At the end of November, I posted the link to my personal blog—as usual—on Facebook and Linked In. Several hundred folk viewed my post about “Seasons of Change.” Apparently, people decided to peek at my thoughts about finishing up my latest “assignment,” more commonly called my most recent employment.
At its conclusion, I offered to provide some thoughts on my future plans. At the age of 71, I am cautious about suggesting such plans can be made with any degree of certainty. But I’ll take that risk to end this year.
I thought about calling this blog “Future Plans.” But I opted instead for the title seen, “Telling You More than I Should.” I’d better explain.
Most of my Facebook and Linked In connections know me for my radio work. I served as on-air talent for more than 40 years at seven different radio stations using three different names –Mark Elliot, Mark Johnson, and, my real name, Mark Elfstrand. I was also known as Erik Knight on a syndicated overnight radio show for two years.
This radio work blessed me with connecting to several hundred thousand listeners. Without seeing each other (except on very limited appearances), these listeners became friends. In the early days, I would hear from many by letter. Then email arrived. Wow. A massive new way to connect! It was always a pleasure to “work” and serve an audience!
Radio also afforded me the opportunity to travel. Rhonda and I took multiple cruises. We made four trips to Israel together. I’ve also journeyed to around 25 countries. Plus we’ve visited all fifty states.
I’ve met remarkably interesting people. Restaurateurs like Chick Fil A founder Truett Cathy, and Dave Thomas of Wendy’s fame. I’ve interviewed a few thousand gifted souls including musicians, authors, politicians, astronauts, actors, actresses, and even comedians (including Bob Hope).
It’s been a wonderful life—as the movie might say. I never would have expected it to be so. I was never a good student. Mainly, because I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) pay attention. Today they call it ADD or ADHD. One of my adult personality tests said it best: “The classroom is not your friend.”
But I made it through high school. Then one year of Bible college. They “suggested” I not return.
My father had died when I was a junior in high school. He was a loving, fun, and gifted man who stumbled into troubling business situations that left us always short on money. No college funds for us. When he passed, we owned no home and he had no life insurance. With two sisters out of the house already, I was “on my own” for the most part.
High school had brought out in me talents of which I was unaware. I became a debater, an actor (school plays and such), and even went to national competition in public speaking. I held offices in school organizations and liked the leadership arena.
But it was the Air Force that opened the door for me to cross-train into broadcasting. For a year, I was a television news and sportscaster on American Forces Radio and Television. I was known as the Hiking Viking on Channel 8 in Keflavik, Iceland!
From there on it was radio after leaving the Air Force. Then marriage to my bride of 46 years and we would have three children and seven grandchildren.
I’ve also been blessed to lead a men’s ministry, be co-founder of a prayer breakfast and a ministry to C-level executives. And perhaps most importantly, to find deep friendships with men meeting in small groups in several places.
There were crazy promotional things. A record that became a protest song. A devotional book after open heart surgery. A men’s ministry book.
All of this—and more. So…unexpected.
My faith in God assures me that His hand will continue in my life. How exactly, I do not know. And I do not need to know. I am open for His next assignment.
My web page already exists, which describes areas where I feel comfortable serving. (www.elfstrandgroup.com) I am likely to pursue writing, some speaking, and finding new ways to help “move people forward.” Several ideas are already forming. But who knows…? Someone does.
Psalm 138:8 speaks to my future: “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake (abandon, give up on) the work of your hands.” (ESV)
My door is open. How may I help you?
Have a blessed 2023!