Matt and Jesika in Indonesia Saturday, Mar 27 2004 

A short excerpt from our last email from Matt and Jesika in Indonesia:

it took three days of travelling but we finally came upon the togean islands…let me describe our first day there…
we wake up in our little secluded bungalow and enjoy an hour of watching the ocean from our private deck which stretches out to the water…then we head up to the lounge area which is a big open traditional wooden building with sitting platforms strewn with big pillows…we get our breakfast of fresh fresh fruit…and enjoy…around 9:00am we head out on the diving boat to a reef and jump in with our snorkelling gear…within five minutes of being in the water a huge spotted eagle ray comes swimming ( more like ‘gliding’ or gracefully ‘flying’ ) towards me and then up to matt…incredible!!! we also see all the billions of fish we saw at bunakan island plus much more…massive wrass the size of me folded in half, tiney multi colored fish, trigger fish (that like to bite), angel fish, bat fish, mantis shrimp, lobsters, seas snakes, eels, okay, you get the picture…after an hour or so of snorkelling, the boat picks us up and we head back to our island…accompanied by a group of dolphins jumping out of the water…as we round the corner to our island, we see two eagles circling above us…amazing!!…we get a lunch of fresh fresh fish and more fresh fresh fruit…then its siesta time…at around 2:30pm we head out for some more snorkelling…this time to a different little island…it was at this island that matt saw a black tipped reef shark!!…after a couple hours of exploring the water and reefs here we return home for an excellent sun set over the water and another great meal of fresh fish and vegetables (and of course rice)!!…to top the evening off we build a bon fire on the beach and just hang out…now imagine a week of this, and that my friends, is paradise!! …

Sounds awesome doesn’t it!

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A GOOD DAY Thursday, Mar 18 2004 

I was inspired by Cathy’s blog to acknowledge that today was a “good day”. We often look back over our day and remember the “not so good” stuff that happened. Let me tell you about my day:

I had a good night’s sleep, which doesn’t happen all that often, and headed off to work with Susan, our new friend from Australia. Darren, Cathy and I met with Nancy Yee who gave us a wonderful presentation of what she is learning in her Liturgy Class – I would tell you more of what she said if I could spell the words right, but I can’t – but to sum it all up it would be the whole concept of Mentorship. Great ideas, just need some time to injest them. I could handle a presentation like that once a week – Nancy is awesome!

We then had our Staff Meeting with pretty well all our staff present. This does not happen too often. The best part about our Staff Meeting was the talk my wonderful friend, Mike Gingerich, gave to the staff. Mike talked about his spiritual journey of the past couple of years of when he worked at Lakeview as a Creative Programmer and a year ago was let go because of monetary restraints. Mike is a “one of a kind” guy and he opened his heart to us today with honesty and vulnerability. He spoke about his experiences and feelings candidly. I never doubted that Mike would come through the other side of these difficult circumstances a stronger, wiser and “softer” young man. Only a man of integrity could have done what Mike did today and that is exactly what he is. What is so neat is that he doesn’t realize how much he influences people’s lives around him and the wisdom he gives through his quick “quips”. I can hardly wait to see where God is going to take Mike next! What he said today hit home to me. It is not about our “position” or what we do. It is about “who we are” and “whose we are”. Thanks Mike again for that reminder.

Then I had the opportunity to have tea with my good friend Sheri Porrelli. Sheri and I worked together when I first came to Lakeview. “Those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end….” Another wise young woman who has grown in her faith and in her life experience. We had such a great visit. Her son Nicholas is absolutely hilarious and so much fun. I don’t think I have ever heard a 4 year old talk faster and more intellectual than he does. Great afternoon. There is nothing more encouraging to me than to see young people like this work through the hard issues of life and continue to be positive and work hard in their people relationships and their relationship with Christ.

Tonight was our Small Group night but because of the bad weather, snow and icy roads, only 3 people came, so we had a great evening of visiting and laughing. Rob and Twila, another great couple working through things in their lives, and my good friend, Kelly, came tonight. It was just fun to sit, share life, laugh, talk about all kinds of different subjects, eat, talk some more, and laugh. One of the great aspects of our Small Group is how we love to laugh. The Scriptures say “Laughter doeth good like a medicine” and that is so true.

Tomorrow we are heading to Prince Albert to spend time with my sister Doris and her husband Lorne. We always have a great time with them. Again, we laugh lots. Doris and Lorne are the only family we have close around here at this point in our lives. It is good to know that we can head out there and be at their door in 90 minutes. Hopefully the roads will be dry by then.

This was my good day. I also connected with great people via phone calls and in the hallways of Lakeview Church. As I said a couple of times today, we are so blessed to have so many wonderful people that call Lakeview Church their home. We also have wonderful people in our lives that are not part of Lakeview, and we are so grateful for that as well.

Saskatoon is a wonderful place to live at this point in our lives and has been since September 1990. For how much longer, I don’t know, but I will continue to enjoy each day as it comes.

MY AGE Tuesday, Mar 16 2004 

I thought by the time I was my age I would have learned everything there is to learn. But life just keeps coming and new lessons need to be learned each new day. Man, I thought I would have figured myself out and would know everything there was to know about Gloria. It doesn’t seem to work that way.

I have started reading Job in my Bible reading. Suffering never seems to go away and lots of times it just doesn’t make sense. After all Job suffered he never was told in the end why he had to suffer. He learned that no matter what came into his life, that God could be trusted. The creator and sustainer of life can be trusted through all circumstances. When everything around us looks hopeless, we know that this life is not all there is, that there is something after this life and it is worth trusting God for. God does not remove the suffering from us, but is right there with us in the midst of our suffering. It says in the Scriptures that our suffering here is nothing in comparison to the hope that is to come. That is what faith is all about.

SUSAN FROM AUSTRALIA Tuesday, Mar 16 2004 

We have a young woman, Susan, from Australia staying with us for a couple of weeks. She is going to be hanging out at Lakeview alongside Ryan Jacobson, our interim music director, for the next little while to experience how we do worship with music. Ryan is an amazing musician, so I know Susan will be in for a great treat working alongside him. She did an internship at her own home church in Adelaide, Australia, for one year, and has been travelling for a while in California and now here in Canada. She is hoping to see it snow here as she has never seen it snow. She wants to see flakes falling from the sky. It is supposed to snow this weekend, so hopefully she will experience snow for the first time in her life. Amazing, I can’t imagine life without snow ever!!

KIDS Tuesday, Mar 16 2004 

Tamara called last night from Taiwan and we were able to hook up via webcam. It was amazing to be able to see her on our computer screen, still in her pyjamas, drinking coffee and talking on her cellphone at the same time. She looks good. Is recuperating from a cold, but otherwise doing well. We are really proud of her as she has paid off in full one of her student loans and is looking to have the other one paid off by summer. She has worked hard to be debt free, then she can save her money to do some more travelling. I am not sure if she will ever come home!! I guess I will have to just fly over and see her. I can’t believe I am even saying that, but I think I could do it if I decided to go. We’ll see.

Matt and Jesika are in Indonesia on some small island snorkeling and diving. They are still enjoying their travels and intend to stay in Indonesia until they head home in April. They are coming home to Calgary on April 24th, and we will be there to pick them up. We have a timeshare booked in Canmore for the week starting April 23rd and they are going to join us. It will be awesome to spend time with them. I can hardly wait.

Sometimes when I see families heading out together for Sunday lunch together, I have to admit I am a little envious. But, that is not the way it is with us, and it probably never will be. I am so glad that they are doing what they are doing, but when I sit alone on a Sunday afternoon, it would be wonderful to pick up the phone and be able to go for a coffee with our kids. April will be here sooner than we think.

I’m Not Dead Tuesday, Mar 16 2004 

I haven’t posted for awhile, but I am still alive and kicking. Lots of stuff happening, some good and some not so good. Life at times is not fair and other times is just fine.

Had a great evening last night with Jordon, Wendy and Mark. We celebrated Jordon’s 30th birthday, a little late, but it was nice. They are like part of our family. Gave Jordon “The Life of Pi”, so I am looking forward to having him read it and then sit down and have some good conversations. It will be interesting to hear his perspective on the book.

DESCRIPTION OF “OPEN MIND” Monday, Mar 8 2004 

This from Darren Friesen’s blog

from Daniel’s Journey

3.7.2004
I’m fortunate – and unfortunate – enough to be surrounded by people that assume that an open mind is best. But I’m pretty sure none of us really give it much thought. So, I found this description:
So what is good about having an open mind? First, having an open mind does not mean that one never comes to any convictions in life. It is perfectly possible to have an open mind and live a very principled life, without holding one’s beliefs dogmatically. Having an open mind means being prepared to question even your most central beliefs if there is occasion to do so. It means being open, when the time comes, to having your mind changed by an argument better than one’s own. It means being able to think both sides of an issue, both the side you think is true and the side you think is false. It also means being able to suspend your beliefs, to play devil’s advocate, and to detach yourself somewhat from your own beliefs, actions and feelings. Only living with an open mind gives us a chance to grow and change, for change is inevitable, while growth, unfortunately, is not.

FRIENDS Thursday, Mar 4 2004 

I went for coffee, I mean steamed milk, with my good friend Sherryl last night. It has been a long time since we sat down and had a good chat. What is so neat is that even though some time has passed since our last coffee, immediately there is a bond that continues to grow. Darren and Sherryl are special people in my life together with their 3 amazing children. We have walked roads together on this journey of life and all have grown in the process. God is doing some amazing transformations in Sherryl’s family and it is so wonderful to watch this happen. Friendships are so important in our lives. God has given me lots of great friends and I am so grateful for each one of them. They all bring something special into my life and I hope I do the same for them.