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)

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