Pastor Joe Wardlow
The Man With the Vision
I grew up in poverty in logging camps in Northern California. My family’s home was not a Christian home, but quite the opposite. When the logging industry declined in Northern California, my folks moved our family to Los Angeles. As a teenager, it was a major shock for me. I went from a one-room school in the mountains of Northern California to a school of 3,000 kids with gangs and bullying.
I was introduced to a wonderful Christian family (I was dating their daughter) and through them, I committed my life to Christ as my Savior at the age of 19.
I was drafted into the army at 20. Due to a non-combat injury, I later received a medical discharge.
My walk with the Lord was bumpy, but I always asked God to hang on to me, forgive me, and lead me.
I loved the outdoors and I wanted to get away from the ‘big city’, so in 1972 I moved to Oregon. I ended up working in Eugene, Oregon and attended the Southern Baptist Church there.
In 1978, a co-worker introduced me to my beautiful wife, Linda, a strong Christian woman. She managed stateside operations for a mission organization called Daystar Communications, located in Nairobi, Kenya. Linda and I grew to love each other and were married in 1980.
After working many years, I retired from the high-tech semiconductor industry (wafer fabs) in the Portland, Oregon, area.
I always loved music. When I was young, I played drums in a band and I also played the harmonica. After I was married and we moved to Portland, Oregon, I sang in our church choir. I wanted to be an orchestra director and was able to start an orchestra, but due to members being unable to practice regularly, we had to disband. At least I fulfilled that desire of my heart for a time.
When we retired, we moved to Redmond, Oregon, and as a lay pastor, I started a ministry called “Trails End Ministry.” It was an evangelistic outreach in the trails and parks that run through the center of Redmond. God blessed me with many opportunities to share his love and his Gospel with residents and tourists. We prayed together, I shared his word and God moved.
God directed us out of Redmond to renew the journey of fulfilling the vision God gave me some years earlier, “Build me a Church!” That call is now what my life is centered on completing.