Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mother/Daughter Mission Trip Experience

In the summer of 2005, my daughter, Heather, and I went on our very first mission trip to Galena, Mexico. We had heard from many people that the Mission Field was life-changing. But being that it was our first trip, we weren't sure what to expect, and neither did we have any expectations to be used by God in a particular way. All we knew was that we were going well outside of our comfort zone.

During the first few days in Galena, Heather and I quickly discovered that our mission trip was indeed going to be life-changing as well as overwhelming at times. We not only had the privilege of serving alongside some truly, amazing people, but we also witnessed poverty at its worse. In no way were we prepared for the extreme, living conditions that we saw in the small, secluded, mountainous villages in the surrounding area. It was heartbreaking to see the little children and their families living is some of the most desperate situations imaginable.

One of the villages we visited outside of Galena.
I read somewhere that contentment is an inner rest and peace that comes from being right with God and knowing that He is in control of all that happens to us. That's what we witnessed amongst the people in Galena, especially in the poorer villages. Despite the immense poverty that surrounded them, there was a wealth of spiritual contentment, peace, zeal, and deep faith. It was some of the most memorable interactions that captured our heart and have stayed with Heather and me to this day.

The people of Galena also reminded us daily that materialism meant nothing to them. What mattered most was the basic fundamentals of life, such as food, clean water, shelter, and some form of health care. It was all of the things that Heather and I had taken for granted back home in Canada.

But regardless of the hardships that surrounded Galena, for a short time, our mission team was given an opportunity to be God's light, to pierce through the darkness, and change lives. Still today, I wonder about the spiritual progress and well-being of the people that came to Christ during our mission trip, because it was evident that the battle against the powers of darkness lurked in the shadows of their city and villages, including the practices of witchcraft. And my hope is that our team did leave a lasting impression for the people, to not only help them continue to fight the darker forces, but to also help them realize that they can do all things through Christ who strengthens them.

Nevertheless, it was a great opportunity to do missions and serve God alongside my daughter. It did indeed change our life and brought us a new perspective of what it truly means to be content.

Sometimes life calls us to lose ourselves in order to find ourselves. 

They loved getting their picture taken.

Heather and I fell in love with this little, blue-eyed girl.
 Everyday, her mom, Rosy, would touch and admire our shirts,
 so we left her most of our clothes.  
We couldn't forget our dear elderly. 
Waiting to open gifts. It was amazing what brighten their day. 
A fun day of Art. 
 I took care of this little one each morning
so her mommy could participate
in the Adult Bible Study.
 And I wanted to bring her home!

My beautiful daughter and her little friends. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

My First Inset Into The Roots and Wings Newsletter

Roots and Wings is a newsletter that our church publishes 3-4 times a year. This newsletter is a way of keeping everyone informed about what goes on at Burns Presbyterian Church, especially those in our community that can no longer join us. It's also a way to share our life experiences with the congregation.

Derick and I have only been at our church for two years, and through the Roots and Wings newsletter, we were able to look inside the history as well as the life and work of the people at Burns.

In Dec, Rev. Charlotte asked me to consider writing an article for Roots and Wings, which was to be published around Easter. Upon much consideration and prayer, I casted my fear aside and humbly accepted. Below is my first public inset into this newsletter.

                                                      The Bread Maker  

My mother made bread daily growing up. Not only was it a stable for our diet, but the cheapest, practical way to feed our large family of fourteen. 

I am sure many of us can relate to fond memories of our mothers and grandmothers homemade bread. One of my favourite memories, as a child, was coming home from school to the house filled with the aroma of Mom’s fresh-baked bread. I would slump onto the couch, and eagerly await for her to slather a thick slice with molasses. It was mouth-watering to say the least.

At the age of ten, Mom taught me how to make bread. It was a wonderful bonding time, as she gladly took me under her wing to demonstrate the rhythm required in working and kneading the dough. And without a recipe, just a pinch of this and a sprinkle of that, she took a large pan of flour and transformed it into a big doughboy. I was in awe as I watched her soft hands, which never seemed to tire, knead and fold the dough to perfection.

When the process was completed, Mom gave the doughboy a big slap. “Why did you slap it?” I asked. “For good luck!”she replied with a smile. I could tell by the glint in her eye that she was proud I wanted to learn the art of bread making at such a young age. 

But just as we need bread to nourish our physical bodies, we also need Christ, the true bread of life, to nourish our souls. He is the antidote, the staple in our faith walk, and the Bread that holds us All together. With His gentle hands, He kneads and transforms the finest ingredients into our lives, making us unique individuals for His purpose. 

As we celebrate Christ’s Resurrection this Easter and the upcoming 180th Anniversary of Burns Presbyterian Church, we need to also remember the trail blazers, both past and present, because they were and are the bread markers for Christ. Without them, the message of the true bread of life would go stale, and His church would falter.