Thursday, December 31, 2009


The last day of 2009 is going out with a vengence... it was -31C this am but the sun is shinning so brightly that you would not think it was COLD outside... don't believe it!
We are having a married couples party and game night starting at 7:00pm tonight and that should be fun.
December 11th was our Christmas banquet and the food was so delicious and the fellowship center was decorated so beautifully. Thanks to the ladies who worked sooooooooooo hard to make the evening special for us.
December 13th was the Christmas concert during the morning worship time. Betty Hale did such a good job leading a team of ladies. Our program was entitled "The Indescribable Gift". Our Kindergarten and Grade One children did the welcome and sang two songs and then it moved into scene one of the manger with children dressed as Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels, cows, sheep and a donkey. This scene was about The gift of JESUS. The next scene was of Jesus as a child at his home in Nazareth and the arrival of the Magi with GIFTS of their own for Jesus. There was even a STAR (with Ashley inside) showing them the way to the house. Ray then spoke on the GIFT of Christmas and several of the youth and young marrieds came out carrying their specific gifts for Jesus (like a cardboard testimony). Two of the youth were dressed as presents beside the Christmas tree. My class finished with "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and handed out candycanes. My class is made up of 2-4 year olds and trying to corral them through the entire presentation was a job in itself! (Nine of them)
On December 18th Ray and I had our 43rd wedding anniversary. We traveled to Grande Prairie and saw a great movie that we would recommend to you: "The Blind Side" which is based on a true story. GO SEE IT. Then we went to The Keg and had the absolute best dinner and reminisced about our years together. He is a keeper for sure! Having two wonderful sons, two beautiful daughter-in-laws and five precious grandsons is a large portion of our memories and future. We have peace knowing that God has us in Canada for a season and we pray that many will come to truly know our Almighty God.
Our Christmas Eve service was attended by around 80 folks. Many of these were from our community and that was our intent when we began having the service in 2006. We lit the last of the Advent Candles on this night looking forward to the celebration of the birth of Christ the next day.
We celebrated the birth of our Savior at the Boshoff home with South African fare on the table and Tiaan & Ciska making a gingerbread house and trying to find WALDO. Lovely friendships is what makes the "body of Christ" so unique.
Ray has been busy with hospital visits and counseling as well as sermon preparations. He is at his computer a minimum of 8 hours a day - either reading, writing, or keeping in touch with folks. He writes a weekly article that goes out to a lot of pastors and friends all over the US and Canada. His Northern Exposure is very enjoyable for him. On the 27th we had our "turn" at the service at the retirement home and handed out candycanes to the folks there. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits and ready for another year to begin.
As we prepare ourselves for 2010 I am reminded of something that I read this week - Isaiah 43:14-21 Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? (v 19)
Becoming a new creation in Christ is a thorough, ongoing character reorientation. We have been conditioned by the religious, cultural, and social values of our time. Attitudes, reactions, goals, and thought patterns have been inadvertently ingrained into the fiber of our natures. When we become Christians, everything is suddenly exposed to Christ's scrutinizing renovation.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Identify the evidence of the new creation in YOU.
From God's Best for My Life by Lloyd John Ogilvie
As I go into and through 2010 I want to daily see the evidence that I have a new life in Christ. I want to look like Him and have His same attitude. Let's make that our goal.....
Until we all look like HIM..... Hope

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas!

More and more Christmas lights come on most every day but you have to understand! Our lights have to go up in September or can't just go outside and climb up on your house with our temperatures and the snow. No putting it off until the week of Christmas where we live. We will present our Christmas "concert" or program this Sunday morning and our first REAL rehearsal was last Sunday....which we did not even get we had another practice last night. This is a BIG deal with blackouts and costumes and even candycanes. My 3 wisemen are the biggest challenge - not just their heights - they just have too much fun!

In the midst of the stage being ready for the program - we had a memorial service today and lunch for all afterwards. The family did an excellent job with a slide show and as usual Ray did a great job with the scripture. Ray had a counseling appointment tonight so he is wiped out.

Tomorrow is our Christmas banquet. We will have it at church and I offered to help with the clean up...yep I did...what was I thinking - obviously NOT! We are also having a potluck after the program on Sunday and young married Bible study following that.

Heather sent us some of the pictures from Thanksgiving. (#1 above left to right is Paul, Caleb, Jacob, Laura and Luke. #2 L to R is Matt, Heather in back and Cole & Peyton in the front. #3 on the right above is Nanny & Papa with da boys.) We were so excited to get them....
I am going to put one from our College/single Bible study from last Sunday - we got the kids to work on a gingerbread house after their study on finances - they did a great job...a couple of them had to leave early so were not in our picture.
It is after midnight and Ray just turned in and I am freezing so will take a hot shower and turn in too. Good night and we will keep in touch.... pray for the upcoming events at church and our program especially. Thank you for holding our arms up. (See Exodus 17:8-14) Hope

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Texas Thanksgiving

As I mentioned in the last blog - we headed SOUTH to Texas for the US Thanksgiving on November 24th and returned the 3rd of December. We arrived in Grande Prairie last night and then drove home in snow. We had actually gotten more snow while we were out of town. I shoveled the driveway today and it had about 4-5 inches but there were some deeper drifts around the house and yard.

We stayed with Matt & Heather the first four days in Texas and Paul & Laura and boys joined us for Thanksgiving day. We had turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, ham, sweet potato souffle, green bean casserole and Mammaw's rolls (but they were not as good as hers). We had pumpkin pie, coconut pie, chocolate pie and pecan pie. Some of us drank eggnog and Laura, Heather and I drank coffee with peppermint whipping cream - YUM! Before we ate we headed off to the Old Alton Bridge in Corinth and took a million and one pictures.... ok, maybe not that many but poor Matt did not get a day off. I hope he sends us some real soon. Pictured above is Luke (11) , Peyton (7), Jacob (15), Cole (9) & Caleb (13) on the bridge. This was taken on Laura's camera and I emailed it to myself.

That night Matt & Heather went to her parents and Paul & Laura went to the Marriott in Ft Worth and Ray and I had the grandboys all to ourselves. We got us all jammies and took more pictures - the boys were real troopers about the picture taking. We got a gingerbread kit with 5 small houses and each boy decorated one. Each house had its own personality. We watched Elf and had a discussion on families afterwards. Ray, Luke, Cole and Peyton played Monopoly and Jake & Caleb got into the electronic games. I was the banker. It was such a fun evening and I will remember it for a long time.

Saturday Matt drove us down to Arlington and he, Paul & Ray played golf. I shopped at Kohls (I did this several times while there) and rounded up some items for our Christmas program. I got the 3 gifts for the Wise Men to take to Jesus and then tried to figure out how to get them back to Canada!! (They all made it.) We ate dinner that evening at Red Lobster - yummy cheese biscuits and coconut shrimp. On Sunday we worshipped at LABC and got to see a lot of our friends. We enjoyed our time in Adult I Sunday School the most. It was great to visit with such sweet folks that we love. Sunday night we attended a 60th birthday party for Rick Hale and got to see a lot of our friends.

On Monday LaRue had made me a dental appointment and Dr. Wallace was kind enough to fix the little chips in one of my front teeth! I enjoyed working in his office prior to moving to Canada. After the appointment Laura, LaRue, Emily, Kathy and I had lunch at Fuzzy's (a new Mexican place).

We tried to take the boys to school as much as we could to be with them. It is fun to pray with them while driving to their schools. Jake & Caleb were about a foot taller than me which was a shock - just since we saw them in March!! Monday night we drove back to Corinth and surprized Cole & Peyton and ordered pizza. The look on their face when we rang the doorbell was priceless. We played Clue and watched Matt win both games! It was so good to say goodnight prayers with the boys. As we drove back to Arlington we listened to the Saints beat the Patriots - yeah.... I bet Joni (my sister-in-law) loved it! She is such a Saint fan.

Tuesday we picked up Janice & Max at the airport (usually they are picking us up but they celebrated Thanksgiving in California with one of their sons). We had been using one of their cars since they were gone.

Tuesday night we enjoyed a Braums sunday...I had a Pecan Caramel Cinnamon Crum Cake Sunday....

Wednesday we got to visit with Linda & Larry Carter for a while in their home. We would have loved to have seen others too but our time was so precious and we wanted to be with the family as much as possible. Caleb had a basketball game on Wednesday night and we were glad we could watch him play. We told them goodbye after the game and spent the night at the Grabers. It was soooooooooo hard to say bye - we do not know when we will see them again.

Max took us to the airport on Thursday morning and we got home around 8:30pm.

I am getting ready for the pastors/wives that will be in our home tomorrow evening. Ray has helped me clean some (mainly putting away all the costumes, etc for the Christmas program that were laying EVERYWHERE in the living room) and I made pralines, vinegar cookies and fudge. Also made a run to the catholic church to pick up a bread order, visited the dollar store and bargain store for last minute details for the party and the program and then went to the grocery store. You ALWAYS have to go to the grocery store after being gone on a trip. The roads were quite slippery.
Ray has a couple to baptize this Sunday and that will be an exciting time for us. Ron & Kim Hart have been a part of our church since we have been here. Ray performed their wedding on the 7th of November. We will practice for our Christmas program and then have college/singles on Sunday night ( I will prepare the 7 bean soup recipe but since one of the girls is a vegan I will leave the meat out of some of the soup). Off and running here we go. Can't wait to see what all God has in store for us and our church. He is so awesome and as we celebrate His birth I pray that each of us will make more room in our lives for Him to live through us. MERRY CHRISTMAS Hope

Saturday, November 14, 2009

This is our 4th Fall in The Peace

May I tell you how glorious this fall has been so far? We hardly have any snow! The temperature has only gone down to -10C! The sun is shining! I am loving it ~ actually had on shorts and short sleeved top while cleaning house on Wednesday.

Wednesday was Remembrance Day (Veterans Day in US). Ray attended a service at The Legion Hall with standing room only. The stores were all closed and everyone had on their red poppies.

Fall has been busy for many reasons:

1. We had revival October 25-27
Ray's brother Terry with wife Darlene above lead music)

2. Ladies Bible Study on Wednesday mornings. (see note at end of blog)
(Yeah Mona for leading the Tuesday night study and Christine Z
for leading the "country" study.)

3. College/Singles Bible study on the 1st & 3rd Sunday nights

4. Young Married Bible study on the 2nd & 4th Sundays
(now moved to right after church with a bite of lunch).

5. Ray had trip to Cochrane for National Leadership Board meeting. (2nd-4th)

6. Ray is leaving Tuesday (17th) for Coaching Clinic (brand new and he is excited about this).

7. We have had a lot of folks in the hospital with illnesses and surgeries.

8. One of our members passed away, Mr. Bob Little, and we had a very large funeral at church.

9. We had a wonderful wedding at church, Ron Hart & Kim Horner, on November 7th.

10. The ladies have their annual tea and silent auction next Friday (20th) and I serve on that
committee with Hester (our fearless leader), Wanda and Bridget.
Christine Z will head up the auction.

11. I also serve on the Christmas Concert committee that Betty Hale chairs and she has done
an amazing job getting us ready for the program which will be on December 13th.

12. Our Christmas banquet is on the 11th and thanks to all the hard work of our ladies we have
new dishes and cutlery for the tea and the banquet!

13. The fellowship hall and kitchen floors were stripped on Monday (9th) & what a FUN time
Patty, Dawn, Christine Z and I had!! Sliding all over the place but what a difference our
efforts made. Then two ladies each day for 4 days have gone in and added a coat of wax.

14. We are trying to not get too excited about our trip to Texas for US Thanksgiving!! Woohoo!
Grandboys ~ here we come. We will fly out of GP on the 24th and return on December 3rd.
I know I am leaving out so much but wanted to just let you know we will be at LABC on the 29th and hope to see many of you then.
NOTE: I wanted to also let you know what a great Bible study I have been doing this fall. It is called Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer. There are so many voices calling out to us for our time and attention. How do we hear the gentle whisper of God's voice? Pray, read His Word, worship weekly, listen to your "Eli" and God will CONFIRM what He is saying to you. Now, after you hear Him what do you do? OBEY!! We as believers cannot be trying to decide IF we will obey ~ it's all in our name, CHRISTIAN. Love you all, HOPE

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Season of Thanksgiving

It is Pastor Appreciation Month and our folks at Cornerstone Baptist Church have the biggest hearts. The ladies ministry presented us with a Canadian Maple Leaf quilt in beautiful fall colors. I am the high peak in the middle behind the quilt!! Betty Hale is President of our women's ministry. They also had all my former and present Sunday School classes walk in and bring us a gift (cookies - very good) and sing songs and read some verses. A couple of them said they wanted to be like Pastor Ray.
It is almost Thanksgiving and I want to wish all my Canadian friends a Happy Thanksgiving. We will be having some folks over to help us with the ham and turkey. October is also a busy month for birthdays:
Aunt Marme - October 9th - Happy 85th
Niece Susie - October 12th Canadian Thanksgiving too!
Daughter-in-law Heather - October 14th
Nephew Connor - October 15th
This is wishing each of you a very blessed day to commemorate your birth. You are loved!

We had more snow last night and it was quite icy today. It did not get above freezing. Mr. Bob Little passed away and we are having our first funeral for a church member since we have been here. There was an amazing team of ladies at church tonight helping make lunch for tomorrow. I hope the weather will not keep folks from honoring this special gentleman.
I am glad that Ray and I drove to Grande Prairie yesterday. We needed some supplies for church and the bridge at Dunvegan was closed for 3 hours today - due to the weather.
I am trying to catch a cold and think I will head to bed - it is almost midnight here and hopefully Ray will have the bed all warm!! We have been looking for an electric blanket - you would think it would not be that hard to find one up here in the far north....... Sleep good, Hope

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall in The Peace

FALL in the Peace Country means our Ladies Retreat. Our team of young ladies did an excellent job in planning and carrying out our fun day. You will notice that we had a "What Not To Wear" show with Stained Up Stella, Raisin Wrinkled Rosie and Mismatched Molly (alias Carmen Enns, Bridget Zylstra and Christine Parker). MC's for the show were Stacy Lou (Rae Hale) and Quintina (Mona Wilson). The theme of our retreat was "A Fresh Brewed Life" which is also the title of a book that our speaker, Teresa Rilling, referred to while speaking. We enjoyed coffee and tea tasting (talk about a caffeine HIGH) and a judging of the cups that the attendees had brought as their favorite coffee/tea cup/mug. We ate, laughed, cried and fellowshipped the day away. Thanks youngins!!

Sunday we had a good day in worship, fun singing with the folks in Harvest Lodge and our Young Marrieds were looking over "the goal of marriage". Another full and rewarding day.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL - we know of one couple that loves football up here in our neck of the woods and since they are dyed in the wool Carolina fans and Dallas was playing the Panthers - we had a party. We grilled steaks and ate baked potatoes, caesar salad and yummy bread - followed by peach cobbler at halftime. Josh & Katie both had on Carolina Jerseys - so Ray and I need to step it up and get Dallas tee shirts anyway!! First half was awful but the second half was better (sorry Josh).

Ray and I took off to Grande Prairie to make a Costco run on Tuesday after I kept Alexis for a while (her brother goes to speech therapy here in town and she has more fun with me). It was a rainy day but we did get some pictures of the beautiful leaves and the Dunvegan Bridge. We enjoyed our time and as always the trip to and from GP is filled with plans for church and Hope making lists. When we stopped to pick up our mail as we got back to Fairview - I noticed that the rain had turned to something a little lighter..... ugh. SNOW on September 29th!! I think I may develop SAD (seasonal adjustment disease) before this winter is over. Just north of us they were blessed with 11" of snow.

Here is hoping that you are having a good Wednesday and living your life full of purpose and for eternal value. This time on earth is only temporal you know.. Get your voice tuned up to sing praises for all eternity. Love you, Hope

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Trip to Edmonton

Edmonton skyline

Thursday, September 17th - my baby brother's birthday, Ray and I drove to Edmonton. It was pretty much raining the entire way but we sure enjoyed our time together. We made a stop at Costco when we got into town and then checked into our hotel. We met Dennis Rempel and his fiancee for supper at Moxie's. Ray is to do their wedding next May so he began their counseling in our room. There were actually two rooms and I escaped to the bedroom and read while they got in 2 or 3 sessions since it will be long distance to do counseling.
Ray had an Executive Board Meeting on Friday at 12:00 (which is why we went to Edmonton). We had a chance to go to the Education Station which has great Sunday School supplies and I did some shopping for a blouse.
I just read while Ray was in his meeting - now if I had had a girl friend along I would have been shopping so it is good that I was on my own!! After Ray was free we drove home through Slave Lake for a different view. It was after 4:00 when we left Edmonton so if you count a six hour drive we should have been home around 10:00.....when we were outside of Wanham we were being very mindful of "animals" on or near the road and we saw a was a young girl hitchiking. Of course we stopped and picked her up. She asked if we had any water and had been walking for some distance and still had about 50 km to where she was going. She was 16 and had been ON HER OWN for two years and had just lost her job at a SLAUGHTER HOUSE. She was walking to a friends house in Woking. We told her we could take her to Rycroft and then we would turn north. Please remember I had been sitting in the car for 4 hours BEFORE we started home BUT was not surprised when Ray told Jaycie that we would take her to where she was going. Neither one of us could stand the thought of her walking all night in the dark! We shared the Lord with her and gave her some pamphlets to read - all she had was the clothes on her back.... but you do understand that she was not an exception - there are many "kids" in the same position she is in. Our hearts were heavy as we arrived home at almost midnight. We are praying for protection for our young friend.
Sunday was quite the change of pace and Ray and I both had itchy throats. I did my Sunday school class with 8 two/three year olds and my helper was working....ugh! Ray preached and then we had a church business meeting and he talked a lot more. It was also the day that was scheduled for our service (singing) at longterm care. OK - three down and one to go.... we had college Bible study at the house with sloppy joes (Sorry Tabitha - did not know we had a vegetarian in our midst - but will plan for next time). It was a good study time even though there were only 7 of us. It is always good to be in the WORD and talking about how great our God is and always will be. Yeah we made it and accomplished all the Lord had set out for us on this day. I was tired and Ray was totally wiped out. Almost like those COWBOYS!!!
I kept 3 kids for about 2 hours yesterday and worked on a puzzle to settle back down after Sunday... it was a great puzzle with 9 large colorful Mexican plates on shelves. I loved it and Ray actually helped me some.
Ray is at prayer time with some of the pastors in the area but we have been invited by our friends Mert & Ivan to go camping for tonight. Not the rough stuff - they have a 5th wheel that is about 35 feet long. We were going to Figure 8 Lake but decided to go camp at the Hines Creek Golf Course and maybe get the last game of the year in. The temperature is to start dropping and continue until next spring! I do not think I am ready - NO, I KNOW I am not ready.... and for sure Ray always says he is not. Ready or not cold/snow is on the way.

Well, I am going to get ready to play some golf and camp/eat. Love you all, Hope

(Next Sunday we only have church, Harvest Lodge and young married Bible study!!)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hope, Ray and Dave Brisbin

Hope when the COLD weather arrived.

This is our 4th September in Fairview, Alberta and the best (weather wise) so far. We are loving it! On Labor Day the Fairview Ministerial held their annual golf tournament and Ray talked me into playing. It was a scramble which helped but they had to use 2 of my putts and 2 of my drives - ok - I made it through that... thanks to the two other GENTLEMEN who played on our team. Dennis Radbourne & Dave Brisbin (pastor of the Gospel Chapel). They were such great sports! We played 18 holes with lunch separating the first 9 holes and the last 9 holes. The last two holes were played in rain/wind/cold. NO FUN!

Ray is out tonight playing for his Monday night league in the PLAYOFFS. It is beautiful today and I am so glad for him.

Yesterday was a marathon for us. Sunday school and church were of the normal variety but I was preparing lunch for all our teachers and spouses for teacher training which followed morning worship. We ate speghetti, caesar salad, garlic bread & pies. Ray did a good job with his presentation and inspiration for the teachers. We went home for a couple of hours and then had the kickoff for our "young marrieds Sunday night Bible study". We were at church a little over 3 hours with the "babies" - those guys look soooooooo young - and they are! We will be studying "Intimate Marriage".

Next week we will have Sunday afternoon service at the nursing home and be back to the College/Singles Bible study here in our home. Sundays do tend to be long days for us so please lift a prayer to the Lord and ask him to bless us with strength especially on Sundays.

It has not been that long since I wrote on the blog but wanted you to see us at the golf tournament. We got several prizes from drawings that were held at our dinner. Fun part!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Extra pictures just for the fun...

Our Fairview golf course is so pretty this time of year. The flowers and green grass - just waiting to be covered in snow!! Ugh...

Some of my Sunday school kids - the love of my life! A church in Hudson's Hope that is several different denominations and Ray & Hope overlooking the Peace River (taken by a man who drove by who was from Corpus!!!) Such a small world we live in. But Ray and I watched a Passion DVD by Louie Giglio and WOW - how BIG is God's great creation.....awesome!!

What a beautiful start to SEPTEMBER

It is close to 30C today and Ray is out at the Provincial pasture - sorting cattle. It is hard to imagine but that man can get into more stuff! I have been watching DVD's for Ladies Bible Study and College/Single Bible study, cutting out my new Sunday school kit, making new roll sheets for Sunday, working on the ladies Christmas tea that will be on November 20th and trying to figure out teachers for Sunday. We are missing a couple of teachers from our roster and would appreciate your prayers on our behalf to have people in place for every age group.

Since I last wrote we took a little road trip to Hudson's Hope, BC and toured the W.A.C. Bennett Dam. It is one of the largest earth filled dams around. I was not too keen on going underground to see all the mechanial workings of the dam but that was right up Ray's alley. We stayed in a 3 level log lodge which was built and run by a couple from Switzerland. So very serene there and the evening meal was scrumptious. It was a relaxing time even though we talked and planned church happenings the entire time we were on the road. We went fishing on Charlie Lake in Fort St. John and caught some Walleye and one Northern Pike. Those were new for us up here so we enjoyed our adventure. We had to purchase fishing license for BC since our Alberta one did not work for them.

We have had several brand new married couples start coming to church and we had 3 couples over for lunch after church on the 23rd. We made some homemade ice cream and it was the first time some of them had eaten any homemade cream. It makes our hearts rejoice to see the couples starting out their marriage attending worship. Now, if we can get them into a Sunday School class.

Ray and Ivan did a wonderful remodel job on the baptistry and we are ready to use it some more - that IS the point. Seeing people birthed into the Kingdom. We are waiting to see if anyone notices the improvement!

I mentioned Luke's speech at the Nokia center and if you want to see what made us and his parents sooooooo proud - you can go to this website and click on convocation and then click on student speaker Luke. Laura received so many encouraged words via emails and calls. Quite the little speaker! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. He mentions the "kid entrepreneur contest" that he won last year but he says it a little fast and in case you don't catch it that is what he was referring to. He had to form a business, market and sell a product and talk about it. He was making men's christian jewelry and doing a good little business!

Since the 30th was a 5th Sunday we had a special service with all singing. The group did a great job and we have some very talented folks. We also recognized all the children that were being promoted into different Sunday school classes. I am losing 4 from my class but gaining 5 little girls!! What will Hope do with those?
As always it is our honor to call you friends and we draw strength from the Lord and your prayers for us and our ministry. May you be richly blessed as you serve our blessed Savior in your area of the world. Until we meet again. Hope
I will do a post with just some pictures....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Adendum to August 15 post

The top picture is of Ray (light blue shirt) and Pastor Gerry Wegreen of the Alliance church. We spent the day at Stoney Lake with he and his wife and twin girls, Carrie & Christine. The boys were out in the boat doing some talking and fishing. You can see a couple of trees down on the far bank behind them - beavers don't you know. Their dam is right to the left of the downed trees.

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Our day started out rainy but turned out to be quite nice. The outlying areas have already had a frost - sure hope that is not an indication of our winter! It has been a busy August so far with things just about to completely get out of hand. We have had baptisms on the first two Sundays in August which were all a result of VBS (here and in Georgia). Ray is shown in the picture with three cousins, Jade & Sammy Wilson who are brothers and Ethan Wilson who is their cousin. I can hear Ray saying there is water here if anyone else wishes to come and be baptized.

We are getting ready for our new Sunday School year with hopefully an additional class. We will do some teacher training next Sunday. BUT this Sunday Ray has all the music/instrumental people meeting to set up praise teams. We had three but one couple moved south and we need to reorganize....we may even have four teams. Pray with him about how he uses the time and the importance of the team understanding that LEADING WORSHIP is such a responsibility.

We will be having College/Single Bible studies the 1st & 3rd Sunday nights and Young Marrieds on the 2nd & 4th Sunday nights. We have 14 to 15 young couples with 20 children - so this will need to have a lot of details worked out. NAIT has become GPRC (Grande Prairie Regional College) and they seem very open to working with us and promoting any college programs we have. Now if they would just stop having BEER NIGHT for the students...that would be a great improvement.

We also still do a rotation at the nursing home (Longterm care) and the retirement home (Harvest Lodge) on Sunday afternoons. Sometimes the schedule hits where we will do two a month. All of the above can make for a long Sunday - so when you think of us pray for our strength to be from the Lord.

I am getting beets out of the garden and we are eating lettuce, onions and carrots. I made some Harvard beets and was able to get some peaches from BC (British Columbia) and made jam. SEE ABOVE PICTURE. I need Matt here to help me shoot my food pictures!! He and Heather went to the balloon festival and enjoyed seeing it all. He took some great pictures.
I guess all our grandboys will start school this coming Monday....ready or not. Caleb said he was "sorta" ready for school. Luke was chosen to speak about one of his teachers at the Nokia center on 8/18/09. There will be an elementary student, junior high student and high school student speaking. There will be around 6000 teachers and administrators listening to him speak - he is excited and nervous - please pray for him to have a real peace about his speech.
We are planning a trip to Texas for Thanksgiving to eat some turkey! Can't wait to see all the family and find out how school has started out for the boys. We were able to get Roots (a Canadian brand) backpacks for the boys and hopefully Canada Post and the USPS will not let us down in getting the bags to them. There is no such thing as OVERNIGHT from up here or to up here!!
We are going to run over to see how the young marrieds are doing at the camp out - looks like we might have some more rain....
NOW A REVISION FROM OUR LAST POST - Ray's BC fishing trip - those were not Monk seals (those are in Hawaii - I knew the name sounded familiar) The picture was of Sea Lions!! Now you have the truth of the matter.
Love you all and pray for a great day of worship for each of you tomorrow.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer has actually arrived (32C)

Ray and I just got home from playing 9 holes of golf. He bought me a card which is good for 10 rounds of golf and we have only gotten 3 in so far this summer. It was a good time and with the warmer weather it is like summer time in Alberta. The last couple of weeks have been warm and I sure will not complain about that! Ray is trying his best to teach me how to hit my driver...ok that is coming along ok but now the iron shots are going south....way south. He says I need someone else to teach me (may not be a bad idea - hey Max where are you brother?)
The last posting was from our MSC Recognition Sunday so I am going to pick up from mid May and catch you up on the Shannons. We had a wonderful gift of $2500 for our VBS and that along with our budgeted amount helped us to be able to afford our T-shirts (that we ordered from Miss Karin and the MSC volunteers in May brought them to us) and literature - getting our Lifeway materials up here is killing us!

We had a group of our youth go to Youth Celebration in Edmonton thanks to Zenon & Mona Wilson. They all came back excited and spoke about their experiences in church on June 7th. That was the trip that we picked up trash on the highway to help send them on. This group has some young high school kids but no older ones. That can surely be a prayer for our church that hearts of the high schoolers here in Fairview would be drawn to the Father.

Our Canadian National Baptist Convention was June 30-July 2nd and I think I mentioned that I was asked to speak to the Pastor's Wives! I was soooooo nervous but God as usual proved to be more than abundant in provided what I needed to say and the strength to say it. (I did mention that Ray volunteered me for this - and promised never to do it again!) It was our first occasion to attend and we received a blessing from being there. The picture at the bottom left is Ray speaking to our President about student mentoring (his big passion

Right after we got home from the convention - Ray took off with Dr. Boshoff, his father-in-law from South Africa and Darcy Hale to Terrace, BC for a two day fishing trip. Ray called it a trip of a lifetime! The two PICTURES at the top are Ray with one of his salmon and a couple of Monk Seals. (Ray has promised to take me one day.)

Ray has been preaching through the Disciples Prayer (Model Prayer - Lord's Prayer) and it has been a great series. One of the couples in our 3rd praise team moved out of the area so we have just been using 2 teams this summer and they do two weeks on and then off two weeks. We hope to form a third team soon. Worship attendance has been down - everybody wants to take a holiday -(does that sound familiar?) What Christmas song?

Our VBS Director, Lora Casselman, and her two children traveled to Georgia to assist in Pleasant Ridge's VBS. While there - both of her children prayed to receive Christ!! Yeah... Lora came home with a vision of how the entire church should come together to do the work for VBS - like the spirit she saw in the Georgia family. Ray and I got to have Lora's husband, Jason, over for lunch while she was gone.

Our Father's Day service was so special. The women's ministry planned the day and gave all the men the day off (even Ray). There were three testimonies on "the joy of being a father" by some of our young fathers and two of our young married ladies (sisters) talked about what their dad meant to them. There were ladies singing, taking up offering and all the dads got big candybars. There was a luncheon where I cooked brisket and we had "beef on a bun" which is a favorite up here. The Cleardale Gospel Jamboree was this weekend also and Ray and I attended on Friday night and got to hear the trio "High Valley" - they did a great job. Since we did not have anyone to play the piano for our service at the retirement home we used the CD Hymnal which is CD's and it worked ok. It is always much better to have a LIVE BODY but it will work in a pinch.

We had a couple of Hale weddings in July - Annabelle married Michael Wilson and moved off to Toronto and Robbie married Rae Laturnus and settled in on the family homeplace. Ray did Robbie and Rae's wedding - they had been a part of our 20 Something Bible study on Sunday nights. We finished our round of babies and as far as we know are not expecting any right now.

On July 18th the group from Georgia got here - they flew into Edmonton and spent the night (after they finally got cleared through customs - they were thinking of sending them ALL back to Georgia). The immigrations officer called Ray and Ray told him we were expecting them and what they would be doing and he was very gracious to say they could be cleared!! There were 7 men (3 new ones from last year) and 6 ladies (als0 3 new ones from last year). On July 19th the Pleasant Ridge team led in our Parent Dedication worship service with special music and a DVD show with all six of the babies that were participating included. I had sent pictures and details for each child to them and Angie (their worship leader) did a great job putting it together with her husband, Ricky, and daughter, Heather. We had a potluck to feed the team and a nice long leisurely lunch. A lot of the decorating for VBS had already been done but we finished up after lunch. The team then headed to longterm care (nursing home) for our service there. The folks loved the lively music and the fact that 15 of us were singing.
Monday July 20th - VBS 2009 begins - we had preregistered over 100 children during the two weeks prior to VBS so Monday morning was not as hectic as previous years. I had my usual class of PreK children and on Wednesday had 28 of the little boogers. I had some wonderful help that GOD PROVIDED from many sources. One young man and his wife had visited our church the two Sundays prior to VBS and he said he could help....what a blessing. One girl was off from work on Tues and Thurs and she came in to help me out... God sent just the right people at the right time! My Georgia girl, Miss Sandra, was a bonus!!
There are so many stories from VBS and the numbers do not begin to tell it all. Ray has prayed with one of our 2nd graders and he and his two cousins will be baptized this Sunday!!! There is another girl who wants to be baptized and when Ray talked to her mom - she said I need to get some things right in my life and I need to find out what Haley is thinking - I WILL COME TO CHURCH SUNDAY and see....

There is much follow-up to do - please pray for the folks that we talk to that they will have open hearts to hear God speak. We had 258 enrolled with an average attendance of 204. We had combined the 3rd-4th grades since we did not have many last year.....they had 41 on Wednesday. Our craft folks outdid themselves keeping it all together. The young man who took the youth to Youth Celebration, Zenon, led our music - AWESOME!! He is now known as Mr. Z. Too cute. What energy - look out Jeff comes Zenon.

On the last day at our closing rally the parents were invited to attend and each class presented one of the week's songs for them....and then of course the race winner was announced. A girls pink Barbie car with Ken & Barbie was racing a remote controlled Toyota SUV and we had a roving reporter (Jake) that would call in each day and tell us who was ahead in their race across the Outback. Each dollar given was a KM driven. On the last day there was a DVD with the reporter out in the "outback" and talking on his cell phone (to Ray) and Ray told him to come on in (and he walked through the office door and into the worship center - a lot of children were asking Ray if Jake was real?) and he announced after some questioning who had won the race across the Outback - THE BOYS.... then Ray drew out names and one girl won the car and one boy won the SUV... it was a great way to do the offering - those children raised $2400.00!!! $1800 will go to the Seminary in Cochrane to help build a playground for the student's children and $600 will go to Vancouver, More Than Gold, to supply welcome bags and homeless bags to the folks there during the 2010 olympics.

The parents were invited to a Dingo Dog lunch and after a lot of tears the Georgia folks packed into their 3 vehicles and headed back to Edmonton to fly out on Saturday AM. One of the little Kindergarten girls lost her hearing aid and many hours were spent (with no success) looking over the vast playground and each room she had been in - what a way to end VBS. Ray and I were there until 5:30 since everyone seemed to disappear. Lora Casselman said "did people do this last year" and we said "yep"...she said that would be made clear for next year that you need to stay and empty your room. Sounds like a mighty fine idea.
When Ray and I got home that day I started washing sheets, towels, hoeing the garden and watering it, painting numbers to go on the outside of our house, paying bills - I was crazy with activity.... when I got up Saturday I kept it up.... I think it was just extra energy. It seems like on Sunday (26th) that a lot of folks had gone camping and this weekend is a long weekend as the 3rd is a Civic Holiday. In Sunday school last week I had the smallest children in with my class and it looks like this Sunday will be the same. So just say a little prayer when you head to your worship for Hope to have the energy and lesson needed to cover all the ages present.

I am going to make Ray and I some chicken salad for supper and plan on enjoying it. Hope this finds our family and friends healthy and loving the Lord Jesus just like it is for us here in northern Alberta... God bless you real good until I write again.... Hope

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Some more pictures!

Group from Acton Baptist Church in Granbury, TX. In our living room in Fairview 5/17/09

Hope walking on the trail around Figure Eight Lake on Mother's Day 2009

Fairview Golf Course in May (the tires are on top of plastic covering the #1 Tee box) and the white stuff is SNOW.

Finishing Winter - Having Spring? Which will it be?

What can I tell you - it has been a strange winter/spring! Just about the time I want to look at a pair of crop pants - it snows! So, jeans are good all the time. The picture at left was taken on the way out to church on May 17th! The picture above is at Figure Eight Lake and that is Ray acting like he does not have a care in the world on May 7th.

We have heard never to plant a garden prior to Canada's May long weekend (which is different from Memorial Day in the US). Monday the 18th of May was Victoria Day (like in Queen Victoria of old) and it is a big deal. Anyway - the last two years I have planted my garden the first weekend in May and gotten away with frozen veggies. This year I decided to wait and do it RIGHT. I did not hardly wait UNTIL May long weekend - I planted the Thursday before and we have had three snows since then. I think the little seeds are safe just so thankful I did not plant the tomato plants! Ray has been so good to bring in 10 pots/planters of flowers OR cover them up when it got below 0. Of course that same sweet man put boxes over my tulips as they came up to keep the deer away but alas at least 2-3 dozen were dinner for the deer. Made me just sick - but such is life. I have several inside our fence that are just about to bloom - finally we are having a day of sunshine.

We had the opportunity of having a 7th grader stay with us for almost a week when his mom & dad had to be in Edmonton for his uncle's surgery. He had a WII and almost every game that goes with it. Now, I had learned to COW RACE with one of our NAIT students who had lived here (Ryan) and so I love that game. I actually got to play on Guitar Hero (Terrance said I was even better than Ray - but believe me - that is not saying much). We were able to take him fishing one day and that was fun even though we did not catch any fish - the guy next to us was pulling them all out!

Ray and I have been back to Figure Eight Lake and done some fishing and hiking. It was Mother's Day and that is what I wanted to do. Matt called while we were out hiking and I had no idea we could even get cell service where we is amazing. We picked up trash on Ray's birthday - so why not fish on Mother's Day???

Last week we had two new babies born into our church family - Kaleb & Jasper...what precious boys and both red heads! The week prior to that on May 7th Zachary got here half grown (10 pounds 9 oz). Chelsie was born the end of April (our only girl but we were in NEED of boys in our nursery). Luan started the whole baby parade and made his big brother and sister proud. We have been busy with meals and showers lately....but that is a very good busy.

Sunday the 17th we had a group from Acton Baptist Church in Granbury, TX lead our Sunday School and worship. Ray had planned a Recognition service for Mission Service Corps Volunteers. We had folks from the Convention in Cochrane attend and also Ken & Darla Ponath from Cochrane who run the Disaster Relief and Baptist Builders here in Canada. We had a "potluck" after service and then they all crashed at our place for a while. Thirteen of them were able to make the trip North from Granbury. They were up here to put new siding on the Ivy Lake BC in Grande Prairie. They are working all this week. The ladies of the church sent me a huge box of goodies and I am just amazed at their generosity and praying hearts. THANK YOU ACTON BC....

Ray has gone to a Ministerial Meeting right now (the ministers of our town/area meet together once a month to plan. He then has a marriage counseling session and a hospital chaplaincy meeting and then praise team practice (I don't think I will see him until late!) Then Ray will leave early in the morning to drive to Edmonton (6 hours) for the Executive Board Meeting. He will drive home (6 hours)after the meeting so that will be a long day on the road. He will be traveling with Dick Hale, the pastor from Worsley. They will get in very late Friday night. Saturday we will have a "workday" at church and hopefully accomplish many tasks. Do you remember doing that?

Sunday night is the last of our College/20 Something meetings until Fall. We are having a hamburger cookout here at the house. Lawrence & Florence Smithson are so big hearted and have supplied most of our BEEF since we have lived here. The package of meat must have weighed 6 pounds that I made the patties from for our cookout. I hope the PARTY does not go too late as the next morning the 25th we drive to Grande Prairie very early for Ray to catch a flight to Calgary where the National Leadership Board will be meeting in Cochrane through Wednesday. So, I will make a trip back to GP on Wednesday to pick up the boy. It will be super quiet with him gone.

Our national convention is the end of June and first few days of July (I did tell you that Ray volunteered for me to speak to the pastor's wives - what a sweet man) It will be in Edmonton this year - we missed it the first two years we were here due to being on holiday. It was in Prince Edward Island last year and we were sorry to miss that lovely part of our Country.

Vacation Bible School is coming quicker than I would like. It is July 20-24 and I would like to ask you to be praying for us, our workers and students. We have the privilege of having Pleasant Ridge BC from Carrollton, GA coming back this year to help us out.....God is so good to send this wonderful team again this year. Several of the same folks are coming and we can't wait to catch up with them. They totally completed our school last year and filled in the gaps. They have such a gentle SPIRIT and were such a BLESSING to us.

We will not be leaving Canada this summer. It is the most wonderful time of the year here in summer. Perfect weather! We might make a trip over into British Columbia to see the sights and do some fishing but we will not fly SOUTH until maybe the US Thanksgiving. I have so enjoyed October Thanksgivings up here.
I am reading an old devotional book by Lloyd John Ogilvie "God's Best for My Life" and I wanted to share a little about the command to PERSEVERE. "Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon all the world, to test those who dwell on the earth".
I know when we read the paper we might ask - " will evil always be on the throne? How long must we wait for the vindication of God's people and purposes in human history? Jesus tells the Philadelphian Christians in Rev. 3:9-10 that He is still in control of history. There will be the constant rise and fall of evil empires and the ebb and flow of the tides of godless people. The very nature of the Christian faith is that it will always be in conflict with powers and causes that are against God.
The Lord praises their patient endurance. That's what we need, isn't it? Christ intercedes for us in the interfaces of transition when the world groans for peace, social justice, honesty, and love. Patience is seeing things from God's point of view and by His timing. Endurance results as the strength of our lives. We can live faithfully at any point of history, knowing that evil cannot prevail forever. The sense that God is still at work gives us courage to get to work wherever He would deploy us in His battle with evil. PATIENT ENDURANCE IS GOD'S GIFT FOR LIVING IN A SICK AND EVIL WORLD."
Just wanted to leave you with some encouragement to keep THE FAITH knowing that it is the Lord that enables you. H O P E

Sunday, May 3, 2009

New Things!

I have experienced a lot of "first" things while living in Canada. First place I ever lived where it got so cold and had so much snow, first vegetable garden, first time a deer has eaten tulips out of my yard, first time I had to "plug my car in", first time I helped cook for 330 people, first time I walked 5 km picking up trash, first time I signed up for Facebook....anyway you get the idea. Now, I want to tell you about a couple of these.

Our ladies ministry had turned in a tender (bid) on catering the Hines Creek Ag Show (Agriculture) and we got the bid. We decided to try this to earn some monies for women's ministry projects. On Friday April 17th several of us met at church at 10:00 and began cooking and preparing for the meal we would serve on the 18th. Six of the biggest turkeys I have ever seen were cooked along with I don't how many pork tenderloins. I know my part was mixing and baking 30 sheet cakes (some white, some chocolate and some marble). Poor Florence peeled about 100 pounds of potatoes! We were on our feet for many hours and then went home to rest for the next day. The 4 vehicles that would transport the food to the arena were loaded on Saturday morning at 10:00 and then we began the process of putting the following menu on the table for 6:00pm.

Turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, pulled pork on rice with sweet and sour sauce, strawberry-mandarin orange-spinich salad, caesar salad, cranberry salad, rolls and FIVE kinds of triffle. Thank heavens for all the ladies who helped and dropped in to add another hand or two when needed and for Lisa's husband Mel and Ray. We got it all on the table on time and the raves started coming in (I was just so worried that our church would get a bad rap if we did not pull this off). What a blessing to get to WORK with these ladies and see how they used their gifts to enable us to do a lot of ministry this year. We made around $3000.

NOW, the 2nd adventure was the highway clean-up that is always done on the first Saturday in May. Our youth group is going to Edmonton for YC in May and they needed to raise some money. The Province was paying $100 a kilometer to any group that would pick up the trash. They provide the bags, gloves and orange vests. We had to watch a video on safety and then on this past Saturday (Ray's 64th birthday) we headed out from church at a little after 8:00am. We had a section of highway from the top of Dunvegan to the town of Rycroft...roughly 15 km. Ray had made us a couple of dandy jive sticks so we would not have to BEND OVER and mess up two old backs! Our first assignment was a 1 km section and then and 1.5 up and back and then another 1.5 km walk. We were a couple of dirty old people when we were finished but we as a group raised $2000 for our youth. Ron and Pauline Friesen who own Dunvegan Gardens fixed us grilled hot dogs, chips and sodas. What a treat - then they let us have a free trip to their ice cream store!! We were all so hungry that it was definitely an act of mercy for them to provide our food.

I know today was a full day. Ray got a call early to fill in teaching a Sunday School class. It was my day to keep my Sunday School class during worship time. We had afternoon service at the Harvest Lodge (retirement home). Then we had to get home to cook for the College Bible study group. We had a great time with the "gang" and then we welcomed Robert & Lou Chadwell from Texas.

I am noticing it is almost midnight and my brain cells are almost I will try to attach some pictures and call it a night.

Our Jacob called and told Papa that he caught a 10 pound large mouth bass....boy was he excited - and so were we!! Way to go Jake.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Just a few pictures from our Texas trip

Paul & Laura outside Mac's
Fisherman PEYTON at Lake Lewisville

Caleb eating sushi Heather & Cole (9) at Lake Lewisville

Ray eating worms!!

We got to go to one of Jake's baseball games

Nanny Luke (11) Caleb (13)

Matt Ray Paul

The girls after a wonderful breakfast
I think I got all the family in a picture... Laura must have been hiding - I think I got her in two pictures... and one was of the whole family.
When we got home we had to drive back to Fairview but the weather held for us. Our first Sunday back (the 29th of March) we had a baptism service and baptized a young man who plays in a band. We also had our college Bible study on that Sunday night and there were 19 here at our home. We ate corn chowder, biscuits and had rhubard or blueberry cobbler... The boys liked the biscuits! I finished up the Tuesday night and Wednesday morning Ladies Bible Studies with a supper and a luncheon.
On Palm Sunday we had a joint service at the United Church that evening and one of our ladies had us prepared to sing two songs at the service - it lasted for two hours with all the churches doing a couple of songs with scripture readings interspursed. We will also have a joint Good Friday service at the Westside Community Church.
If one of our ladies does not have her baby today they will induce her tomorrow (Good Friday) and we will travel to Grande Prairie to see her and get pictures of the baby to have in the service on Sunday.
Our Annie Armstrong goal is $3500.00 and the theme is Live with Urgency. Therefore Ray is preaching a series of sermons on Living with Urgency. I am sure it will be good to hear what he has to say (he is speaking at the Good Friday service too).
He is waiting on me at this very moment to come and cut his I will close for now and check in with you later. Lovingly, Hope

Friday, March 27, 2009

Our Texas Holiday/Vacation

This is Hope Shannon and I am going to detail our recent trip to Texas for you.

Just before leaving Fairview, Alberta we had an exciting time of worship at Cornerstone Baptist Church on March 8th. There were two baptized in our morning service. One was a young man who would have his 16th birthday the very next day and the other was a dad of a 5 year old little girl. God is so good to provide such a salvation for all who will call on Him. We had a potluck dinner after the service and had around 135 in attendance.

On March 9th Ray and I along with Darla Ponath drove to Cochrane, Alberta where Darla and her husband Ken live. He is over the Baptist Builders and she is over the Disaster Relief. She has been overseeing the Missions House at the Convention and we were able to stay there on Monday night. We also were able to have dinner with DK & Brenda Hale along with Ken & Darla. It is always good to catch up with friends and find out what is going on in their life.

Tuesday morning found Ray visiting with Aaron, one of the seminary students who would be staying in our home the next weekend and preaching at our church. Darla then drove us to the airport and we were on our way to visit our family and friends in Texas.

On arrival around 7:00pm Max and Janice Graber picked us up and we drove to El Rancho Grande in Ft Worth for some of the best Tex-Mex food ever made. We were met there by Frank & Patty Ford and Linda & Larry Carter. What a relaxing time - except for when we looked around and everyone else was gone and the chairs were up on top of the tables...oops we needed to leave. We stopped by our son Paul's home and hugged grandsons Jacob (15), Caleb (13) and Luke (11). Our daughter-in-law, Laura, had our house looking so nice. They are currently living in our home. We slept at Janice and Max's home which was close by in Arlington.

Tuesday morning found Ray picking up a car from Ron & Carol Hey for us to use during our visit. They were most gracious to provide our transportation. I did some major shopping for jeans and baby clothes at Kohl's. I sure miss that store! Janice and I ate at the Corner Bakery and I enjoyed a club panini and black current tea (COLD). That afternoon I picked up Jake from his house and he rode with me to get Luke and Caleb from their schools. Paul and Laura's three sons attend a high school, middle school and elementary school. A lot of fun for morning delivery and afternoon pickup! Max and Ray got some visiting time in while Janice and I attended her monthly Pokeno group. It used to be my group too and they are actually holding my spot...what a group of great ladies. Ann Hale and Patty Ford provided a wonderful tasting dinner with pecan crusted baked chicken and a delicious peach pie.

Our first few days there it was rainy and cool which was a big disappointment to Ray and I as we were seeking warmth after leaving a -36C in Canada. On Thursday we took Luke & Caleb to school and visited the Christian book store to pick up some VBS teacher material. We decided to drive to Corinth to see the two younger grandsons which is a little over an hour drive. We arrived a few minutes before Heather pulled up and she let us take the boys to Sonic for a cold drink. Peyton wanted a vanilla shake with hot fudge in it and we just sat and did some catching up on what was going on with them. We took a little side trip to Walmart and looked at toys. When we got back to their house Heather had a wonderful dinner of chicken and dumplins. Cole is 9 and Peyton is 6 but will be 7 in July. After the boys went to bed we drove back to Arlington.

On the 13th of March Janice had planned a great "couples" dinner for some of our friends. It was so good to see them. We had not been in Arlington since June of 2007. We ate and played a game and then they asked us what our highest high and lowest low had been over the last two years. It was a reflective time and then they prayed for us. We are so blessed with Godly friends. Then we got to have chocolate cake and homemade vanilla ice cream... YUM!

Carol Hey turned "60" on the 14th and she and Ron TOOK US out for breakfast at Mimi's. It was our first time to visit this restaurant and what a nice treat. I had the cinnamon raisin french toast and Ray had the Belgium waffles...they almost floated out of the room.

We were able to have all our family under our roof on Saturday afternoon. The grandboys are not able to get together that often so it is a nice "gift" when they can. I fixed Carmen Enns' sweet and sour meatballs, mashed potatoes, caesar salad and biscuits along with blackberry cobbler. Ok, have you picked up on the trend that we ATE the entire time we were in Texas and brought back several extra pounds?

Sunday morning found us at Lake Arlington Baptist Church and in the Adult I Sunday School Department at 8:30am. Eunice Menefee had invited us to share the entire time and show pictures of our church in Canada. It was fun to see the folks we had loved and served for so many years....but also sad that some were gone on to glory since we had left. We sat in worship with Paul, Laura and boys and experienced a powerful praise time with a good message following. Laura was giving a baby shower afterwards so Ray and I went to Mac's with Janice and Max...they have the best Sunday brunch (cinnamon rolls to die for). Ray and Max HAD to go play golf to walk off some of their lunch and Janice and I had to shop. We went to see the movie "New In Town" since it was about a lady who went from Miami to Minnesota (like the Shannons leaving Texas and going to Canada). It was a cute movie and I really could relate to it.

Can you believe that someone would go on holiday/vacation and have their teeth cleaned? Well Ray and I did and we sure do thank Dr. Mark Moore for letting his girls take such good care of us. We then headed to Cedar Creek Lake where Paul and Laura and Jacob, Caleb & Luke were staying for spring break at Laura's parents (Mike & Mary Fickle) and Laura's grandma (Memaw Husketh). The weather was beautiful for spring break and we got to do a lot of visiting and fishing. Those boys were out in the boat or on the dock fishing the entire time. Pop Fickle has a great fishing boat that knows the way to the great bass holes.

On Tuesday Ray and I drove Jake into Arlington for a Martin High School Baseball game. It was a great win and we enjoyed the one on one time with our oldest grandson.

More fishing, visiting, EATING and getting larger continued for the entire time at the lake. Thank you Laura for all the good meals you planned. Mary had a broken arm and was still able to be a wonderful hostess.

Paul and Caleb left for a father-son fishing outing to Lake Sam Rayburn Wednesday evening and on Thursday morning we headed to Corinth to stay at Matt & Heather's for a few days.

Cole and Peyton took Nanny Hope on a picnic to their local park and then we went on a hike. We did not stay long after we saw a large swarm of bees. Cole is like his daddy and does not like buzzing anythings! We did go see "Race to Witch Mountain" and ate popcorn and cotton candy.

Matt & Heather live close to Lake Lewisville so we took a picnic and fishing poles and headed there for the afternoon. It was a beautiful day and full of fun and relaxation. We toured an open house that listed for 1.2 million and was situated on 3 acres overlooking Lake Lewisville. You could get lost in there.

THE DAY we were waiting for....we attended Southmont Baptist Church. Matt & Heather's Sunday school class was in the middle of a marriage series and we enjoyed the time laughing and learning. Paul and Laura and sons along with Heather's parents (David & Debbie Bennett) and her grandmother (T Momma) were able to be with us in church to see Ray baptize Peyton. I will attach a picture. This made our family complete in the Lord. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. After the worship time we ALL went to Johnny Corina's for some Italian food (had not had this yet...) We went back to Matt & Heather's and visited and then went to baseball practice with Cole. It was a very windy and cool evening.

The next morning we were able to take Cole and Peyton to school before we headed back into Arlington. Several of the GIRLFRIENDS met at Friday's for a birthday lunch for Linda Carter (yes, she really is a Wonder Woman). I was able to get in to see my former hair stylist and get my mop cut which was a much needed stop. I picked up Luke and Caleb from school and headed to Max and Janice's to meet up with David & Phyllis Jenkins (Ray served on staff with David for over 20 years). We NEEDED to go eat at Red, Hot & Blue for a pulled pork sandwich with slaw on top with a baked sweet potato on the side. The cinnamon butter for the potato is a bonus.

Now after all this food the next morning Patty Ford, Nina Burgett, Janice and I met for breakfast! The four of us used to get together to pray for our families and it seemed like old times to be able to have this particular group together. I had to leave them to go to lunch with Paul, Laura and Matt at Mac's (Matt used to work here while in high school). The good news is we skipped supper but did sneak in a banana split before going to Luke's baseball game. What a real blessing to be able to attend some of the boys sporting events. Luke had also won entrepreneur of the year for 5th grade at Cory Elementary. He makes MENS JEWELRY and sells it. The whole program was a very big deal and he received a $100 savings bond. He was quite proud as he should be.

The sad day has arrived and we headed to the airport (thank you Max) to fly back to Calgary where Darla was waiting. It seems like we are so very far from Texas but it is just a short flight and a long drive home. Darla got out at the new Bass Pro Shop in Airdrie where Ken and her two brothers, Manny and Stan were checking out the new place. After telling them goodby we started the drive home - which Ray did solo. God treated us to a magnificent display of Northern Lights just outside of Fairview. Ray stopped so I could TRY to take some pictures but there is hardly a way to capture God's creative genius. I needed Matt who is a photographer to be here. We arrived home around 10:30pm and were greeted by Ryan and Shaun our two NAIT students who live with us. It seems like it is always BOYS.....but we sure do love all our boys.

We feel so blessed to be able to take a holiday/vacation and have folks to lead in ministry in a very capable way while we are absent. Thank you to each of you who prayed for our safety and relaxing time away. We are refreshed and anxious to "live with urgency" which is Ray's current sermon series. We are hopeful that anyone who reads this blog will seek to live a life worthy of the Lord Jesus. We know we are not worthy of the grace He has shown to us by sending us to serve this wonderful group of folks. Now let's all work till Jesus comes.

Lovingly, Hope

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Moose at Visitor's Center
Hoarfrost 2/13/2009
So, did you do "something" in the name of LOVE today? Don't you love the way that the greeting card companies make up things for us to celebrate. Of course Valentine's Day has been around for a long time and we can choose to have fun with it or make ourselves miserable when we do not get something we wanted...especially from our significant other. If you have done any reading from Gary Chapman's book "The Five Love Languages" then you know that GIFTS is one of the languages than can determine if a person feels lovedl loved. Boy, am I glad Ray and I neither one have that as a heart language!! We just enjoy being together...makes it quite easy and cheap.

We are having a Family Game Night at church with spaghetti supper tonight. I am looking forward to spending time with friends and just being silly. I even "bought" a cheesecake to take but WILL make a salad. Ray will tell you that I always feel compelled to bake something whenever we are having a get together at church or in our home... maybe I am outgrowing that trait.

We drove to Grande Prairie yesterday and picked up our glasses (hopefully Ray will hold on to his good and tight this time since his last pair are on Maui somewhere). We are both adjusting to progressive lens and the distance away we need to be from our book to read something....this may take a few days.

On Thursday morning we got a call about a member's house fire...thankfully it only damaged the family room and garage. It is a scary time of year to think of being displaced from your home. When driving home from GP we stopped in to see the damage to the house. They own Dunvegan Gardens and as we pulled into the Visitors Center there was a moose standing at the door - it looked like he wanted in...then he walked over to the pay phone and it looked like he wanted to make a call. Ray and I pulled the car as close as we could get and watched him for a while. They are quite interesting creatures. As it turns out the folks were most blessed as a passing motorist saw the fire in the chimney and called them to alert them. God is good!

It snowed some yesterday and today but the most spectacular sight was the "hoarfrost" that we received yesterday - which is still hanging around today. I will try to attach a picture showing some of the effects. The fog moves in and just freezes to everything...a picture cannot begin to show the magnitude of the scene.
I pray that this will find each of you living each moment of your life in a state of God consciousness or God awareness. My brother mailed me a book "A Testament of Devotion" by Thomas R. Kelly (Quaker missionary, educator, speaker, writer, and scholar 1893-1941). The premise is to be AWARE of God's presence every moment of your life. I am working my way through it with the knowlege that I know that is the kind of relationship that God desires from each of us that call Him Father. Think about that and we will talk about it soon.
Loving each of you and thankful for your input into our lives and work here in Canada. Hope

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I'm thankful that Ray is hardheaded!!

What a beautiful day we had in Fairview today. It is Saturday the 7th of February (Happy Birthday Ed Peterson) and it was +5C today. We had a few snow flurries but no more accumulation. Our week has been a little bit different though... Last Sunday as Ray was walking out of church to go drive the car closer to the door to pick me up - his feet went out from under him on the "glare ice" and the first thing that hit was the back of his head. He was knocked out for a couple of seconds and then attempted to get up and he could not get his legs to move - now that was a scary time for him. On his second attempt he was staggering up with dizziness and blurred vision. One of our members who is a fire and rescue volunteer, Josh Zylstra, came along side Ray and got him to our car - yeah that's right put the man behind the wheel of a car in his condition..... Ray drove to the door and when I got in someone had told me that he was hurt and I noticed the large abrasion on the back of his head - "one way to cover up that bald spot". We had two families over to our house for lunch so we just continued like nothing was wrong... I tried to get Ray (in front of witnesses) to go get himself checked out at the hospital....but I AM FINE was the reply - now all of you ladies know how the men are about doctors... He still had some blurred vision and a bad headache. We had more company that came over to watch the super bowl and so we had company all day and I did not get to really question Ray like I would have liked to. His headache continued (and he still has one) into the next day with him doing all the regular activities - except NO WORKING OUT. The ladies started their spring Bible studies this week on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. We got a call on Tuesday morning that one of our member's dad had passed away and Ray went immediately to the home. Then he went to pastors prayer time that several of the Fairview Ministerial pastors are involved in. He did some discipleship on Tuesday evening.... all the while with his headache. Finally Wednesday AM he went to the hospital here in Fairview to get it checked. They did several X-Rays and determined from the symptoms that Ray had a concussion. He was told to stay off the computer, to not read and not to watch television and to mostly SLEEP. OK - trying to keep that man off his computer was not something that was going to happen. He studies close to 8 hours a day!! I did manage to get him to agree to no more than 30 minutes at a time and then he had to take a rest/nap. That has helped to decrease his headaches to bearable. The doctor said he would have headaches for a few weeks and if he followed orders the time would shorten.

I managed to squeeze in a birthday this week - the big 62. I enjoyed many phone calls, emails and facebook wishes. We decided to celebrate when Ray was feeling better.

We spent most of Friday involved in the funeral which was in Worsley (about an hour away). I think Ray would have loved to preach the service but this task fell to the United Church's lady pastor. We love Mel & Lisa and were glad to be there to lift them up in the death of Mel's dad. When we were driving home from Worsley we did see two moose...they were our first this winter!!

We got to visit over lunch with Darla & Ken Ponath today. Ken is over our Canadian Baptist Builders and Darla is carekeeper of the Missions House in Cochrane and works closely with Ken in Disaster Relief. What a blessing for us to spend some time with them.

Tomorrow is a busy day with Ray having regular Sunday school with 20 Something, preaching and then service at the longterm care at 4:00PM and our College Bible Study tomorrow evening. I am fixing pancakes and all the trimmings for them.

Ray just came in from spending some time with one of our deacons and his headache is better....praise you Father God.

I would love to thank each of you who pray for us and continue to ask the Lord to bless our ministry here in Fairview. We are excited to have Bett Hale working on music for Palm Sunday and Easter. She is a joy to us.

We are excited to be going to Texas to see the grandboys for their spring breaks. We will be a little late for Luke's birthday (2/9), Caleb's birthday (2/28) and Jake's birthday (3/6)....but we will surely CELEBRATE while we are there. We love them and do miss them - of course we miss Paul & Laura AND Matt & Heather too... we will have the privilege of seeing RAY baptize Peyton on the 22nd of March - that will complete our heavenly family. We hope to visit friends at LABC especially on the 15th of March. We will hopefully catch some fish with the older grandboys at Cedar Creek Lake and then do some hiking and picnicking with the younger two... just so excited!!!

We want you to know that you are loved and that God is indeed blessing us here. He is our strength and source - hope He is that for you as well. H O P E & R A Y