Archive for February, 2009

Please Pray

February 26, 2009


Please pray for the girls and I as we leave the islands in the morning to drive to Maine to see a specialist for an aggravated skin condition that is not healing.  There is limited medical personnel on these islands; in many cases, patients are flown to Quebec City (paid for by the Canadian medical system) to see a specialist.  Because the children are not part of that system yet (their dual citizenship papers are not due back from the government office until the end of March, after which they would be eligible to apply for Canadian medical coverage), it is necessary to travel a distance to obtain medical care.


Please pray for our safety as we travel, for alertness for me as I drive in potentially snowy conditions, and for accuracy of diagnosis on Wednesday morning when we meet with the doctor.  We praise God that this year, for the first time, the ferry from here to the mainland is operating through the ice-bound months from late January through April.  We are especially grateful for this, since for the entire 5 years that we have lived here, we have not had to leave the islands for medical help, so the arrival of an ice-cutting ship to precede the ferry this year is a terrific blessing in this time of our need.


The ferry leaves two days a week, thus necessitating a longer stay than we would otherwise spend on the mainland as we wait for our appointment, and afterwards,  for the ferry to head home again. 


George Mueller update:  though the bank statement reads empty, there is yet a day to go before the end of the month. 


I end with this verse to remind myself not only in all states to be content, but to look to Him always:  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because He trusteth in Thee.”

One of these days, I’ll remember to tell you the story behind how this verse from Isaiah 26 became my life verse…

Arrival of the Seals

February 24, 2009


In a very short time, fishermen will be navigating the icy seas as part of the seal hunt, much of which we will be able to see from our kitchen window.  This is dangerous work, as the men must climb out of their boats onto the floating ice chunks, collect the seal young, and often run/stumble back to the boat.  There are a limited number of days for the hunt, and great pressure to move rapidly.

The English Island

February 21, 2009


Every day we look out the window from our kitchen table to see Ile-d’Entree (Entry Island) with its 40 families. This island is set apart from the rest of the archipelago, and requires a boat ride in the summer or a local plane in winter to reach it.  Many years ago, there was a single missionary living amongst them who encouraged them to read the Bible. Perhaps you remember in one of our earliest Letters Home, we wrote about the women of that island asking for someone to lead a Bible Study in English.    Please pray that many more believers would come to Quebec to share the gospel.

In other news, this is the very first year that the boat from the Magdalen Islands to PEI is operating (with generous Canadian government funding) throughout the ice season, which means that islanders are no longer cut off from the world from January through April.  Already, earlier in the season, the passenger boat became stuck for 30 hours in the ice, within sight of PEI.  In the photo above, the Canadian Coast Guard ship (the red boat) is cutting the ice ahead of the ferry.

Regarding Yesterday’s Deleted Post

February 19, 2009


If you’ve been reading our blog regularly, you will note that yesterday’s post entitled “Who are the role models for your children?” (with its further discussion of the top 10 books for boys) has been removed. After some family discussion about blog focus,  we decided to shelve any remaining unposted blog entries regarding marriage and child-rearing and to delete yesterday’s lengthy post.  Despite the fact that during the months as summer circuit riders, we speak and counsel primarily on these subjects, we think that sticking to news of what God is doing in our lives, how He is leading us and providing for us, and what He is doing in the lives of those whom we are walking alongside –both here and during our summer work—more closely reflects what you are seeking to read when you check our blog.  We welcome your input.


And on the George Mueller front, the coffers are empty.



Top 10 Books for Young Men

February 18, 2009

Of the top 10 books on the must-read list for our sons, one that stands out –not only for its impact on the John Wesley’s of the past, but also for its message urging dependence on God alone– is The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis (the Leo Sherley-Price translation).

Underlined in our copy is this: “You must bravely and forcibly resist your sensual appetite, taking no account of what the body likes or dislikes, and struggle to subdue the unwilling flesh to the spirit. For it must be corrected and brought under control, until it is obedient in everything. It must learn to be content with little, to take pleasure in simple things, and not to complain at any hardship.”

Skis for Ten Dollars and Other Bits of Field Frugality

February 17, 2009

After posting a photo of the children in cross-country ski attire…


We thought it might be appropriate to mention that several years ago when we went to the local dump to purchase salvaged cross country skis and boots and poles, the whole package came to about ten dollars per person, and for that amount, they threw in some used rubber boots.  At least one boy has his ski shoes held together with duct tape.


And in the spirit of this post, a word about the George Mueller report:  we thank God every day for His goodness in providing in often miraculous ways.  At the time of this writing, all our bills are paid.  (Philippians 4)


Chipping Away at a Good Thing

February 17, 2009


In the photo:  our rental house, with paint worn thin by long winters


There is an enemy who is smarter than you or I, one who knows the areas in which each of us –and each of our children –would be most effective if we harnessed that character strength for Christ.  Daily, often unknown to us, the enemy chips away at our character, like wild weather chipping away at a solid house…


Which is why we need to spend more time with the Master Carpenter, the repairer of souls, before we find our lives crippled by spiritual neglect.


Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2009


Valentine’s Day morning. The ice has blown a couple of miles out to sea.  It is cold, but beautiful.


Ice pellets fell much of last night.


The tea pot is on the stove, heating water…


…ready to warm those who’ve ventured outside for a well-deserved break.


February 11, 2009


Our gratitude to God is boundless.  His provision always surprises us in the uniqueness of its “where, when and how much”, and the way the various gifts add up to meet our needs never fail to amaze us.

The weekly mail drop arrived this morning;  the total of the enclosed cheques paid every one of the bills on Todd’s desk, with a few toonies ($2 coins) to spare. 


Thank-you to the anonymous donor from Washington – your gift last week was a shot in the arm emotionally, and a huge help financially.  Thank-you to the family who is also living by faith, but who generously gave to this work in January.  Thank-you to those on fixed incomes and to those who are in tough economic situations who give sacrificially, and to all the other kind souls who have shared with us recently. 


We are equally grateful to those who surprise us with their letters, emails, family photos, and postcards.  Yesterday, we were delighted to receive a box and card from a friend of a friend –someone we didn’t know, but who has a very kind heart. She sent Mitford books, not knowing that we’d just finished the first in the series as a read-aloud, and were wondering how we’d get the second book in the series.  There was also a sweet letter from a family friend in Orford, with some fine family photos tucked into the envelope.


And in today’s mail, there was a very special surprise from a family in California:  Hannah, Joshua and Sophia sent wonderful cards that they had made themselves:  they wrote that they are praying for us, and there was even a birthday sticker on the back.  Thank-you for remembering!  Your gesture meant a lot to all of us!



Children in the church gathering

February 11, 2009

Every year, we have the privilege of participating in a great number of church gatherings across the country, and in the majority of these gatherings, we witness parents committed to listening to challenging messages alongside their young children.  It wasn’t so long ago that we were sitting in the gathering with little ones next to us.  Afterwards, there was often –in the vehicle or over lunch—marvelous discussions about what we heard.  We grew together, answered their questions, bonded…


We want to encourage all those who have made the same commitment.  The hours you log looking at dry “talking head” videos with your children at home while training them during the week will bear good fruit when you want them to sit quietly and (hopefully) listen to someone speak at length.


Doug Wilson shares this:

“Many years ago we made the decision to disband our children’s church and nursery, and go to a system of parents training their little ones to worship with us. We have a cry room, and so on, but the intent is to have our children grow up into the worship of God. We have had many reasons to rejoice in that decision, and we don’t regret it at all.

At the same time, the point of this exhortation is to let you parents know that we know how much work you do, and to encourage you in it. It is good work, work that will bear fruit for many years, over many generations. It is sometimes easy to lose sight of the long view, especially if you have five children under the age of seven, and all of them are squirmy. It is easy to lose sight of that when you haven’t heard more than ten minutes of a sermon at a time in three years, and you wonder if you will ever be able to listen to a sermon again.

But the life of Christ is not best represented by listening to a lecture, undistracted by anything. The life of Christ is pulled in many directions, just like you are being, and you are willing for this to happen so that your children may come to worship the Lord. Laying it down for someone else this way is our glory. It is a sacrifice to bring them to the Word, to the psalms, to the wine and to the bread. So don’t measure what you get out of these worship services with carnal balances. The weight of glory you are carrying is far beyond the weight of toddlers in your lap.”