A Big Decision

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If you know me, or have followed my blog, or been a member of the youth group or even attended at WEFC, you will have known that God has been changing my outlook on life for at least the last four years. It has been an incredible journey where my eyes have been opened to a lot of suffering and pain in this world.
Not only have my eyes been opened to this, but my heart has been as well and then along with that, my hands and feet feel the need to get involved. It has taken me a long time to really figure out what it is that my hands and feet should do, and there were many times that I was incredibly frustrated with that, and even wondered if I really believed all the things that I said I did. I wondered if I truly did care for people in need, or if I just liked the idea of being the person who cared about "social justice," but didn't really do anything about it.
Just over two years ago I took a group of youth and leaders to Hermosillo, Mexico. It was an incredible time. We saw horrible poverty, we saw great hope, and we interacted with amazing people. Sitting on the bus on the way back I asked everyone to talk about how this experience would impact their lives going forward. When my turn came, this is what I said (or something like it), "I really believe that God wants me to start something, something church-y, but it really has to have something to do with helping people in need. But I also have this really strong sense that I should not leave WEFC (the church I was working at)."
This conviction left me very confused. What was I supposed to do with this? How could I start something church-y and not leave this church. I tried a couple things, and really struggled with them. Nothing really took off, leaving me feeling like...I was a failure...or really didn't care like I said I did.
A year and a half later WEFC was asked if they would like to be given a church building in Point Douglas, one of poorest (financially) neighborhoods in Winnipeg. A church was shutting down, but wanted someone to continue working in the community. My heart nearly skipped a beat. But over the next few months I became convinced that maybe this was not the right thing to do (I am skipping a bunch here that I may let you in on some other day). This was an incredibly difficult time for me, and for our family as we dealt with our house having burnt down, and all the fallout from that. This decision, or lack thereof weighed heavy on my heart through all this.
In February, we were offered the job of taking on the lead of this church plant and we made the hard decision that this was the right thing for us to do. I remember thinking about what I would say to the youth I had spent 7 years with, and really did not want to leave. I stressed over it for a while and then I knew what I needed to say. I said, "remember when we were on that bus on the way home from Mexico..."
I had already told them!
Of course none of them remembered
This decision was a hard one, and for good reason...this is hard! So far (I have been in Point Douglas full time since June) I have not had major questions as to whether it was the right decision, but major questions as to how to do this, how to do this with a family, and sometimes major questions about my own worthiness for such a job.

The Best Babysitter EVER!!

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We have had a lot of babysitters, and we have had a lot of really good ones...but the situation that occured during our night out at a Grey Cup party was one that made us realize that we (and especially our kids) may have experienced the greatest babysitting feat of our lives!

We got a call from our kids around 8:30 to say that they loved us and to say good night. "We saw a rat!" says Owen (5). "You mean a mouse," Nicky says. We have had a mouse in "Moby" lately and so Owen was obviously confused. We stayed at the party a while longer and got home at 10:30 or so. Jocelyn (the aforementioned "Best Babysitter EVER!!") greets us at the door and says "...I was able to trap the rat." I was convinced that she was wrong and that I would find a mouse. We went to where she had stood up some books, moved some boxes and a shelf and formed them into a closed semicircle by the wall...we looked under the desk to see a long tailed, 6 inch long, bulgy eyed RAT staring at us, it sent shivers down my spine. Really?! a RAT?! in my HOUSE?!

What ensued next was Jocelyn and I (Nicky wanted no part of it), scaring the rat first under a book shelf and then out of that as I trapped it under a bucket. I slid cardboard under the bucket and took my trapped rat outside where it met it's early demise...a shovel must have fallen on it...

As I drove Jocelyn home she told me how she was reading a book to the kids and the rat ran across the room and out. She said she reacted calmly so that the kids wouldn't freak out...seriously?! After the kids were in bed she spent the rest of the evening tracking that dirty little rat. At one point running back and forth in the kitchen chasing it around with a broom stick. She said that whenever she stepped on something soft she thought it was that rat. She told me, "it was fun!" C'mon, really?! She had this great feeling of accomplishment when we caught that rat...seriously, she is amazing! Can you imagine? A strange house and you are spending your time with this stupid rat making its horrible little squeaking noises and running around the house.

We should be working on getting her locked into a long term babysitting contract...but she may have some serious bargaining power! Plus she may never want to come back again.

Yesterday we got a cat...

House Fire Update

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Today is 4 1/2 months since our house fire. Let me tell you that this has been a real up and down ride. In a lot of ways the first six weeks after the fire were the easiest in terms of being emotionally/mentally/spiritually strong (below I am showing the state of mind we were in during those six weeks - it is a blog entry I wrote that never got published). I also preached a sermon on those six weeks on August 29th which listen to here...on our church podcast. Don't get me wrong those times were hard as we moved from my parents house to one hotel room then another, to a borrowed house, to another hotel, and another hotel, and finally to a mobile home. Everything was so uncertain, but I felt strong and confident.



The second six weeks were probably the most difficult where I struggled to keep my head above water, where things got very dark for me emotionally and spiritually. The last six weeks have been a slow and arduous climb out of that dark place. Let me just say that I don't know how I would do this whole thing without a faith in God that just has held me up over this whole thing.



We are still living in our Mobile home (we call him "Moby") and we are able to see how things are coming along as insurance restores our house. We have a garage and a roof, and the framing inside is nearing completion. We are told that the house will be ready by the end of January...we aren't holding our breath on that.



We have so many friends who care about us and have supported us. Thank you so much for that support. When we heard about a family near Steinbach that lost their house and their husband and father to a fire, we hope they have the kind of support that we did/do.



Here is a blog post from a time about three weeks after the fire:


On July 21st we had a house fire. As soon as we were out of the house we stood on the front lawn as a family and realized that anything that we had in that house was not necessary. Everything we needed was right there in that little huddle of five people crying out to God. We have learned a lot in the last three weeks and it is now difficult to imagine what it would be like if this had not happened. As a family we have had our ups and downs for sure, but these last few weeks have been very full of moments where we have looked at each other and been filled with love and thanks that we still have who we have in this family. I would not want to go through this ordeal with any other family but this one.

Ben (9) is such a brilliant mind, he loves adventure and he looks at this whole ordeal as an adventure, he wants to be a part of the decisions and he understands enough about life to begin to figure out how insurance works and to realize the effort that people are going to in order to help us out.

Hannah (7) is the emotional barometer of our family. She wears her emotions on her sleeve and many times when she shows those emotions I recognize them in the rest of us. She is so filled with love for each of us and always loves to cuddle and comfort.

Owen (5) is so much fun! He really doesn't understand a whole lot which makes it great for him. He loves life and just brings us so much joy.

Nicky (##) is truly the love of my life. This whole experience has showed me that more and more. There have been so many times that I have looked at Nicky and said through tears, "I wouldn't want to go through this with anyone else." We have been married over 14 years, and I really think our love is deeper than ever. She helps keep me real, she helps me to laugh, she helps me to cry, she is so great at caring for and about our kids, she is still very concerned about caring for other people (if not more because of this whole thing), she looks into my eyes and truly understands me and yet still loves me. What else could I ask for?

We don't have a home, we don't have most of the things that fill a home, but we have way more than we need. We are so blessed. People have been so kind to us. We get notes of care on Faceboook, on this blog, email, and in our church mailbox. We have people who call us up, people who invite us over, people who bring us meals, people who bring us comfort, people who bring us presents, people who offer us their home, and people who can break my heart with a look of care and love in their eyes. We are in such good care. I don't know how people would survive all this without people like this around them. Most of these people come from our Church community...how do people get through life without one?

We have grown to love so many people through this all. One of the things we have been learning over the last while (and it has culminated in this experience), is to allow people to help us. We like to do things on our own, and if we can accomplish something on our own, we will not ask for help. We are realizing that as people help us our community grows and we grow to love our community. Thank you to all the people who help us!

House Fire!

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7 days ago would have found Nicky, myself, Ben, Hannah and Owen hardly able to comprehend how good we felt we had it. That was the day we took possession of our home. It was very exciting for us because it was a "country home" that we couldn't wait to have people come and enjoy with us.

As I write this it is now 24 hours from the time when I noticed a sound in the attached garage, going to investigate I noticed smoke coming in under the door to the garage, as I got closer I could hear the roar of fire. I quickly yelled to Nicky that we needed to get the kids and call 911, "THERE'S A FIRE!" After we woke the kids and herded them to the door we emerged from the front of the house to see the flames pouring from the front of the garage 20 feet long and 30 feet high, completely engulfing the car in parked in front of it. We called 911 as we expected to watch the whole house burn.

Neighbours came over and we were introduced to them for the first time as they invited us to stay in their home for as long as we needed! The firefighters arrived quickly and were actually able to put the fire out before it spread too far. There was a fire in the attic and the garage is almost completely gone. There is smoke and water damage throughout the house, as well as all the damage the firefighters did as they valiantly fought the fire.

We have never been more thankful for our family and for how safe we were. We love each other very much! We have over and over again recognized that we have all we need when we have our family even if we have nothing else. We have also been overwhelmed with support from our families and friends, we are so unworthy of your support, but thank you for it! We are all completely fine and we are looking forward to rebuilding our home.

You can pray for a speedy, smooth process with the insurance company, and you can thank God for protecting us in all this!

Trevor (on behalf of all of us)

da ose

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I am currently wearing what Nicky lovingly refers to as my panty hose, or support hose. A few months ago I was at my Dr. and she noticed my varicose veins on my leg. I told her I have had them for years. She decided to refer me to a specialist. When I went to see this specialist he prescribed support stocking for my left leg. I am starting to develop ulcers on my leg and because I am young I am getting away with it, but I won’t forever. I am supposed to wear them every day now.


On my way home I stopped in the place that he recommended for me, it was a prosthetics and orthotics store. I walked in and immediately felt out of place, there were a couple old ladies getting walkers fixed, there were a bunch of old man scooter’s lined up and a whole bunch of other things that I identify with old age...canes, walkers, blue hair and of course...support hose.


I got fitted for my hose and she told me that I would need to get a custom-made one. For the records she asked me how old I was, my response was, "too young to have a compression stocking!" Well, she measured me up and I was on my way home.


I got in the car and phoned Nicky, when I told her that I would need to have my compression stocking custom made, she replied, "what? can't you go to the big and tall girl store?" Sometimes she knows just what to say to make me feel better about myself.


A few weeks later I got a call saying that my stocking was in. As you can imagine, I was filled with excitement at the wonderful news. I went to get it and try it on. The stocking fitter girl (is that really a profession?) helped me put it on and told me some things about maintaining it etc. I have to wear a little silk sock and these fancy grippy rubber gloves while putting it on so that they don't tear. At this point I am feeling sorry for myself and concerned that this support hose will somehow affect my manliness.


To reassure me she told me that some men have trouble with the hose staying up because it slides on their leg hair. In the end my stocking fitter girl did make me feel better by stating these wonderful words:


"...but you won't have a problem with this (hose staying up) because you have muscular thighs."


She's right...I don't have that problem.

The Medium is the Message

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I am a Christian, I love Jesus deeply, and according to my church I believe all the right things. Sometimes I wonder though, if what I say and what I do are connected. Sure, I am a Pastor and I have made some choices to do what I think Jesus would want me to do, but does my faith and my action truly interact?

I read this morning in Frost and Hirsch's book that the medium is the message and as that applies to the Christian life, our actions are the message. Do my actions in my everyday existence communicate what Jesus means to me? I think all to often the answer is no...instead of communicating what Jesus means to me, my actions all too often communicate that I am selfish.

Do you want to be with the kids right now? No, I'd rather watch TV. Do you care about the poor? No, I really want a new iPhone (or laptop, or car, or house, or kitchen, or book, etc.). Do you care about people in your community that are hurting? No, I don't take time to be with them, I have too many other things going on.

Lord, I want my medium to be the message.

Problems with Passion

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I often look at passion as a negative thing. I hear things like this...I got in an argument and I got passionate and it got me in trouble...I got caught in a moment of passion, and now she's pregnant, we didn't mean for that to happen...I better be quiet now because or my passion is going to get me in trouble.

What if we looked at passion differently? What if we noticed that the problem was not so much our passion, but our direction. Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch write about this in their book The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century Church (this book is excellent if you love dreaming about the church, and what it could be - I will probably post more about it over the next while), they say that, "Passion is only evil when it remains in the directionless state, when it refuses to be subject to holy direction, when it will not accept the direction that leads toward God."

This is a beautiful picture of passion. The Church is often known to be a place where passion is to be suppressed and often not even talked about, but really the Church should be about directing our passions to the holy. Even our passions about sex? Yes. Even our passions about driving fast cars? Why not.

Let's allow ourselves passion, but let's point it in the the right direction, a holy direction.