in-depth understanding of God’s Glory and Word.  It still saddens me that Joe and I could not connect earthly, but I sure have connected with him spiritually for sure.  Thank You CJ for your Blessing!, Thank You, Kyle, for passing your Grandfather Sword of the Word, and most of all Thank You, Joe! for your knowledge and legacy, may you rest at peace in Jesus’s care.

I felt the need to write this in my blog this quiet Sunday afternoon after opening the bible to find this card inside.  With a slight tear in my eye, I said I have to share this in Joe’s Honor.

To God Be The Glory,

Pastor Steve

This Blog post written with consent of Joe’s Grandson & Daughter, in the highest of respect.