Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A pinch of unreality - or is this possible?

I remember when I first moved to Toronto from Nova Scotia. You have to understand that Nova Scotia is a small province in a big country and the people there are friendly, hospitable, relaxed and unsophisticated. For many in my province, moving to the metropolis of Toronto is almost a form of betrayal of all that is simple and pure and good. Everyone knows that the big city is full of dangers and evil, greed and corruption, and worst of all, arrogance. Living in Toronto was the last thing I ever wanted, or expected to do. (Note: After 8 years of life and ministry there, I look forward eagerly to returning to this city I grew to love.) And yet like any perceived danger and unknown situation there was also a sense of adventure and excitement in coming to this most multicultural of all cities in the world. I remember for the first few months, every time I drove down the Don Valley Parkway and saw the CN Tower like a beacon in the distance, I had to pinch myself. Could it be true that I, a simple Nova Scotian, was living in the city of Toronto?!?

In some ways coming to Moldova was a return to the simplicity I left behind in Nova Scotia, Canada. Life is more relaxed here than in Toronto, with the option of occasional sidetrips to beautiful places like Budapest, or Prague, or Vienna. But there are aspects of life here that, like Toronto, take me well outside my comfort zone. And so occasionally I find myself pinching myself. This evening I was sitting in a restaurant with a newly engaged couple having the introductory session of our marriage preparation sessions. Marriage preparation, something familiar, something I have done before and enjoy doing. I didn’t really expect that I would have the opportunity in Moldova as the chances of exercising a pastoral role in many aspects are limited for a woman. But in this case, the guy is American and the girl is Romanian and they will be married in Romania by a pastor from one of their churches. So they have asked me to provide premarital counselling. I am happy to – so what’s the deal about pinching myself? I’ve never taken a couple through marriage preparation before in the Romanian language. This, to me, seems like an incredible thing. But it’s really true. Praise God!

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