On The Road Again…

Packed into our tiny car, we have managed to survive the journey from the left coast all the way to Thunder Bay. Something for everyone out there who may be considering a similar trip: Canada is a big place. And two small kids, no matter how well behaved, don’t enjoy being strapped into the back seat all that much. But no matter, we have made it here (almost) without incident. The one exception was when a serious lightning storm set off the fire alarm of our hotel in Kenora by flooding the 8th floor (of 11, oddly enough), triggering an evacuation at 1 am.

And while the journey is a challenge and it would be , similar to say, jump in a plane and be here in a few hours, we would have missed the opportunity to see some great friends along the way.

But we have arrived. It’s great to be able to spend time with family and friends before we leave for Italy. We’ll be spending 5ish days here, then a four day jaunt to Minneapolis, and back to Thunder Bay for 5 more, and then on home. Looking forward to two great weeks!

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Have Vision, Will Travel

Last week we had the opportunity to share our stories and our vision for Trieste in a small church in Parksville BC. Can’t tell you how much fun it is to be able to talk up missions in Italy in general, and our mission in particular. The best thing about it was that those who were in the room with us were so engaged with what we had to say. I don’t think that there is a huge resistance to mission work. We just need to share the need, cast a vision, and anyone with a passion for Jesus will, I think and hope, begin to feel the burden.

Talking up missions in Italy is so important because not a lot of people have any sense that Italy might be a mission field. But in comparison to the state of things in much of the world, it is actually incredibly needy. The constant reminder is that missions may include a social work component, and yet can’t be defined by it. Although Italy is a rich and developed place, missionaries are just as necessary there as they are anywhere else.

Plus, talking about our plans just gets me excited like nothing else. Verbalizing something that is internal to us, whatever it may be, makes it so much more real, like we are colouring in a black and white photo. It turns vague ideas and hopeful wishes into possibilities that may, with a little help, come true. Which is good because we hope to do a whole lot more of it.

Maybe this is an argument for evangelism and testimony? What if those who benefit from mission are not only those who get to hear something new, but those who do the telling? In the West we have become so used to apathetic Christians that we assume that this is the norm, but I think that, globally speaking, it is the exception. The difference may be that the church in other areas is more aware of the need for mission, for verbalizing and expressing their faith, and so benefit themselves. Just a theory, but it really does seem that mission begets passion just as much as passion begets mission.

In two short days we will jump in our car and begin the long journey to Thunder Bay and then down to Minneapolis, and back. We are excited by the chance to see old friends and family once again before we leave. Due to the expense of the trip I have only been back once since we move here eight years ago, so this is a rare opportunity. But we also look forward to the chance to talk about the opportunities ahead of us, and invite people to become a part of it, which we will be doing at a couple of churches and hopefully over many cups of coffee.

We still have a ways to go in our fund-raising (a bit more than half left to go) so it feels like there is a lot riding on this trip, although I have to be careful that I don’t expect too little of Jesus and how he can find a way where we can’t. We would appreciate your prayers for a safe and productive journey!

Shout to the North and the South, Sing to the East and the West…

I (Julia) just came back from a Soaking Prayer. My church does them weekly. We turn worship music on and for hours people are just worshiping, singing, sometimes dancing and listening to God.  I was there for about an hour when the Delirious song Shout to the North and the South came on, and it awakened so much passion of my youth in me. We used to sing it at Bethany- my Bible college all the time-Delirious was really big back then and when we got to the part-

We’ve been through fire, we’ve been through rain

We’ve been refined by the power of your name

We’ve fallen deeper in love with You

You’ve burned the truth on our lips

We all got that fervent and passionate look on our faces that made us feel very united in our mission. But of course, none of us have been through fire or rain, maybe some of us coming from other countries have been through a bit of drizzle up to that point. It didn’t matter though. We knew that when our time comes we won’t turn away or change direction. I forgot those words were there because back at Bethany I was young and incautiously optimistic about life. Now having gone through fire and rain I feel strengthened and encouraged and more then ever determined to SHOUT about the goodness of God through all of it. On top of it I actually feel ready and prepared to share this goodness with the world.

I came to Soaking Prayer tonight feeling weary and bogged down by the logistical side of our undertaking, beginning to lose sight of why we got into this in the first place. So through the words of this song Jesus reminded me what is truly important, and why I should focus on it, and let the rest fall into place. What exactly am I talking about?

Rise up women of the truth

Stand and sing to broken hearts

Who can know the healing power

Of our Awesome King of Love?

I can’t think of a purpose sweeter than this one.

I left feeling smug that God actually spoke to me personally and I came away with something original, something very specific to my situation when all of a sudden I remembered that Jesus had said something very similar 2000 years ago, in a verse that summarized revelation for me, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).