In last week's MBM post, I talked about the friends who helped us move as well as a new friend who helped us without any thought of gain for himself. Only God stirs hearts to help so selflessly and compassionately!
So...we finally are in Canada (as far as Memorial Box Monday goes...otherwise we are still in Texas). I should mention again that this was 10 years ago. In fact, it was 10 years ago this month. Hard to believe because I can still so vividly remember the drive up to Canada and stopping in the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. Everything was so fresh and exciting and full of anticipation and promise and a healthy does of fear of the unknown. Mostly, however, I remember wondering how God might use this family of five-soon-to-be-six for His glory and our good.
His first move was to put us in a church...Trinity Baptist Church to be precise. God had filled Trinity Baptist with some amazing people. For a smaller church of @150 people, Trinity had a remarkable staff. I will refrain from naming them but they were such a blessing to us. The church members were also amazing, friendly and interested in us and our story.
I wish I were the type of storyteller to make this an awe-inspiring, gasping for breath type of story. I'm not so it won't be. To me, however, and likely to John as well, what God did in bringing us to Canada is awe-inspiring. He brought us to Canada to teach us. He brought us to Canada to lead us to a teacher who was able to pose questions we'd never had answered before and suggest Bible readings to help us dig for those answers. He brought us to Canada to give us a fuller understanding of Who He is. Some of the time He showed us Who He is by providing for us, showing us what to do, who to see, where to go, etc., but some of the time He showed us Who He is by teaching us through His people. Just as there was a before and after as my life went from non-Christian to Christian, so was there a before and after in my understanding of God and His sovereignty and all that that entails. If God had brought us to Canada solely to give us a theological education it would have been amazing. Of course, God isn't a God of inefficiency so that was not all He did!
God also clearly showed us several areas of service. We ended up running a Wednesday night children's ministry at one church we helped while trying to help Trinity establish/build up their own children's services. John's ministry was more extensive than that, however, as he quickly and clearly realized that the pastors there were struggling and in dire need of encouragement. As it so happens, John's love language is words of encouragement. So, encourage he did! One pastor in particular still says that if John hadn't come along at just that time he wonders if he would have remained in ministry. It really was such a privilege and blessing for John to be used of God in that way. It's definitely a gifting from the Lord.
Next Monday I think we will have to have a childbirth moment. Out of the worst childbirth came the best ministry!!
I'll have to leave you with a funny story from our Canadian experience.
As I mentioned, we left for Canada in September. September in Texas is blazingly hot! We had our meager fall/winter clothes in the Uhauls and had just packed shorts and maybe a light jacket for the trip north. Somewhere in Wyoming it got cold. John was/is/always shall be violently opposed to buying new clothes. I can't tell you how many trips we've taken when John has forgotten to pack something essential like underwear and protested if I even mentioned buying a pack! Nevertheless I would buy the underwear, mainly because I didn't want to vacation with someone who would wear the same underwear for days!!
OK, back to our trip to Canada. We were getting cold and all John had was shorts and skinny legs. As my friend and I were heading over to a pathetic excuse for a Wal-Mart store I neglected to mention that the true reason for shopping was not more snacks but more clothes! Imagine John's surprise/consternation/borderline anger when I returned with sweat pants for him. Oh, the wailing and gnashing of teeth over this unsanctioned purchase on our necessarily frugal trip.
Y'all. They were on sale half-price. I paid $4.50. John nevertheless kept up his show of disapproval in my purchase for a long time. How, you might ask? Everytime he'd wear them he would remind me that I really didn't NEED to get them; he would have made it through the cold. Nonetheless, I noticed that he wore them the remainder of the trip, something I went to great pains not to mention.
I finally threw them out last year after several hundred wears. I think we got our money's worth! Eventually even John agreed that it had been an inspired purchase after all. :-D