The book, “Failure is Not Final,” had its origin because of a gift, a writer‘s journal, from a member of the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Bremerton, Washington. This member handed me a dark red tablet and said, “Pastor, you should write a book.” The comment activated some thought about writing, so I began to maintain a journal, not a daily activity, but just thoughts about myself, my duties as a pastor and providing leadership to the flock. I must give credit to the U.S. Army for helping me to discover the qualities and skills needed to be an effective leader.
Maintaining a journal was not easy because my writing skills were below average; spelling was not my strongest asset. I give thanks to my wonderful wife, Cherry ANNN (Bear) Rachal, a high school English teacher, who labored long and hard helping me to develop my writing skills. After many business letters, recommendations, college seminary papers, and producing leadership manuals to impact spiritual growth in the church leaders, my writing skills advanced, yet there was still room for improvement.
Ms. Elizabeth Blandin, also a high school English teacher, was instrumental in giving me some additional guidance to improve my writing. Ms. Blandin and I spent many hours reading my initial outline of the book. She would always say very directly, “Why did you change from first person to third person? “Us, is the wrong pronoun”and “you must do a better job of describing people and places.”
My wife, Cherry, and Ms. Blandin were my schoolmasters, but it was really the church family of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church that gave meaning, impetus and purpose to “Failure is not Final.” Every member, (including my favorite members) who worshipped at Mount Zion from 1984 to 2005 played a significant role in this book. God and His Holy Spirit which lives in me, and the loving people He placed in my life, molded and shaped me into the pastor, and Leader that I am today.
My Wife Cherry, our daughters Stacie Bledsoe, Tiffany Kirkland, Amber Rachal-Carter, Jarutha Rena Rachal, my deceased daughter, and my sons, André Lamar and Sam III, are the cornerstones of my success as a husband, father, and pastor. Jarutha was a daddy’s girl. During her life she was my “cheer-leader.” She always encouraged me to reach for the sky, as long as she could share the glory.
During our time here on Earth we can expect to fail and make mistakes. We can never meet every person’s expectation. What we must internalize is: “Failure is a process, not the product.” This quote comes from Elizabeth Blandin.
Believe it or not, failure is an integral part of human growth and development. Our task, when we fail, is to gain wisdom from the failure and begin at that point where we failed and move forward with tenacity. For example, the first sentence in a paragraph may be excellent, yet, within the paragraph we may find a sentence(s), not so grammatically correct. There is where we began anew. Accepting failure is not easy, but it can be beneficial when we learn from our mistakes.
My ambition for the book “Failure is Not Final” is that it shall ignite a spark in the life of an individual who has failed and just given up. Certainly, from a spiritual perspective, I hope that people, whose lives have been tainted by a negative religious experience and given up on spiritual values, will read this book and learn that all people have a soul-that inner person, that conscious part known only by you and your Creator.
Chauncey R. Piety’s famous poem, “ I am Living Now to Live Again,” closes with this powerful statement: “ I am living now to live again –flesh and blood will turn to dust, But my soul , a part of the eternal God can live, will live, it must live.”
Pastor Sam Rachal, Jr. Emeritus