Going to Winnipeg….again.

Any of you remember the Fountain Tire commercial where the spokesperson is wearing his best Hawaiian shirt (you know – the tall balding guy) and using his Airmiles earned at fountain tire to go on a vacation to Hawaii? He finds himself beside a couple of suits working on their laptops and realizes he got on the wrong plane. And he says, in memorable fashion- “Going to Winnipeg….”

I looked it up and realized the commercial is 11 years old!!! Feel free to check it out for a giggle- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mdvr-4nYs5s
Seeing as I fly a fair amount, and our daughter works for Air Canada, I am well aware that he would never get through all those check points and get on the wrong plane without the proper boarding pass and ID, but it still makes me laugh.  So when I am planning another trip to Manitoba, I usually post on facebook- ‘Going to Winnipeg’.  Some people get the joke.
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Unlike our hero from the commercial. I actually WANT to go to Winnipeg.  We have many friends from a great 13 years living in Manitoba, and, with the Griz Den there, I usually have at least one
son to visit. I just got back from there a couple of days ago, and also unlike the commercial, this time I drove. Fixed up and drove Daniel’s car out to him daniel-with-red-truck(l like to call it the Rumble-mobile because of the souped-up muffler) there, and drove back with our red truck that he has been using for the past couple of years.

This trip was planned to coincide with the Manitoba Baptist Association’s annual meetings, where they graciously allowed me to present our mission to pastors and representatives of all their churches. I want to thank the MBA for allowing me to present, and I particularly enjoyed seeing so many pastors and wives that I know, and making the acquaintance of a few new ones.
But it was a highly unusual weekend, marred by the extremely shocking death of the area minister Gordon Stork, who was slated for major involvement in the weekend’s events.
But the executive members did their best to steady the ship and turn our eyes to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and to honor Gord by seeing through many of the things he had helped plan for the weekend.  While much formal business was tabled, the informal business of ‘associating’, especially in this time of grief, was very much attended to over the two days.

The item that blessed me the most was on Saturday afternoon. After our various reports, five of us were asked to move to a different part of the sanctuary, and people were invited to gather round and pray for us. This was such a moving time for me. To have my Manitoba brothers and sisters, some of whom I personally know and many of whom I don’t, come around me and hold me up in prayer was a moving reminder of why we are called the family of God, and I will treasure that time. Don’t ever underestimate the power of praying – out loud and on the spot – for people you have said you will pray for.

This theme of our NAB family association was also evident through the rest of my trip. I had arranged to visit a couple of rural Manitoba churches on the Sundays bookending the trip, and stopped in a number of Saskatchewan churches on my trip there and back to introduce myself to pastors and some parishioners.   I was able to put places and more names (which I fear I will forget) to many people I have seen around Manitoba through Camp Nutimik, women’s retreats, and of course association meetings and Ministry Wives retreat, as well as meet and talk with so many other interesting people.  I regularly felt like cueing the ‘Small World” music as I realized connections between people that I had not been aware of before.
I also recognize that many of our NAB churches have MANY people (like myself) in them who have not ‘grown up NAB’ (especially in newer churches)  and that we may have to work a bit harder sometimes to encourage meaningful association.  Supporting conference missionaries is one way we can do that- pulling together with a common goal to support people on the mission field- and we are honored to be listed among them, especially with fellow Canadian NAB missionaries like Cal Hohn, Yuri Nakano, and Walter Grob.

Hebrews 10:23-25: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

(http://www.nabconference.org/news/grieving-loss-dr-gordon-stork)

Reverse Racism

We think of racism as something people experience here in North America if they happen to be ethnically different from those around them. Our NAB Church is of German background, as is my own family on my mother’s side. Mom has told me that during the Second World War her family did not speak German (which is why she never learned) because it was a bad thing to be known as a German person in Canada at the time.

aminu-mosobaBut racism exists in Africa as well, sometimes in odd forms, which I sometimes don’t quite know what to do with. For one thing, it is mostly reverse racism – which means that white people are sometimes treated better than others.

I remember coming into a restaurant on my own one day for my supper. There was only one other man there, a Nigerian fellow. The owner knew me so when I came in she walked over to my table and took my order. Unbeknownst to me, however, she had not yet taken the order of the Nigerian gentleman, and he proceeded to complain, in no uncertain terms, that he was the victim of racism since he had been neglected in my favour.

Not only was this embarrassing all around, but the fact was, he was right. He had been neglected for me. There was not much I could about our hostess, but I did invite the fellow over to be my guest for supper, and am happy to say we had a very nice time of it. He educated me some more about how Nigerians feel about westerners in general and missionaries in particular.

The last time I was in the airport in Yaoundé, trying to come home, our plane trip was cancelled (hydraulic problem in the plane), and myself and the doctor I was travelling with had to spend the night in the airport. Some folks managed to get out and grab a hotel room, but I don’t think we were as experienced travelling in Cameroon as we needed to be.

Anyway, the next day in the airport we were surrounded by tired, frustrated, and sometimes angry Cameroonians who had also spent a very difficult night in the airport. My friend and I (he is from the U.S.) were chatting with some older ladies, and they asked us where we had spent the night. When we told them they were very surprised, since they just assumed that white people would have been given some kind of grand escort to a 5-star hotel. It was good (in an odd sort of way) to be able to tell them that we had been treated just as poorly as everyone else.

As I look forward to going back to Cameroon to live I am thinking of these things, and of all the cultural things we will need in order to adjust well to living there. And of all the prayer we will need from our supporters back here in order to do that well.

October Update

It has been a very busy last several weeks – and the end is not in sight. But an update is in order here I think.

Over the weekend we hosted our second son, John, as he is travelling to a new job in Whistler, B.C. He reached there safely this evening (thank the Lord), so now we have one child in each of the four Western Provinces. From west to east: John is in B.C.; Cari is still here in Alberta; Robert is in Saskatchewan; and Daniel is in Manitoba. Our original plan (our “druthers”) was to have them all together in Winnipeg, Manitoba, but sometimes the ‘best-laid plans of mice and men gang aft aflay.’

We have been busy packing some of the boxes that White Cross will be shipping for us at the end of this month. All the books that I’ll be taking are packed up, plus some bedding and other household things that we’ll need there. Sonya is mostly taking care of the household stuff, so I know it is good hands.kids-in-the-peg-2015

I have been doing a lot of preparation for the month of October as there are three Missions Conferences happening here in Alberta. The first one is this Saturday down south, in Lethbridge. As part of the Alberta Baptist Global Operations Team (aka the ABA GO Team) I will be giving the keynote message, plus leading a workshop on International Partnerships.

The weekend after that I will be doing the same thing at Brentview Baptist in Calgary; and the next weekend after that I will doing the same thing yet again at the GEM (Greater Edmonton Missions) at Steele Heights in Edmonton.

While Sonya will be talking to churches and individuals in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, I’ll also be preaching in a couple of churches in the Edmonton area: at First Baptist, Leduc this coming Sunday, and then at River of Hope Church in Devon at the end of the month.

So . . . my friends, your prayers for all these events, and our travel on the roads (our first snow came this past Friday) are so much needed and appreciated. Thanks and God bless you!