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