Friday, October 28, 2005

Another Travelblog

It was in the pouring rain last Saturday (October 22) that we set out for the Faith Community Church in Dartmouth. Pastors Reid and Bonnie Stairs and their church joined our Foursquare family eight years ago. They meet in the local movie theatre.

Susan and I felt at home as soon as we entered the building. I don’t know if it’s the fact that we are of the same church family or because of the warm Atlantic personality, but we knew we were loved immediately. I loved the way Pastor Reid and their gifted worship team led the service. We would easily adapt to this as our home church if we lived in Dartmouth. I sensed it would be the same in any of our Maritime churches.

I used my Life Journey story about Psalm 23 when I spoke to the group. There’s always a good number of people who can identify with David’s description of his life experiences in the “valley of the shadow of death.” I love the blessings that flow from the valleys of our lives. There are seven that the psalmist mentions:

· The presence of God (you are with me)
· God disciples me (his rod comforts me)
· God communicates with me (his staff comforts me)
· He nourishes me spiritually (the table God prepares)
· I am anointed for my destiny (He anoints my head with oil)
· I am satisfied (my cup is filled)
· People around me receive benefit (my cup runs over)

Of course, all of these blessing from the valley are available only to those who are receptive.

After church, we were whisked off to a sumptuous lunch at the home of a couple of church elders (John and Sue). By 1:30, Susan and I and Jim and Carol Rogers were on the road again, headed to Moncton, New Brunswick. Our destination was a retreat centre in Alma. It poured throughout the four hour ride, but even in the rain, the countryside was awesome. I couldn’t help but stop along the way to snap some pictures.

Alma was a treat. They have a small house-church who meet in the quaint seaside community. Forrest and Jean serve as the pastors. We, of course, were fed again in their home (another few pounds of irresistible cuisine). After dinner the group met with Susan, Jim, Carol and me for an intimate worship service. I taught on the model prayer that Jesus taught his disciples and us to pray. I was delighted by not only the love and unity of the group (they call themselves The Healing Waters Foursquare Church) but also by the sense of purpose they feel. Their heart is to serve the larger community and the world is easy to identify.

A quick look in Forrest’s and Jean’s garage gives away their love for missions. The group has already prepared three hundred Christmas boxes to send to Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse project. In every box for young girls, for example, they’ve sewn and prayed over a home-made skirt. Much of the contents of the three hundred boxes has been hand-made with love and prayer.

In addition to the Operation Christmas Child boxes, there is a mountain of clothes and other gifts ready to send off to a mission in Honduras. And when they pray for Foursquare families in India there are tears in their eyes.

After the service, we were whisked off to a beautiful four room Inn, which is owned by Peter and Barb, who are part of the group. It overlooks the Bay of Fundy which has the peculiarly famous fifty foot tide. Every twelve hours (at about an inch a minute) the tide rises and falls on schedule. As a matter of fact they have a tide clock which is as accurate as any clock.

After a good sleep and a wonderful breakfast, we left for Moncton, where we booked into our hotel (the Chateau Moncton) located on the Chocolate River (it flows with chocolate coloured water).

Susan and I picked up a PT Cruiser from Avis to take us to PEI, while Jim and Carol spent the day in St. John on church business. Our day trip to see Charlottetown and Anne of Green Gables cottage was a sensuous pleasure. The autumn coloured trees, the myriad of white steepled churches (mostly Wesleyan, Presbyterian, Baptist and United) the Tim Hortons, (sometimes three in a mile) and the picturesque Victorian farm houses were unforgettable.

Finally we arrived at our destination---the Anne of Green Gables tourist town. Although it was very cold and windy, and the whole display was locked up for winter, we jumped the fence and toured it anyway. Susan was thrilled to see the familiar sights from her childhood reading.

After a stop at Tim Hortons for chili, we headed back to the Chateau Moncton for a good night’s rest. In the morning, before boarding our plane, we picked up some lobsters for Tom and Jeremy (our sons-in-law).

We rushed to beat the incoming storm Wilma, which was blowing into Moncton fresh from Florida. It’s always good to be headed home again. Before I was even home, I had started working on my sermon because Sunday was fast approaching. It’s going to be a busy time as I prepare to leave for the Philippines and China in a few days.

While back east, I picked up a pack of CD’s and a book to learn French in a few hours—that will be my 2006 personal project (and perhaps some more attempts at self denial when it comes to delicious food!).

Bénédictions mon ami,



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