The Countdown Is On!

Was it really only just over four months ago that we left Africa? In some respects, it seems like it was another life time ago, somehow though, it continues to live strong in our hearts.

We are on the final countdown now as we prepare for a short trip back. We wonder what it will be like this time. We know where we are going. We know where we will be living. We know the basic routine of life there. We have friends waiting for us, but it will be different. It is a shorter time. We will not both be working full time. Our girls will be attending some classes and doing the rest online. Some of our friends have moved on and won’t be waiting there for us. We have now experienced some of Canada’s cool weather and have even acclimatized slightly, how will we do with the heat?

 

So as we countdown here is a snapshot of what this week looks like. A few emails of requests for things to bring. A shopping list with items crossed out. A last minute order on amazon to fulfill some requests. More emails, more added to the list. I must admit, it is rather fun. I’ve been on the other side of this. I know what it is like to receive these treasures that you have had to live without. Those things that you thought weren’t that big of a deal until you couldn’t get them anymore. Anything that reminds you of your home country. Simple things like coffee, cough candies, chocolate bars, crackers, good pens, socks…..the list could go on, and it does! Now to try and fit it all into suitcases and action packers.

As I read the 2014 Human Development Index Report (HDI) this week, I am reminded once again that Niger is the least favourable place in the world to live, placing 187 out of 187, while Canada is the eighth out of 187 most favourable place to live. This grips my heart. The poverty is hard to fathom. Yes, I am asked even lower than Haiti? Yes, even lower than Haiti, quite a bit lower than Haiti in fact. Here’s a link if you are interested in checking out these stats yourself.      http://247wallst.com/special-report/2014/10/25/the-10-least-livable-countries/

(don’t know if this will work, but it gives you an idea of where to look)

So as we prepare and pack, I am once again realizing how blessed we are. I am. I live in a place that has seasons, colour and constant beauty. I live in a place where I don’t need to bleach my vegetables and when I go to the store, there are no flies, mice or shrews, but there is plethora of variety…. of everything. Sometimes I might have to go to another store, but usually I can get whatever I want. If not, I can just go online and order it and have it shipped to me. As I reflect on this though, I realize how it is so easy to want more because we have more. In the past four months I know we have fallen into this trap on different occasions. It seems so twisted. We have more so we should be thankful for more.

So as we prepare to go and hopefully be a blessing to others in Africa, we find ourselves being abundantly blessed and counting our many blessings.

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Character Lessons

The past few weeks we have been studying a few different Bible characters. As we have, we have been completely amazed at who God is and what He does. We have been struck by the immense faith that these men and women have had and we feel challenged to have this same steadfastness.

This week we were reading about Moses and were reminded about the importance of good attitudes, even when things don’t go our way. This is so hard.

One of the ways we have been challenged with this is that God provided for us to bring Chaco, our dog, back from Africa with us. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to bring him to Fernie to live with us. So, in the meantime he hangs out in Calgary and we go in and see him about once a month. This has been very hard for us as a family. It’s as if a family member is missing and we are not quite sure why it has worked out this way. However, we are thankful for now he has a good home and is being well taken care of. We are thankful that we get to visit him on occasion. We are thankful that he is still our dog. We are praying and believing that God will make a way for us to bring him to live with us in Fernie soon.

 

Another way we are practicing faith is through this hurry up and wait process for building to begin on the retreat centre. I believe that God’s word is true. I believe that He has called us and He is faithful. As I look on the real life experiences of those in scripture, I realize that these hurdles that we face now are so much smaller than God. This is His property. This is His project and really, these seems smaller than asking Noah to build a ridiculously big boat, or Abraham to leave everything, or Joseph to be beaten and abandoned, or Moses to lead the Israelites.

So as I type this today, I am reminded that God is the one that keeps us living and breathing each day. He is the one that holds the world in His hands. He has called us. He is faithful, and just as His word says, “He is faithful to complete that which He has started.” It may not be my way or in my time, but His way and His time are better anyway!

Categories: 2014 September | Comments Off on Character Lessons

In a Nutshell

Well, it’s been a while since I have posted on the blog. I really didn’t think anyone would notice if I stopped, I was wrong. I will try and be more consistent with this now.

We have been back in Canada now for a few months and have settled into our new home. It has taken some time. There were things about transitioning back that really were no big deal. Yet, there were other things that have completely taken us by surprise and we have really had to wrestle them through.

So, heres a quick recap.

July we headed to Invermere and loaded a Uhaul with all of our stuff that was ‘stuffed’ into the bedroom in the basement. We were so blessed by those that showed up to help. Overwhelmed in fact. We even had lunch brought for us. The Uhaul was all loaded up and we were on our way to Fernie. When we arrived in Fernie, we had a new crew, as well as some of those that helped in Invermere, ready to unload the Uhaul. I can’t remember the exact time but I think it was sometime around 7 pm when the truck was empty.

Our first breakfast was an adventure. I went and purchased eggs, butter, hashbrowns, bacon and coffee. Thought I had it all covered until I started making breakfast. There was no salt or pepper, or any spices. There was no coffee maker either. So I dug deep and improvised. It all worked out, but I have since remedied these problems!

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In August we were able to get all the boxes unpacked and most of the unwanted items delivered to the thrift store. We felt mostly settled but definitely were still adjusting. The girls and I helped out with the VBS program at the church and were blessed by that. We all really grieved as we were not back at Sahel when school started. Stacy continued to work diligently on paperwork and details that needed to be taken care of for our project here. We attended a church here and are excited to be a part of it. It is so full of life and truth. We are continually blessed and look forward to attending. August even afforded Stacy and I a week at home together while the kids were at cousins camp. That was a gift as well.

September approached and we started school. The girls are doing so amazing with their studies and working so hard. They seem to have most of the schedule kinks worked out and are really enjoying working at their own pace.  They are involved in a variety of extracurricular activities and getting to know kids their age. They both seem relaxed, having fun and enjoying life.

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We all have been enjoying the outdoors, riding our bikes, running, going for walks. This is a beautiful community and very active. We are slowly picking up the momentum. Stacy is loving all the mountain biking trails and when I have enough courage, I go with him. In the meantime, I love running on all the trails.

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The retreat centre is all happening in God’s timing. We are still working through different logistics and issues and planning for construction to start this spring. We have received very positive feedback from the area and are very eager to see how God will work out some of the kinks that still need to be resolved.

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As I type this update I am amazed that we have only been back for 3 months. It has felt like so much longer than that and I realized how blessed we have been and continue to be. As fantastic as everything sounds, it has not all been easy, but we know the grace of God. He has been our strength. As I was out running the other day, I kept thinking about the many passages that speak of the mountains and how they often associated with peace. This is what I have discovered in the last few weeks. When I am out in the mountains, its me and God…. and I have a peace that passes all understanding. I feel His love. His care and I know that He is in control, working all things out for His good and glory. What an awesome God we live for!

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