What a refreshing time Ray and I enjoyed in Jasper, Alberta. On Tuesday the 27th we left Fairview and drove to Grande Prairie (enjoyed a Tim Horton's breakfast sandwich and coffee), Grande Cache and then into Jasper Nat'l Forest. Upon arrival we grabbed a Subway sandwich and were off to Maligne Canyon and Medicine Lake. Two of our favorite places! I will attach some pictures. We saw one of the biggest elk ever and it caused quite a traffic jam on Maligne Road. We stayed in town at the Whistler Inn and found a restaurant "La Fiesta" - YUMMY. Ray ate nachos (huge) and I had enchiladas. We know they will be in heaven. We slept in on Wednesday as we both crashed after two VBS's and everything else this summer. We ate a wonderful breakfast at the Inn and then headed to a 12:20 tee time at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. I rode and took pictures....lots and lots of pictures. Ray played with three members of the club and they were helpful on where to place a particular shot. Ray asked them about bears and they said one time they had to wait about an hour while a momma bear and two cubs played around one of the tee boxes. Imagine the site!
That evening we drove into town for a bite at Earls - Ray ate a hamburger (his favorite food) and I had soup, salad and pan bread (a speciality at Earls). Of course we ended up with ice cream every night after our meal. We walked the property at the Fairmont and found the bald eagle that I had taken pictures of earlier in the day. There are walking trails EVERYWHERE and we so enjoyed our evening.
The folks at the lodge said that this was the FIRST warm week they had this summer. One of the girls, Sarah from Ontario, said she works at the golf course three days a week and had been in winter overalls just the week before. I guess the weather is tricky in the Canadian Rockies.
On Thursday Ray played golf again but I opted to read, walk, sip cool drinks in the lodge and visit with the young folks that worked there. We ate at the lodge that evening and had the most elegant supper (and we were the only ones on the whole patio - most of the folks eat later). I had a watermelon, spinach, pineapple salad with raspberry vinaigrette - Ray ate a plain Caesar!! He ate a rib eye and I had the best pasta I have ever put in my mouth. We then headed to town to see INCEPTION - the movie everyone was talking about..... needless to say Ray and I both found it to be too far fetched. We drove around the lakes and just looked at all of God's beautiful creation for the rest of the evening and then topped it off with ice cream. There are little shops all over Jasper that sell ice cream...and when you see someone walk by licking a nice big waffle cone - you have to go get one (don't you?)
On Friday morning we checked out of the lodge and drove home (after stopping in at Bear's Paw bakery). We spent the time driving to and from Jasper working on church planning for the fall and making a lot of plans. It was a productive time as well as a relaxing time.
The clothes are all washed and put away and our church clothes are ironed for tomorrow, Ray's sermon is ready and my Sunday school lesson is ready. Now, we pray the Lord will come and make His presence known to the people who attend Cornerstone tomorrow. Shake it all up, Lord, and we will praise You.
We got a call from Matt a couple of hours ago and he was at the emergency room at Denton Regional Hospital thinking he was having an attack of appendicitis.... HE WAS RIGHT and is in surgery. So we are anxiously waiting to hear from Heather. Paul is driving up to Denton to check on his little brother. We are praying that all will be taken care of and he will return to good health quickly. It is hard to live far away when things like this are going on... Psalm 136 speaks to God's love enduring forever and He has certainly been with us... May HE be glorified in our family. HOPE
In the movie "Fireproof" there was a song that touched my heart. It is "While I'm Waiting" (by John Waller) .... it seems that the Lord has us wait a lot.... look in His word and see how many times the word WAIT appears! It might surprise you. Anyway, I find myself waiting.... so enjoy the words and even look it up online and listen to it... I pray it will bless your heart too.... Hope
I'm waiting I'm waiting on You, Lord And I am hopeful I'm waiting on You, Lord Though it is painful But patiently, I will wait I will move ahead, bold and confident Taking every step in obedience While I'm waiting I will serve You While I'm waiting I will worship While I'm waiting I will not faint I'll be running the race Even while I wait I'm waiting I'm waiting on You, Lord And I am peaceful I'm waiting on You, Lord Though it's not easy But faithfully, I will wait Yes, I will wait I will serve You while I'm waiting I will worship while I'm waiting I will serve You while I'm waiting I will worship while I'm waiting I will serve you while I'm waiting I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord
What a great two weeks. Looking at it from the other side I remember being so "afraid".... so much to do, how will it all work. My last post showed the beginning of our Vacation Bible School in Hines Creek. The 4 day school (which was designed around the team that was SUPPOSED to come from Texas) and then the kids singing for the parents and our picnic on Friday had an enrollment of 51. What a great group of kids. We were very well received and will hopefully be able to do that next year as well. The site was so perfect and the caretakers of the museum were so helpful to work with throughout the week. The theme/Bible content for this year and the music were some of the best that Lifeway has had in a few years.
The school was over on the 16th and on the 17th our team of 13 from Georgia arrived in Fairview. We had 10 returning folks and 3 new ones from Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church in Carrollton, GA. This was their 3rd year to join us and they have seen our kids grow in their faith. We added "Missions" back into our rotation this year and that was a huge blessing (Thanks Angie & Becky for taking the lead). We had 233 enrolled with an average attendance of 198. Our youngest worker was 12 and our oldest was 76.... you are never too young or too old for God to use your gifts and talents. REMEMBER THAT! I am 63 and on Wednesday there were 32 four year olds (picture) in our room. Thanks to Sandra, Brittany, Alex (visiting from Mexico) and my neighbor who will be an 8th grader, Brittany. Tuesday was CRAZY HAIR day (picture) and the kids got totally into it.
The Georgia folks came to our home for lunch everyday but each evening they were hosted by a church family for a meal that caused me to gain several pounds this week. Great job! Ron & Pauline Friesen, Mel & Lisa Lubeck, Zenon & Mona Wilson and Hennie & Hester Boshoff. For lunch on Wednesday Carmen Enns & Christine Parker brought us soups - yummy. They also enjoyed some 5 pin bowling and decided that 10 pin was easier!
We got to take advantage of our new deck (thanks Nathan Wegreen and all who helped him) and used it for the 5th-6th grade classroom. We thank Dan Dockery for his suggestion that we add some additional space between buildings. The two easy ups (gifts from Carrollton Baptist Association and Pleasant Ridge BC two years ago) allowed protection from the sun but unfortunately no rain. Our 'peace country' is the dryest it has been in years and we need prayers for all our farmers as they will suffer financially from this drought.
Friday was a hard day for Ray as he learned that a good friend had died from cancer. We will miss Randy Pittman and our prayers go out to Teri, Daniel & Trisha.
Ray preached the most awesome sermon this morning. He used the whole Bible School week for our folks. Who Am I? Does God Care About Me? What Is God's Plan For Me? How Can I Be Like Jesus? What Do I Do Now?
Things to remember -
Spiritual questions need spiritual answers.
Christianity is more than a 'hope so' life.
Christianity is a 'doing life'.
Things to ask -
Does my life line up with the life of Christ?
Is my hope in this world or in the life of Christ?
Have I truly received Him as my personal Lord?
He actually had a visitor (who is a catholic) say - "I wish it was as easy as you say pastor"
Pray for this one to find Jesus.... it is as easy as Ray said!!
Ray and I are taking a little road trip to Jasper. We will go to Maligne Canyon (look it up on the internet - it is so beautiful) and golf a couple of days. Ray had promised if I was still standing after the two weeks of VBS's that this would be a time of refreshing.... before new Sunday School year and all. He is a man of his word... I will send you some wonderful pictures of God's beautiful world when we return. To Him be the glory - great things He has done!!!!
Can I just tell you how great our God is? What an awesome first day at mission vacation Bible school. I had 12 4 year old-Kindergarten children (9 boys and 3 girls).... God just keeps giving me boys!! I did manage to get a picture of the three girls sitting together, Mansi, Amie & Becca. Precious. I had two wonderful youth helpers that I am praising God for.... Ashton & Skylar - THANK YOU GIRLS.... The setting for our VBS in Hines Creek is so perfect for the Saddle Ridge Ranch theme. We are in the town's museum of old buildings and churches... notice the logs that the OLD SCHOOL HOUSE is made out of in my classroom.
It was snack time and rather than be outside where we were freezing.... we ate in our room. On Sunday we went up to set up our rooms and those old windows DO NOT OPEN so I was burning up.... I determined to be cool on Monday and BOY was I!! I have actually had the heat on in our house today... in JULY... can you imagine? I was so cold when I got home that I put on jeans, jacket and socks. Ray (poor thing) is out in this weather playing in his Monday night golf league... the wind is gusting to about 60 km.
Our verse today was from Psalms 139:14 "I am wonderfully made".... these are the cutest kids. I had two sets of twin boys.... lucky me...and they are all wonderfully made!
I will keep you posted and thanks for all the prayers. Thankful, Hope
CNBC Canadian National Baptist Convention - what an awesome group of people! Ray and I flew out of Grande Prairie, Alberta on Monday morning July 5th. We traveled through Calgary and then on to Toronto. Phil Brown, one of the local pastors, was kind enough to have one of his fellow workers, Don, pick us up from the airport (boy am I thankful for that). The GTA - Greater Toronto Area has over 6 million people. Our first night we enjoyed a Taste of the World with foods from a lot of countries. We then had the privilege of hearing from our Executive Director, Gerry Taillon. We had the opportunity to hear great Cuban music and worship. It was a good but long day. On Tuesday Phil was our tour guide as we got to experience Niagra Falls...God is just an awesome creator. It was very hot and humid but the sights and the fact that we had a LOCAL driving us around was beyond words. We drove down Niagra Falls Way and went into the town of Niagra on the Falls. What beautiful homes, gardens and vinyards. We returned to Missisauga to where our hotel was located and got a ride into the Portico church for our evening worship time with Tom Elliff and another great group from Sanctuary Church in Milton. (www.jasonmcgibbonproject.com) "Where You Lead" is an awesome song. Wednesday morning was our business session and my sweet hubby was elected 2nd Vice President of the CNBC. What an honor to be so well thought of by your peers. The different agencies presented reports and they blessed us. The session lasted until 12:30 and then there was a pastor's wives luncheon and sharing time. We had a short break and then back for the evening session. We heard from our president, Rick Lamothe, and another great word from Tom Elliff. There was a season of altar calls from both men and a very reflective and humbling time. The music was provided by Sequoia church with a lead singer, drummer (several kinds of drums) and a guitarist (several kinds of stringed instruments). I would take any of them home with me! Thursday morning was filled with Equip Sessions and Ray and I went to two each. Our "Flags of Nations" was during the evening service. As the youth marched in with the flags of all of our Provinces and countries where we have missionaries (including black flags for where we have folks serving in countries closed to the Gospel). We heard God stories from several folks, some IMB folks who are back home from India, a MSC family from Texas now serving in Canada. It was gut wrenching to hear how much people pour themselves out for service to the Lord. Tom Elliff topped the night off with another word from God. Friday morning found us catching a shuttle to the airport at 6:15am (that is 4:15am our time). We were a little late getting off the ground in Toronto and so we missed our connecting flight in Edmonton....it was a nice treat to have lunch at Montana's while we waited for the next flight to Grande Prairie. Once we arrived in GP we had some last minute shopping to do for VBS..... Now, I think a lot of you are aware that we had a church in Texas say they would be here the week of the 12th-15th and wanted to "do something". I had wanted to do a mission VBS in the town of Hines Creek (about 20 minutes north of us) and so we turned them loose to plan and present this school. All was fine until we were driving home from holidays in the US and got an email that they would not be able to come at all. We felt that the children should not be disappointed and we would find a way with God's help to do two schools. Thanks so much to our folks who did step up to the plate and will be doing TWO VBS's. Actually it is so cool! We have rented the Museum in Hines Creek and it looks exactly like an old western town! We have around 30 kids enrolled and will hit the ground in the morning. SO PLEASE PRAY FOR US THIS WEEK. We are working with a skeleton crew but with God leading the way - to Him be the glory.... love you all and will keep you posted......