Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Women After God's Own Heart

This is my last post from living in Edmonton... There will be a lot said here -perhaps not so much in quantity of words, but in the weight of their message (I hope). There will be lots of details skimmed over perhaps, and some hidden messages that only their intended receiver will understand... however, I pray that you all will find some blessing here too.

At the beginning of the last "academic year" (around August/September -ish) the Lord was starting to bring out many themes for me (and in some cases, the whole girls Navigator group) for the year. The spiritual concept of a river had been tumbling around my head during the summer, and the idea of "bearing fruit"/growing deep. I was reading Psalm 1 one day and came to these verses "...But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leave does not wither, and in whatever he does he prospers." I remember feeling that the Lord had hinted those verses at Me and my 2 friends from Navigators Amy and Genevieve. The reasons were multiple and different for each of us... (and even now, reading them thinking about these 2 girls that I love so much brings tears to my eyes!) I had shared these verses at a staff (Navs) prayer time in September, and Kath Blacklock also shared how she had been feeling that "growth" and "grow up" was being laid on her heart to pray for both the U of A, and U of C campuses for the year... Intersting :)

As you may have read in my past blogs this year, there have been some really difficult times -but, by God's Grace, some of those same times have been the high points in what the Lord has been doing and showing us in Edmonton. The past few weeks that I was there I was struggling with leaving -not because I didn't want to come home- but because I would no longer be a direct part of people's lives who I love so much... more specifically these two beautiful women here :) After seeing the Lord do SO much, and to see at the same time where He has yet to "go" or "take" them, leaving was like only getting to see the introduction of a movie and then walking out... -but not just any random movie, one that the Producer has asked you to be directly invested in, perhaps to even play a small charater role... but then He asks you to leave way before you get to see His ending...

Well, our Lord is so faithful to us, as He gave me a glimpse of what He was doing one night while I was hanging out with Him. A while before (like months) He had really impressed upon my heart Isaiah 61:1-6 in relation to Africa (more specifially, Sudan -where I am going this next year... Surprise! if this is the first you are hearing of it :P). I hadn't read it in a while but that night I pulled out (I think I was feeling the need to be reminded of why I was leaving)... I love the way the Holy Spirit works in and through Scripture... I started just bawling while I read it as I saw (almost visually) how it was relating to both leaving these girls and heading off to Sudan... It speaks of my passion for them all to find the FREEDOM that only comes from Christ, and the vision the Lord has given me that they all will not be bound by the sins and choices of generations before them (war, families torn apart, addictions, spritiual poverty...). It says that "they will be called OAKS of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that HE may be glorified." AMEN. I'm crying as I type cause I can hear the heartbeat of our Father in these verses, and for me personally, the echo of this heartbeat brings Sudan and Amy and Gen to my mind. I was (and am) so greatful to the Lord for this time with Him becuase He showed me how during the year He had begun this process of 'firmly planting us' and how in ourown time (that He ordained) the fruit would start or continue to be born (Psalm 1) then 'brought the ear to a close' so to speak, for me by helping me see His vision for these girls to be "called oaks of righteousness." My Cup Runneth Over :)

Girls these verses are my prayer for you... that you will keep giving Him the room to grow you into these "Oaks of righteousness", that HE alone will bind-up and heal your broken hearts and set you Free, causing you to forever Praise Him and not mourn, that He will enable you to raise up what has been destroyed and be called 'ministers of our God'... that you may bring Him Glory all the days of your lives :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

More Memories and People to Cherish

To accurately represent my time spent at different places out here, I should have a whole blog dedicated to my favorite Ethiopian resteraunt (sorry, that is one word I've NEVER been able to spell)!! This last time we went the food was SOOOOO good... mmmm, oh- I can't even tell you how much I could go for some Ethiopian food right now!! Ohhhh, and some tea... mmmm. Ok, I must stop now -it's just that our Ethiopian "eat-in-facility" (how I avoid having to spell) in Halifax just doesn't compare with Langano Skies.

Even though I'm risking giving the impression that this blog entry is entirely about food, I'd like to show you my favorite Ice Cream place too... it's called Marble Slab, and yep, you guessed it, we don't have one in Hali ;) All the icecream is made on location, so you pick your flavor and then get to pick what you want in it from all the different kinds of candy they have there (you can sorta see all the jars in the picture) Moving on...

Too my Roommate :D Awe, Pumpkin, how I love thee ;) 2+ years of laughter really... I have so many stories to tell about this girl... Bathroom lab samples, Kitchen mould growth, Livingroom "Friends" marathons while we pig out on "Crispy Chicken Pecan Salad" from Boston Pizza, Bedroom CheezeWiz nights, Back stairway TreadMill from "Lead-vill" (aka... it was the heaviest thing known to man!!)... oh the list is long :) Pam I miss laughing with you into the wee, wee, wee hours of the morning, and praying with you over the drama of our lives :D Olga, you too love... I miss you making me laugh, your postive spirit and just watching you be an amazing mom to your kids... you are awesome :) Oh, this is Dana everyone, Scott and Olga's newest kiddlet (they have all now moved to East Asia!)

Here are a few pictures of a fun-rain-filled night that Gen and I went out and played during a big thunder storm! It was so much fun, and we got totally soaked -it was raining SO hard. We have a few "special" qualities of our little Happy Place appartment, one of them being our windows -the one in the living room is our favoite, mostly because once it's up, it takes a crow bar to get down, and once it's down it takes a crow bar to get up :D When the storm started that night the window was UP and for the life of us we couldn't get it closed... so the rain and wind pelted in until we got this towel rigged up with some packing tape (which I ended up running out of, probably due to this project!). The funniest part was that Grace had moved in and was sleeping on our big green bed right beneath the window, and she started freaking out, swatting at Gen and I, and squeeling "close the window... oh my gosh!... close the window" and laughing :D Gen and I almost peed out pants laughing so hard... never a dull moment in the Happy Place :D

I took this last picture with Paul's camera on the way to the Airport the morning I flew out... and I think it speaks for it's self :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Coming to an End

I have some photo documentation of my last official Navs gathering that I attended before I moved... felt sorta wierd, I've gotta say. There were lots of people there, and a few that I hadn't seen in quite a while too, so it was nice to get to see them and say goodbye.

We had a BBQ (there is rarely navs without food), and they even had a special "going away" cake for me... ahhh, but not just any cake... an icecream cake.... ahhh, but not just any icecream cake... a peanutbutter and chocolate icecream cake from Baskin Robins -mmmmm it doesn't get any better than that for Christiane :) Do my friends know me or what!!
I wasn't the only one who enjoyed it either... as evidenced by the big icecream streaks left on Gen's shirt from licking the cake plate!! hehe...

We also had a nice camp fire, and ate s'mores... mmm. Actually, I need to say that Gen started the fire (with some suggestions from the peanut gallery on-lookers) and was pretty proud of herself :P

It was a fun night... we had a nice photo shoot in the back yard... little did Amy and Gen and I know that it was the first of a few before I would leave... :P

I have more pictures of that night then I do things to say for inbetween them! :P

But, I can say this... I think I only had a slight inkling at the time for how much I would miss Navigators when I got home... and even now I think it will hit me even more in the fall when I'm not helping out at the booth during kick off week... When I call back and listen to Paul and Amy taking about plans for this coming year I feel a bit of emptyness in my heart that I'm no longer out there and a part of that. Don't get me wrong, I do know that it was time to come home, but the last 5 years of my life -and this past year in particular, the Lord used the ministry of those people in my life more than words can say. Truely I am blessed and SO thanful for the people God has placed across my path... my cup runneth over. Paul, Amy, Gen, Brian and Kath, Simon, and all the rest of you... thanks guys, for allowing the Lord to work mightly in and through your lives. I miss, miss, miss you :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The things I will miss...

I'm writing this post WAY too late, however, I had taken a bunch of pictures a few months ago, of things around the city of Edmonton that I knew I would miss after moving away... here is my tribute to Eddy-town, my good friend for 5 years...

Flowering trees... in the Spring, there are SO many of them and they are just georgous! The white Lilacs flower first and the whole ciy smells fabulous... then the purple lilacs and chery blossoms... hummmmm...

One of my favorite things is my walk too and from work really early on Spring mornings. There is this long row of bushes that get's covered with pick flowers -for some reason they always have reminded me of Ethiopia, which makes be breath in deeper and point my heart towards Jesus every time I pass on that side walk... I already miss this part.
I don't have a picture really of this next thing I will miss, but I'll just tell you... I miss walking :) I seriously walked almost everywere... to work, to the University, to friends places, to the gerocery store (except when Paul and I would go to Superstore), to Crankpots and the Market with Meag, for Ethiopian food... :) When Janna came out to visit me one time we kept walking places and when we could set out she'd always ask, "how long to get to _____?" and my answer would always be "oh, about a 1/2 hour..." it soon became a running joke that it was only a 1/2 hour to get anywhere in Edmonton :P But, on these many daily walks I would go on, I would always come accross the trade mark "Listen" signs that were posted all over the Belgravia and Garneau areas... here are a few of the 100+ I'm sure. I dunno what they mean, but I like them!
Then there are a few little odd, perhaps nerotic ones like this next picture... of an unfinished wall in Amy's house. I have started at this wall many a time and wondered... "seriously, did they just not have enough paint for that last, not even, one square foot!!?" My OCD kicks in everytime -but I'll miss this little patch soon enough (although, truth be told, I'll miss this patch only cause when I'm looking at it, Amy is around :P)
...Well, there are many more things that I know I'll miss and don't have picutres of to share with you... my hospital, my appartment, the University campus, the ETS system (cause the Metrotransit in Hali leave much to be desired), the river valley, Hulbert's coffee shop across the street :) I know that there will always be a piece of my heart reserved for Edmonton, and when I sing along with Paul Brant I'll feel as if I too am proud to be an Albertan!! That being said, I am "Nova Scotia Bound" and that is nothin' to complain about... I know where I'm from don't you worry :D Thanks Edmonton for 5 wonderful -at times LONG- years... see you soon I hope! :)