Time sure does pass quickly in life... too fast I fear. Kids grow leaps and bounds before your eyes, gray hair sprouts and bodies feel the affects of years of gravity's toll. Before we know it, another summer has past and fall sneaks right around the corner with school days eager to pounce on us again. I find that with each year, the responsibilities and activities of family and ministry grow and consume me more, while I am also keenly aware of how important rest, leisure and relationship must be given proper place for us to remain healthy, strong and connected in marriage and family. I think especially in the prime of people's lives, this is the areas of life that gets severly neglected and suffers at the hand of busyness and a desire to have a successful career. Couples just seem to occupy the same house together, living and moving in opposite directions, forgetting to water the seeds of love planted in their hearts. We invest years in building a life together, then can seem to lose sight of the goal of a return... sort of like a retirement fund that grows richer every year; at first, it does not seem to be very big, nor do your monthly deposits seem significant. But over time, with a steady building of growth, the investment can carry you in your latter years without much further efforts and work. It pays to invest in marriage and family. And doing it together while serving in ministry is all the more worthwhile.
So, a practical update on the events of the Honorats..this post is not so much about Haiti... For an update on events going on in Haiti, check out the Team Blog- we had a youth team from Innisfail go down with Chris Girvan in July to work with our youth and kids.
We have had a summer full of sunshine (which we all love), water, friends and long car rides. Being on the road is tiring, yet we still find the time spent with friends and building relationships with churches and our family of Christ is worth it. We started our travels after a few weeks of Alberta time on July 4th, on our way to Nelson to be with Pastor Jim & Dorreen Reimer at Kootenay Christian Fellowship and spent a week at family camp with them in Riondel, a beautiful, peaceful spot on the Kootenay Lake. Being around other visionaries is always inspiring, sharing together our passion for people and ministry, encouraging each other through the challenges by experience. Jim and Dorreen are these kinds of people, with such big hearts and big vision for the communities of Nelson, BC, especially for the poor and homeless. They feed people every day through Our Daily Bread, ministering to the myriad of street people that come through their doors, and they are working on a project or low-income and homeless housing, a huge endeavor that we are confident God will bless and miraculously bring to fruition, because His heart is for the poor, the fatherless and the widow. There are more than 250 verses in the Bible addressing how we are called to care for these people groups. I love being around people with God's heart. I feel like I absorb an ounce of the compassion they share by just being around them.
We then were to head on to WA, but felt God call us back home to Airdrie for a week in between engagements. And it was for a reason. During the week we were home, we counseled and talked with a number of young couples struggling in their marriages and believe God was using us to help facilitate a road to reconciliation. That is our prayer that God would use us this way. Then on Friday we were on our way south to cross the border.
We had a great time reconnecting with Harbor City Church in Aberdeen, WA and the kids got to join in on their Kids Summer Day Camp for the week while we were there. It was such a blessing to spend time with Pastor Doug and Lois Cotton, who many years back were instrumental in helping us get Haiti ARISE in the USA off the ground. During that week while the kids and I made new friends and got to water dunk the pastor, Marc had the opporutnity to travel to Detroit, Michigan for another conference with Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF) who have partnered with Haiti ARISE to help in the construction of an auto-body collision repair shop as a part of training in the Technical School in Haiti. (You can check out more info on their website by clicking on the link of the name.) Marc had a great time and they raised a few thousand $ toward the project.
We then made our way to Oregon, where we got to hang out with my fun and crazy family for a reunion- always wonderful to see all my siblings, neices and nephews, reminding me again how fast time goes and how much we all feel we miss from not seeing each other more often.
While in Oregon we spent a full week in Redmond and Bend, OR. I think I would say this week was the highlight of our whole month and a half of travels. We had a fabulous time with Grace Gate Community Church and staying on a farm for a few days with our new friends, Kim and Joi, was a real treat for our kids, mostly Miesha, our resident wanna-be farmgirl. She rose early morning each day to help feed the baby calves, rabbits, goats, horses and collect chicken eggs. She's cut out for this kind of life and I really love the rustic, natural lifestyle that goes with the farm. If I ever have an opportunity in this life, I'd like to be a farmgirl too. We then headed to Bend to hang out with some dear friends we knew from Aberdeen who now live in Bend, which totally suits their outdoorsey lifestyle. Keith and Jennifer Hartley used to serve on the board of Haiti ARISE as well, and they treated us like royal tourists, taking us to the lake, floating the river and swimming at the local pool. Everything we did had to do with water, since the temperatures in Oregon were hotter than Haiti (not Hades). We got to take a tour at the Cascade Cullinary Institute to check out their kitchen and cullinary program for ideas. That was pretty inpsiring! We then got to share with a new church plant, Epikos Church, pastored by our good friends, Phil and Shanda Harris. We are looking forward to a Central Oregon team coming from these two churches together this year. We had so much fun with these families, the kids even convinced us to stay another night. The affair we planned our trip to Bend around was the wedding of Dakota Thorne & Kylie Meyers. It was really a blessing and privilege to be a witness of such a beautiful, Christ-centered union. We rejoice with the Thorne family!
Back up north to Surrey, BC, we had a relaxing week to wind down and enjoy the pool at the Ortlieb's place. They were gracious to open their home while they were away for the first few days so we could just spend some down time. The kids of course loved the water there too and we loved connecting again with all of our friends at Surrey Alliance Church. We also had the pleasure of visiting friends & BBQ'ing in Agassiz while hanging with Laurens & Louisa VanVliet and meeting a whole bunch of new families at the wedding of our good friends, Randy & Audrey Krahn's son. They have 9 kids and Tyler's bride, Sarah, has 9 siblings as well. Her family are missionaries to the Yukon way up north past civilization. It was a fun weekend and another true blessing to witness such a pure union.
Now we are glad to be back in Alberta, back home and enjoying getting our feet back on solid ground rather than still riding in a rolling vehicle. Of course, our travels are not done yet as the summer pushes on into fall. But for now I will enjoy home every moment I can. We also welcomed family visitors as soon as we got home. Marc's brother, Luc and his wife and daughter came to spend the week. While they've been here, we're helping Elna get some medical attention as she evidently has an autoimmune thyroid condition that is really affecting her eye and her overall health. So due to some further tests and treatment doctors here want her to do, we are keeping her and their daughter, Trace, for a bit longer. Luc had to travel on, back to Ottawa to see his other kids there. We hope to help her get healthy before sending her on her way. And our girls are of course ecstatic having their cousin here. Oh, and Miesha has already migrated to Grandma Claire's farm, so she can ride horses with Samantha.
Fall will be here in just a few weeks and homeschool will start again. We'll take our annual trip to the MFI Pastors conference in Portland, then Marc will be back on the way to Haiti. Where does the time go? In Haiti we often say the hours go slow, the days go fast. But here it seems the hours, days, weeks and months all go fast. Too fast. I just want to slow down and enjoy every moment, especially with my amazing kids and husband. Cherish every moment, while longing for eternity where we will not need to number our days as they pass so quickly. Solomon said it up quite nicely in Ecc 3:11, "He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart.." and Moses sang in Psalm 90:4-5,12,"For a thousand years in your sight are but yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning; in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers...so teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom."