Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sunday Reflection and another slide show

This Sunday morning Ken and Bethany will share a bit about our trip with our congregation. I thank them for doing that. I know this trip really affected Ken and that has been neat to watch. Bethany too has grown a great deal since her visit 2 years ago. They will have good words to say. I'll publish there text here next week, I hope. John also made a new, and shorter slide presentation - 5 minutes this time. Here it is. Enjoy.

April 22nd Reflection evening

So, last Tuesday, the 26 of us got together with about 60 other interested people, young and old, and we spent some time reflecting about our Peru trip.

We gathered in the Sanctuary of Calvin church on the stage, all of us wearing our shirts.

(The team ready to share)

We began our evening with a slide presentation by Shawn B. He did a wonderful job of putting together his feelings about the trip through song and picture. It will hopefully soon be available on this blog.
After singing our opening Spanish song that we had sung for the church in Peru, we moved on to various categories to share. Things like talking about Frontline Peru, the organization we went with. Sharing about the church, the city of Pachacutec, the clinic we visited, our VBS and Craft and Drama's, and more.

(Singing our Spanish Song)

I think this gave everyone present a good idea of what we did during our trip. Oh, and we had pictures to go along with the various topics. Oh, Oh, we also talked about the food we ate, right Colin. He took LOTS of pictures of food.

(Brian doing his Presentation on the construction work we did)

After a short stretch break, we opened things up for general discussion. We talked about our high points, and our struggles during the week. How the trip affected us. How we saw God at work during the week, and more. We ended with some questions from those that had gathered with us.

(Our family and friends who came out)

(Our family and friends and the group watching the slide presentations)

Then John shared the 10 minute slide show that he put together for the evening. It gave everyone a chance to see the people and the places


Pastor Ken then closed the evening in prayer and we were just about ready to go, when I asked everyone to stay just a bit longer. Here's why. As I was going through all the pictures over the past weeks I came across several that elicited a humourous comment in my head. I separated them out and eventually used these to put together a fun and funny slide show as a gift to the group. There were lots of people laughing during that slide time. It was fun to put together, and the reward for me was to hear the laughter and see the faces of the team as they saw themselves taken "sort of" out of context at times. It's a power point presenation, and if I find a way to link it to this blog sometime, it will show up.

I did put together a BRIEF video of yours truly making a run up a sandy hill in Peru. I thought it to be pretty funny. You be the judge. I call it "Ronny Balboa" : )

We then spent some time socializing afterwards. I was told a store in Ottawa sells the wonderful INCA COLA that some of us really liked while in Peru, so I bought some and people got a chance to try it.

All in all it was a very good night. Those who came were those who supported us prayerfully and financially, and we thank ALL of you for helping to make this "learning opportunity" a reality for us. I think it was good for the team to process their thoughts in front of a group of people. They are doing a great job of sharing with those who wish to listen.

We meet in May and June to continue our discussions and work out action plans for ministry to our Peruvian friends, and within our own city of Ottawa. I'll let you know how all that goes as things develop.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Oh Death, where is your sting

Hello all, I just heard that an elderly member of our church just died of a massive heart attack last night. I knew this wonderful lady. I was actually going to go see her in the next couple of weeks because her husband isn't doing well and has been in and out of hospital for the past several weeks. She had a wonderful sense of humour, yet a caring personality. I'm once again struck by the fragility of life. How we should be making every day count, and living somewhat like it was our last day here on earth. I'm struck again by the suddenness of death, and how it continues to disrupt lives, cause pain for those left behind, and comes at any moment. I'm also comforted to know that death is not final, if you believe in Christ, and this lady did. I know she's not with us, but she is with her Lord and we will now prepare to celebrate her life and remember her love for her family, her husband, and her Lord. As we continue on with our lives, plan for this, prepare for that, strive to achieve our goals, let us be reminded daily that we are not here on this earth for ourselves, but for the glory of God. Another jolt in my life as I digest this sudden news. Blessings to those who now mourn and grieve and prepare to lay to rest a mother, wife, and servant of our Lord.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Greetings to you. So, I spent the day yesterday at John and Annette's place with my family. We shared a lunch together and talked about different things, and, oh, yeah, we finalized the plans for our April 22nd reflection evening. I showed a funny little slide presentation that will be shown to those who attend the evening. It was VERY well received, so I hope you will enjoy it as well if you show up. Remember, humour is in the eye of the beholder. : ) We also saw John's more serious slide show, and it was VERY well done too. So, we are good to go. Speaking of Peru and Mission Trips, etc, I was cornered yesterday after church by a guest who is related to someone in our church. He wanted to know if any of the mission trip participants from our last time to Peru had gotten involved in anything mission wise in our city of Ottawa. He challenged me on this fact and also wanted to know what I was going to be doing with the group that just went to Peru. You know, he had a point, in some ways. I'm a firm believer, as you well know, that mission trips should be "learning opportunities" and not just one time events. They should be building blocks to our faith and cause us pause in our lives in order to see how we can grow further in our every day goings on. This is the ideal. I confess that this is also not always the reality. Especially if you take young people on a mission trip experience. I firmly believe these events are investments in people's lives, because you don't see immediate pay off all the time. With Young People that is often times the case, but not always. I know of a young person who ended up volunteering with CRWRC for 6 months after he did a mission trip last year. More often than not, young people are very busy, and their lives are taken up with school, work, preparing for college, etc. and the stuff of missions gets pushed to the back of their lives. That is not to say that missions is NOT on their minds. The challenge, I find, is to make missions come to their minds and become part of their every day life NOW. If it happens early, it will stick better later. The problem is that often times we don't' make the conscious effort to make some changes in our lives. It's not easy to do, but it is possible. For the record, our youth group does much more service related activities during the year. Little things that they wouldn't have been willing to do before. However, I must confess that there wasn't as much "traction" for the group the last time. This time, I'm hoping things may be a bit different. Partly because about 1/2 of the group was adult age, and several of the YP were with their parents. I think the adults in the group are ready to see what changes could occur in their lives now that they are back. I've certainly put a process in place to allow for that to happen. I'm reminded again of the saying that, "You can lead someone to water, but you can't make him/her drink from it." I hope to lead the members to some water, and I hope they will begin to drink from it. We'll have to see. I'm glad that person held me and the group accountable though. I'd rather have that, than no interest at all. At least this person was serious about moving himself and others forward in matters of faith and life. Finally, speaking of faith and life, I saw the movie "Kite Runner" the other night with my youth group. A VERY good movie. Lots to think about as a Christian. Lots to be thankful for as I reflect on Canadian culture and on other cultures where different ethnic groups co-exist. As I pondered things, I was reminded of a news interview a bit ago where the person mentioned that Canada is a model for other countries of a place that makes ethnic diversity work. It's not perfect, but it's not causing civil war, ethnic cleansing, or degrading racism that destroys a culture. We live in relative harmony. That is something to celebrate, even as we often lament the issues of our own culture, and we do have issues if we are honest with ourselves. Further to that, as a Christian, I know we often find ourselves wondering about how "tolerant" we can be as a country, and in that tolerance is alot of intolerance, but as I watched that movie, I was also acutely aware that our religious freedom is still a gift from God and something to be continually prayed for and cherished. It may not always be this way in Canada. Simply writing a blog entry like this may not be possible some day in the future. These thoughts may not be something new under the sun, but something to think about for sure as I (you) go about my (our) daily tasks and working on improving our relationship with our Lord. Have a GREAT day all.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Reflecting Begins

So, it's been a couple of weeks now since we've been in Peru. We've gotten together one time now to reflect on our experiences. It was good to bring the trip to the front of our memories again. It can seem like these trips are simply a dream at times. Time's of reflection are good to bring things back to life. We laughed at the fun things we remembered, like the water fight, my spelling issues, and little jokes between team members. We also contemplated the difficult issues that we experienced while on the trip as well. Now, a mission trip like this could just be a 1 week gig, but that would make the whole exercise simply futile in my eyes. I'm of the firm opinion that a trip like this is only the first step for those who participate. Something that some on this trip are starting to realize. Only yesterday I was talking with a couple who were commenting to someone else as I approached them that there as alot of homework to do now that we are back. And they are correct. I handed out a 5 pager at the end of our reflection time that covers some evaluation stuff for the trip, but mostly gets people thinking about ways they can continue this element of serving now that they are back in Ottawa. Granted, some are well on their way already, but some need some prodding. For those willing to take the time and make the effort, we will be working on a couple of different things. First, we will be trying to find ways we can support our friends in Peru. We'd love to find ways to make an impact in the lives of those we met. I'm not sure how that will happen yet, but I'm excited about the possibilities. Second, we will be discussing ways we can minister with others right here in our own city of Ottawa. My hope is that each participant finds one thing they can make a part of their life when it comes to ministering in our community. This should be as natural as breathing for us, but often times it isn't. If you are interested in continuing to learn about what begins to happen with the group, simply check back here periodically. We are now gearing up for our reflection evening for our congregation and anyone else who's interested. It will be held at Calvin CRC on Tuesday, April 22nd from 7 - 9 pm. Rumor has it we will even have some Inca Cola to serve during the evening. We hope those that were prayer partners and other supporters will come on out for this evening to share our learning opportunities with you. Until next time.