Thursday, August 23, 2012

Seven full years and counting...

Seven Full Years.  August 2012 marks the beginning of my eighth year on staff with eMi Canada and our eighth year in Calgary as a family.  From arriving with three young children under 8 to now having two teenagers and from transitioning from my main role as a project leader to becoming eMi Canada's director, to say a lot has happened would truly be an understatement.

After a slow and challenging start as strangers in a new city, our family now no longer feels alien on this lee side of the Rocky Mountains.  From church to school to work to sports & recreational programs, we have established friendships and found community.  And in each step the Lord has shown His faithfulness.  The hope and strength we find each day to forge this new life away from established friendships and all our family in Vancouver has come from the Lord's promise to always be our Help.

"I lift my eyes up to the mountains, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2

We have leaned hard on the Lord in times of loneliness and uncertainty and He was our strength.  With that strength we learned to serve, extend friendship and love.  And in the Lord's economy, these have been returned to us in ways more abundant than we can imagine or dare to ask.

Designing a World of Hope.  My role at eMi began as a project leader and although I now wear many more "hats", project work continues to be a significant part of my service with eMi.  The teams of interns and volunteers I travel with for projects often start out as a group of strangers but quickly, subtly a transformation happens and these strangers become brothers and sisters, many becoming friends I will value for life.

For many volunteers their time with eMi fills a special longing to apply their professional skills to missions and so it is that our projects do bless those who serve as well as those being served.  And those being served have been many and very diverse:

- New moms with little education and even fewer means in Niger, on the edge of the Sahara Desert, visiting SIM's Galmi Hospital clinic for newborns and receiving medical attention and an education in nutrition for mother, child and their whole family

- Children orphaned by AIDS in Cambodia but who have been raised with love and in community at Place of Rescue orphanage who now can live in the House of New Dreams transition home in the capital with familiar friends while attending university or attending vocational training

- Men with little education and few skills to find work to support their families can now attend Haiti Arise Vocational Training School and learn a trade, learn English and learn about Jesus so they can take care of their family's many needs

- Pastors serving in a region hateful of Christians in Patna, India who nonetheless wants to love their neighbours by operating Transform India Movement and Emmanuel Christian Fellowship Centre, provide skills training, education for local children and training local pastors

These are some of the people for whom we design a world of hope.

Staying the Course.  There is no "end game" in sight.  The path of eMi continues to run into the future and opportunities to serve this ministry and be a part of its mandate to serve others only continues to grow.  One day the Lord will bring another person to fill my chair.  I'm OK with that.  But today the chair is mine to fill and with the support of brothers and sisters, friends of mine and of this ministry, I will simply continue to obey and say "Yes, Lord".

Thank you for praying.  Thank you for your encouragement.  Thank you for providing financial support that takes care of our family and allows me to continue serving with eMi.  Each life touched by my efforts is as much your doing as it is mine because without our team of partners I would not be here and many of these projects would simply not be done.

But let us not forget, this is not my work or even our work.  It is the Lord's work and He will see it done whether we step forward or not.  But isn't it amazing to take that step and become a part of God's work to redeem the world?  And, as my church here in Calgary puts it, in our own way we each can glorify God and change the world that is into the world that ought to be.

Thank you,

Greg, Julie, Caitlin, Cameron and Connor