Our Pastor's Page
Hello, my name is Craig Hall. I would like to tell you how I came to know the Lord and how He led me to be the pastor of Calvary Chapel in Fortuna.
I was born and raised in California while my wife Tami was born in Illinois and raised in Indiana. Despite growing up far from each other, God had plans to bring us together. I walked forward at Lone Hill church to receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior one week before my 17th birthday. I was baptized the following Sunday on July 4th, 1976.
Three years later Tami's father transferred to a new job in Santa Cruz, CA. He talked a reluctant Tami, who had just graduated from high school, into coming to California for the summer. He told her "If you do not like it I will let you fly back." She left her mom, older brother, two sisters, and many friends and carne to Santa Cruz with her dad, step mom, two step-sisters and younger brother Tim. Archie, Tami's father, wanted Tim to go to a high school with a good football program. He searched out different high schools and decided on Leigh high school in San Jose, He bought a house a block away from the school.
Not long after this the family deeded to visit Lone Hill church which was also near Leigh high school, On Sunday morning they arrived at church. We the teens, immediately swarmed around them and welcomed the new young people, even inviting them to come swimming at the reservoir with us after church, Tim called Tami that day and told her she needed to come to church for the evening service [she had been working in the morning]. She came and we met. We became friends as I dated her step sister for about a year. A. couple years later our friendship blossomed into more than just friends. We were married on February 27, 1982. Thus started our unexpected and exciting adventure together.
The Lord had plans for us that had not even entered our minds, I started a small carpet cleaning business with the help of my former employer, Robin. He helped me buy a professional carpet cleaner and later invited Tami and I to dinner. He was going into ministry and moving to a smaller town in Oregon. He encouraged Tami and I to also move out of the big city of San Jose. This seed that was planted in us soon sprouted. We climbed in our silver pinto headed north looking for possible places to move. Our first main stop was Fort Bragg and we agreed that was not for us. Next we camped at Grizzly Creek state park in the Redwoods of Humboldt County. We really liked Ferndale, Fortuna, and the surrounding towns. A few days later we crossed the mountains on highway 299 to Redding and the valley. It was Fourth of July weekend and scorching hot. As we headed south and back to San Jose in the blistering heat there was an immediate agreement that we did not want to live in that kind of weather. We returned home, prayed, and put a "fleece" before The Lord. If we could rent a house that was for rent in Ferndale, then we knew it was tile Lord's will for us to move north.
The rental agency at first was hesitant to rent to us as we did not have a job, in Humboldt County and I would be starting a carpet cleaning business. In their eyes this meant that we did not have any income, which of course was true. God moved and they agreed to rent to us. We moved to Ferndale at the end of September 1982, Here we were 23 and 21 years old, seven months into marriage, and we were living in a place where we knew no one, had no family, but were about to become part of a church family. God again put together His marvelous plan in an unexpected way. Pastor Ray, from our church in San Jose, told us about a church in Fortuna, It just happened that a young man from Pastor Ray's home church In Martinez, CA, had just taken a job at the First Christian church in Fortuna. He told us to try that church and we did. We were immediately welcomed into the fellowship by Pastor Jerry and his wife Diana and the other believers. We found a new church home and family.
First Christian Church soon became Grace Chapel and joined with the Calvary Chapel movement. Pastor Jerry had been part of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. We realized that we fit into the Calvary Chapel style of worship. Though I was never a hippie, was known to show up at church in shorts and barefoot.
We spent the next few years growing in The Lord and starting our wonderful family. Rory was born in 1983 and then Ryan in 1985 [Riley carne along later in 1993]. We are very blessed with and thankful for our three boys. We have since added a wonderful daughter-in-law, Kristin. She is married to Riley. A granddaughter Alice is an addition most blessed.
The Lord then stepped into our lives in a unique and special way. I must first go back a little bit Soon after I was saved I felt called by The Lord to be a pastor. I even signed up and was accepted at San Jose Bible College after my high school graduation. All was well until the day came start college. I simply did not go. I "flaked" out. I thought that was the end of my being a pastor. Tami knew nothing about these things. We had been married about 5 or 6 years when God spoke to me. I was listening to a Chuck Smith Bible teaching when The Lord spoke to me and said "I have still called you into ministry and the time is now." Rom 11:29 "For the gifts and the calling of God [are] irrevocable." I was so excited that I went right home and told Tami that "God has called me to be a pastor!" She responded "No, He has not". I was crushed. Later I found out she did not want to be a pastor's wife because of how mean people were to Diana, our pastor's wife. Interesting that Tami has turned out to be a wonderful pastor's wife and a wonderful wife period. Thus started the road toward ministry.
Now it was time to train for ministry. Pastor Jerry trained me and soon I became an intern at the church. I also listened to bible teachings on cassette by Pastor Chuck Smith. After a few years I was ready to go and plant a Calvary Chapel. Soon we left for Bloomington, Indiana to plant a Calvary Chapel. It failed miserably. I spent 6 months trying to find work to support us and I could not find a job to pay enough. We ended up living with Tami's mom and step-father in a mobile home in Indianapolis.
After 6 months we felt led to return to Fortuna did not have a job. I could not go back to carpet cleaning [I had sold my business and could not work in carpet cleaning in the area for 5 years], and we did not have a home. We obeyed not knowing what would happen. We moved in with Jon and Clista Lewis and prayed about what the next step might be.
Not long after this the assistant pastor quit and I became the assistant. This was very unexpected. About 6 months after returning another unexpected tiling happened. Pastor Jerry told me he was leaving to plant a new church in South Lake Tahoe. I became the pastor of Calvary Chapel Fortuna. That was in 1991.
It is amazing how God put all of this together. Eph 3:20 "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all
that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,"