So here I am on Vancouver Island, far on the west coast of Canada. Strange, when this weblog is supposed to be about Moldova! However, I just wanted to check in as I know many of my loyal readers may be wondering what I’m up to, now that I am on furlough.
Just to fill you in, after a great Christmas with my family, I am now doing official “deputation”, which means I go to different churches to raise prayer and financial support and to report on the ministry in which I am involved in Moldova. Last Sunday was my first Sunday preaching, as a missionary, in a Canadian church. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Ward Memorial Baptist, a small Vancouver church with a decidedly international flavour and a warm welcoming atmosphere.
This Sunday I will be preaching in two churches here on Vancouver Island. I came a few days early to meet some colleagues and do some networking. I enjoyed hearing the Baptist pastor and author, Mark Buchanan, speak at a ministerial about the process his church is involved in of reaching out to First Nations people. He spoke of justice issues and the importance of the church owning the ministry of reconciliation with those who, in this case, are their close neighbours. Often, it seems to me, Canadians tend to ignore or avoid native issues so it was very encouraging to hear that a church is actively addressing the injustices of the past and the mistrust of the present. I also met with a colleague who, as a single woman, adopted two Romanian orphans many years ago, and again I was encouraged to see and hear of ways that Christians are actively seeking to live out the gospel and to share the abundance with which they have been blessed. These two examples show that the sharing of abundance is not always in a material form, i.e. giving money. The wealth we have consists also of relational blessings and spiritual resources, psychological well-being and an understanding of justice. Canadians in general are materially wealthy compared with many nations, but they are also wealthy socially and psychologically and educationally. I am more aware than ever of the Scriptural exhortation of the reason for wealth: “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion.” (2 Corinthians 9:11a) The second part of that verse goes on to say, “…and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” That has been true of me in the sense that I have been at the receiving end of much generosity on the part of family and friends and fellow believers who don’t even know me. Their generosity is not something I can repay, but it does result in thanksgiving to God. And Lord willing, I will make an effort to pass on those blessings to others as I have opportunity.
While I am on Vancouver Island I am also doing some sightseeing. I was only in Victoria once before and that was when I was a child. This afternoon I took a bus tour, just to get an overview. Now I have to work on my message for Sunday, so this will be short. Enjoy the photos – Victoria is a lovely city, and as you can see there are many indicators of the presence of several First Nations people groups in this area.
PS – Please feel free to make comments on my page and remember you can do it anonymously but it is nice to know who is commenting.
PPS – To Corinne and all my Dutch friends – please note the Carillon tower, which was donated by the Dutch community of British Columbia in honour of Canada’s 100th birthday in 1967, and the cornerstone was unveiled by Queen Juliana. Across the street is the Peace Tulip Garden which commemorates the Canadian troops who liberated the Netherlands at the end of WW2.