Sunday, 16 October 2011


 I have been trying to get this post up all week.  It is Sunday night and I am determined that before the night is done this will be finished!

Last weekend was Thanksgiving and I have so much for which to be thankful.   We spent a beautiful weekend up at Jason's parent's cottage surrounded by extended family.  The colours on the trees were amazing and to top it off the weather was absolutely gorgeous.  We took our student Soo Gyeong Shin with us and she was very brave to try all sorts of new things, like canoeing, maple fudge, hanging out around the campfire and of course making s'mores.  This was her first Canadian Thanksgiving and I think it was a big hit!
Soo Gyeong's first canoe ride

Yummy Smores!

Last campfire of the season

One of my favourite moments of the weekend was when Jason and I took Soo Gyeong out onto the beach at night to look at the stars.  She was mesmerized.  She told us that in the city where she lives in South Korea that there is too much smog and too many lights to see any stars so she had never really seen them before.  She was enchanted by the night sky.   Her enthusiasm and child-like delight was contagious and I found myself being pulled into her joyful reaction. 

Afterwards, I was reflecting about how great and indescribable God really is.  How the Creator of all of those amazing beautiful stars is even more amazing because He sent His one and only Son as an atonement for the debt that I myself can never pay.  My heart was overwhelmed with thankfulness for that amazing sacrifice but also for all of those who He has placed in my life.

This past week in our family devotions we have been reading in Mark.  We were studying the passage in which Jesus' mother and brothers come looking for him.

Answering them, He said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers!  For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.” 
~ Mark 3:33-35

Over the past few years, this scripture passage has been revealed to my heart.  I have always loved my family as I am sure Jesus did too but there is something special about the family that God gives us.    There are those of you that have become that for me.  Some of you I have known for years and some of you I have met only once or twice but we have stayed in touch.  We have served together in church, at camp, in home church, mission trips and in other Kingdom projects.  The gifts and talents that God has blessed you with have inspired me.  We have laughed together, cried together, played together and studied God's word together.  You are my bothers and sisters.  You are a part of our family.  

Many of you have prayed for us.  Some of you I have never met in person but I know you are praying.  We have seen God do amazing things in answer to those prayers.  When Liam was sick in the hospital we would watch his monitors all return to normal readings when we would remind him of who had signed up to pray for him during that specific time.  It was such a miracle that even the nurses began to notice.  We have felt your prayer lately here in Hamilton.  God has been confirming to us that we are exactly where He wants us to be.  Some of you have taken on the responsibility to pray for streets in our neighbourhood and even our own street.  We are seeing Him at work.  (Watch Jason's update post on Tuesday for some exciting news) Your faithfulness to pray is an encouragement to us.  You are my bothers and sisters.  You are a part of our family. 

Some of you have given financially to our ministry.  I can not explain to you how many times we have not know where the money would come from in order to start this new work in Hamilton, or pay a bill, or support an event that we felt God was calling us to do.  We prayed that God would provide and stepped out in faith and God laid it on your hearts to give.  In all honesty, every time it happens I am surprised because you give without us ever telling you about the need.  And every time I am surprised I remind myself that God is working all over the world to bring His plans to fruition. Some of you give faithfully each month and some of you have given for something very specific.  Both of these sacrifices are significant blessings to us.  You are my brothers and sisters.  You are a part of our family.

No mater what role you have played in the body of Christ please know that your role is significant and gives glory to Yahweh.  I am filled to overflowing with thankfulness for each and everyone of you.

Thanksgiving Hike 2011

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Rude Awakenings

There is that blissful moment when you first stir at daybreak.   You know the one where you are not fully awake for your brain to remember the long list of things that you need to accomplish,  or the responsibilities that you have for the day but you are content with the dawning of a new morning that feels like a fresh beginning.  I was reveling in that joyous space this morning when out of nowhere I was jolted awake by a fist in my face.  As the stars started to clear from my vision I remembered that I had been up in the middle of night with my youngest daughter who was having a nightmare.  Finally, in desperation to get a little sleep from the few hours that were left,  I let her sleep on my side of the bed.  Now, I remembered why I only invite her in as a last resort.

I tried to get back to sleep for a while but after the rude awakening it was no use.  I decided to go downstairs and enjoy the quiet with a cup of coffee and my bible.  It was still early when I finished my quiet time and so I thought I would get a few minutes to read the newspaper before everyone else began to stir. 

The Hamilton Spectator had a special report on the city's vital signs.  You can read a copy of that report here.  There was a lot of good news about where the city has improved.  Less seniors now live in poverty.  James St North has a thriving arts community that seems to be picking up momentum.  Crime rates are down and there is progress in the economy.  What I also learned though was another rude awakening about the poverty that plagues the city.   Child poverty continues to exceeds 50% in many neighbourhoods with an child poverty rate of over 26% for the city.  Another shocking statistic is that there is a twenty-one year difference in life expectancy between the poorest and richest neighbourhoods here in Hamilton.  That takes my breath away.  How is that possible when so many of us have so much?

So as my children began to stir,  I was left wondering what children in my neighbourhood were going without breakfast this morning?

 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’  Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?  And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
~ Matthew 25: 34-40

We have a lot of work to do here in Hamilton.  Please Lord give us the wisdom to do it well.