Sunday, November 30, 2014

Oh, how I love Fall!

Fall has come and gone, but I still see reminders of it now and then between dumps of snow.  I don't know how many times I stood outside this year, breathing in the Fall air and thanking God for allowing me to be home for Fall for another year.
In October I had the chance to head to Pennsylvania for a wonderful break.  I was tipped off about a great website called where you can rent a single room in peoples' homes, or their whole house depending on their situation. The place I chose ended up being right in the center of historic Lancaster (perfect!) and I spent many hours just wandering the cobblestone streets and checking out the shops. 

Historic Lancaster.

My hosts were apparently artists, as evidenced by all the unique findings around their house. 

Thankfully I didn't have to share a room with these family members.

The initial reason for my trip was to see the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia and scratch an item off my bucket list, so I took the train to Philly for a day.  The museum was all I'd hoped it would be (filled with medical oddities...sorry, no pictures!) and as a bonus I got to try my first Philly Cheese Steak (below). 

 I had planned on taking a tour of the Eastern State Penitentiary while in Philadelphia, but after the somewhat gruesome contents of the Mutter Museum I felt I needed something a bit more uplifting.  So I grabbed a coffee and started wandering...and happened upon the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Pictures do this behemoth of a building no justice.  I didn't go inside but enjoyed some of the art pieces outside.

 While in Lancaster I found out that an old co-worker and good friend from the Philippines was home in the States and only minutes away.  It was so great to catch up with Christina Canapp after all these years! 

The biggest perk of my trip was meeting up with my parents who happened to be on a tour of Lancaster while I was there!  What are the chances??  We had a great time exploring a bit more of the area together and driving back to Ontario.  Mom and I even hit up a fabric store to pick up supplies for my long-awaited quilt!

Dad and mom spoiled us all rotten by taking me and my sister and her family (who also work here in Ontario) to the Great Wolf Lodge for two days. 

Quality family time. J

The themed Lodge brought out the kid in all of us.

My nephew, Joseph, with all his arcade winnings. 

More spoiling with a trip to Niagara Falls.  It was as cold and wet as it looks!  Mom had never been to the Falls before so it was fun to see her childhood dream fulfilled.

A windy photo op.

My niece, Sydney, catching the Falls.

So thankful to have had this time with my lovely parents!

Photo bomb.
Pennsylvania, New York, Niagara Falls...this Fall provided lots of great memories and special times with family and friends.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Idolatry of Missions

"Missionaries are like the church’s Special Forces, right? They go into enemy territory, sometimes covertly, tearing down walls for Jesus. They have special training, preparing them to serve in the darkest places around the globe. Missionaries are on the front lines of the Kingdom of Heaven, right? I’m sorry, but no."

This is an excerpt from an article I recently came across from the website A Life Overseas, and I cannot tell you how badly I wish I could have (as an overseas missionary myself) articulated these same thoughts about the idolized missionary many times over!  It was too good not to share, so grab a cuppa, if you'd like, and take a few minutes to read the whole article. 

>>> The Idolatry of Missions

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What to do with Ontario sunshine!

It has, in general, been a cold and rainy summer.  I'm not sure if it's because I'm a West Coast girl or because I'm still used to the cooler temps of Highland living in Papua New Guinea but I've loved it!  However, there have still been plenty of days of sunshine (which I'm equally happy about) and here's a bit of what I've been up to outside the office. 
(Theme: great friends and good times)

Strawberry picking with my dear friend, Lesley.

Shooting my first rifle!  Some great friends from Church, Martin & Ginger Witzke, had the patience to teach me (which I needed by the looks of how I'm holding the rifle).

That bottom one on the line is me!  I was just happy to hit the target.

Joan and I became good friends when we were in the missionary training here together 10 years ago and we've loved being back together again now (Joan and her family have been on staff here since we graduated the training).      

A gorgeous day for a bike ride.

This is "The Kissing Bridge," the last remaining covered bridge in Ontario.

Taking a break from riding to nibble a bit of wheat.

Southern Ontario is full of quaint old towns with lots of history.

I find that bribing my niece and nephew with ice cream is a good way to spend time with them.

Each class of students in our missionary training program spend six weeks each summer building and living in rustic homes in the back 40 of our campus.  Although they're definitely learning to rough it and live with less, the more important lessons have to do with teamwork.

Final touches.

While up visiting a student I also got to hang out with more good friends who are on staff with the training center. Karen Whatley was teaching me the fine art of Senegalese tea.

Bottoms up!

And a couple last shots of this beautiful part of the country I now call home.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

God is Not Bound

Humility n. a modest or low view of one's own importance

It's been over a year now since I left Papua New Guinea in June of last year.  Wow.  In many ways it feels like a lifetime.  When I left it was uncertain what the future of Interface would be.  We were so invested in what we'd been doing (invested in the program, the property and the community) that it was hard to imagine it running smoothly or effectively anywhere else.  And truthfully, I didn't want it to succeed anywhere else.  I wanted to believe that the Interface team at the time was such an important part of the picture that the program couldn't survive without us.  But as I slowly cut my ties from the place that was home and the people that I loved I began to also let go of the ownership I felt over what had gone on there.  Was our program effective because of our great facilities?  Or because of our ties to the community?  Or because we had such a great team?  It was easy to think that way.  But I began to realize that God didn't need buildings or even a good curriculum to impact lives.  The Interface program was effective because God was choosing to make it so, and He was allowing us the privilege of being a part of that.  

It was humbling to realize that God didn't need me, but that He wanted to use me.  And only then could I entrust Him with the future of that which meant so much to me.    

The Interface program has now moved to the New Tribes Mission Missionary Orientation Center outside the coastal town of Madang, where 25 students are currently being challenged to see the big picture of what God is doing around the world and how He wants to use them to reach the unreached.  

I was challenged this morning by reading the following update from a student going through the Interface program right now. God is still at work...without me and without our beautiful Highlands campus.  And that's exciting.  God is not bound.

"I just want to share a bit of what God has challenged me with this past week. Psalm 119:162 says, “I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure.” The psalmist knows the value of God’s word because it is what sustains him, transforms him, and instructs him. He valued it as a man values silver and gold. Do we know the value of His word? Out of the 4,485 language groups in the world, however, nearly two-thirds still don’t have the Bible in their language. That’s a lot of people dying without Jesus! God has tested my heart as to whether or not I really believe that the scriptures are more precious than diamonds. And if I do believe it, do I believe that other people deserve to have the Bible as well?"

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Tour

I love my town.  Not everyone shares the same sentiments about small town life but there's just something about this place.  So I thought I'd take you on a tour!  I went for a walk yesterday morning and here's a few snapshots I took along the way.  

 This river runs right behind my house...

 ...which leads you to this park...

...and right into Durham town.  What you see is what you get!

 Just a few steps from the street and you're here.

 This old garage is one of my favorite spots in town.

 The 1800's meets the 1980's.

I remember when Tim Horton's came to town around 2004 when I was in the training.  Those were exciting times! 

For small town grocery stores, I've been impressed with this one.  It's nice to know your tellers by name.   

 Just a block away from the grocery store and I'm back home!