i can’t tell you how many times i’ve heard a sentence ended with ‘eh?’ since i arrived here in québec. no moose on the loose or mountie sightings yet, but plenty of ‘eh?’-s! :)
this area of the province is absolutely picturesque. if i’d had a free moment in the past 24 hours to snap any photos, you can be sure i’d have uploaded them. but let me just tell you that there are very few other places in the world that have ever taken my breath away.
the landscape reminds me of the pacific northwest, and the québecois people are diverse (heck, i rode up here to maniwaki from the airport with french-speaking syrians while listening to christian music in arabic.) and kind. i adore the pastor and his sweet family, and my hosts have been taking incredible care of me. this morning, i traveled to the camp where the church‘s youth have stayed at for the past week and helped pack up their traveling kitchen trailer and other supplies. you can’t imagine how beautiful of a setting it was, nestled in a forest of white birches and in front of a massive lake.
tonight, a huge group from tennessee arrives in town to put on a sports camp at the high school for the area’s kiddos next week, and i’m thrilled to meet them and begin serving by their sides. a few days after they return home, another group from kansas will get here to do service evangelism projects, which i have the joy of also assisting with. please bathe these upcoming projects in prayer.
these are going to be an incredible five weeks.
p.s. here are a few fun things about québec that i’ve discovered in the last day:
- in the supermarkets, iced tea is sold in cartons – not gallon jugs like our dear old red diamond (a.k.a. liquid GOLD).
- the name for wal-mart’s semi-equivalent here: tiger geant (in english: giant tiger. ha!).
- despite the fact that they may drive a pick-up truck and are wearing a camo browning hat, these cowboys aren’t like the ones at home. they speak french, and it’s still just too strange to not hear a deep drawl when they speak instead.
- gas here is sold by the liter, rather than by a gallon. at $1 per liter, it comes to about $4.50 per gallon. holy crap.
Filed under missions, quebec
let me pause and brag on some people today.
i’ve been thinking a whole lot lately about transitions in ministry and in leadership, on legacies and longevity. when the primary founder of a particular ministry steps down or relocates to another facet of service, the switch to new leadership can strengthen or divide those who are left to continue serving. over the last several weeks, i’ve witnessed two such ‘success’ stories in this realm.
one the youth pastors i’ve been volunteering under at switch is transitioning to a new role at our church‘s oklahoma city campus, where he and his wife will have the privilege of focusing more on ministering to students’ parents and families. it’s such an exciting season in tim and nicole‘s lives! for the past three years, i’ve been equipped and encouraged as a student ministry leader by tim’s guidance. in his years at the edmond campus, he’s built up a solid and faithful core of volunteers who i know won’t miss a beat over these next several months of transition because of his effective leadership.
i’m extremely close with my former pastor from my home church and his family. i love going to their house and spending weekends with them, and i count their daughter as one of my closest friends. before coming to pastor at my home church in southwest oklahoma, they pioneered a wildly successful ministry in small town that has benefitted hugely from their work. they organized a food pantry and free clinic that continues to operate out of the church in a community of roughly 250. loaves ‘n fishes serves over 600 low-in come families throughout the county, and functions solely through donations, volunteers, and God’s provision. jeff and cara’s founding vision of justice and servanthood to the least of these is thriving, several years after handing over leadership to its volunteers. just look at how full this section of the pantry is!
how were tim and nicole able to release the reigns of their student ministry to others, without it crumbling? how has the food pantry that jeff and cara created prospered tenfold since they’ve released leadership to others in the church? for each couple, building up leaders to take ownership of the ministry they volunteer in was essential. jeff said it best, that ministry for the moment never lasts. leadership with longevity, i believe, is one of the keys to success in any ministry. the ability to step down from a leadership position and see it continue to soar in the hands of those you equipped must be one of the most incredible feelings this side of heaven.
when have you seen this exemplified in your ministry or personal life?
the night my sister told me that my mom has cancer, my mind raced in a thousand directions. by that next morning in early november, i wondered what 2010 would have in store and where it would take our family. weeks before, i had began seeking an opportunity to serve in canada during the summer that we’re now in. suddenly, though, i was reevaluating if i should commit to go until we knew what our action plan against the disease would be. there was no way in heck i was going to be in another country while my mama was undergoing chemo or radiaton.
i prayed and i sought, and i asked her what she thought i should do. unwaveringly, my mom encouraged me not to put the plans that God and i had for serving in quebec on hold. her reassurance made me brave, and i applied to work with this faithful congregation for five weeks in the summertime. earlier this month, i realized something pretty incredible: my mom will complete her last radiation treatment – and subsequently her last treatment period – the day before my plane takes off for canada. no more surgeries, no more chemo, no more nothin’. the very day before my bags will be checked and my passport will be stamped.
could God have sent any clearer of a message? i love it.
when has He smacked you in the forehead and let you know that something was His design?
living and working in a new city for a portion of this summer sure has its perks: i park my car each day beside my favorite college football stadium; aspen coffee co. has three convenient locations in town for me to get my frozen hot chocolate fix; and i have become an honorary bennett girl with a few lovely ladies, some that i grew up with and some that i’ve gotten to know just recently. one such chick happens not only to be one of my closest friends, but also my co-worker and a superb photographer. after confirming my assignment in quebec this summer, i approached jessica about snapping some photos of me for a personalized prayer card to distribute to friends and family. from the beginning of my committment to ministry through missions, jessica has pledged to support me (and other missionaries she knows) prayerfully, and one day financially when she is equipped to do so. one way she is presently carrying out this ministry with me is by capturing these moments on film, helping me design a cute card, and contributing cheerfully with me to covering their printing costs! i love how her vision for supporting and encouraging those in missions is so much broader than most others’. she’s using her talents and passions, not just her checkbook. good stuff, y’all!
we ventured downtown yesterday to shoot some samples, and even tried out some areas of our backyard. she delivered, y’all! here are just a few:
we selected three shots to use in a template from tiny prints, and voila! here’s what my prayer cards will look like:
what do y’all think? a shipment of cards should be in by the first weekend of june, and i can’t wait to get them sent out. interested in having one for your fridge, bulletin board, dart board, or shooting target? shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address, and i’ll make sure one lands your way. :) i leave in 30 days!
my dear friend lindsey is back from her mission trip to india! a little jet-lagged and joyful, lindz shared with me some of her experiences last night over the phone. two weeks of service has melted her heart. she walked through the taj mahal, prayed with people in slums, held babies painted to look like hindu gods, and did any task asked of her to aid the missionaries already there. one of the things she said that has stuck by me most since our conversation was, “i love oklahoma. before, i never thought i could live anywhere else. now, i know i can. God’s all i need.” how’s that for authentic faith?
and anyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return… // matthew 19:29
one of my most precious friends from back home will be spending two weeks in india next month, may 2nd through the 17th. few words could explain how proud of and thrilled for lindsey i am! i beg you to join me in prayer for the hearts of lindsey, the rest of her team, and the sweet faces of india to be prepared for how He will move among them. pray for divine opportunities to make themselves starkly known, for focus and safety, for flexibility and a cohesive team, and for the love of Christ to be made beautifully clear.
i am so excited. =)
my church and i spent time yesterday serving at a splendid ministry called all things baby, which a woman from our campus started in her garage last year. i cannot brag on this ministry enough! courtney had a desire to combat abortion, and He has overwhelmed her prayers by providing both a warehouse to house clothing, diapers, furniture, toys [you name it!] for new mothers, and also an office where she will hopefully minister to hurting women who have experienced past abortions with bible studies and love. part of our group painted this new office yesterday, but only after many of us wrote prayers on the walls for this new place. i wish i had taken a picture before two coats of beige were slathered on, but i’m sure you can picture the beauty of it all regardless. :)