Back in 1988, my wife and I chaperoned 17 high school students on a trip to visit refugee camps in Thailand. We thought the students would learn about missions and life outside of Canada. We had no idea the experience would change us forever.
Growing up, I never wanted to be a farmer. It seemed like farm machinery always had precedence over a new couch, curtains or nice shoes. Then I met my husband Bob at Rosthern Mennonite Collegiate in Saskatchewan, and he wanted to be a veterinarian. Naively, I never thought this would involve farming, so I taught elementary school while he studied.
I am so glad that summer is on the horizon. Spending time outdoors was a huge part of my childhood. My family shared many weekends at a small one-room cabin on a river, fishing, swimming, canoeing and just enjoying the beauty around us. We would watch the beavers make their way up and down the river, hope to see a deer come out at dusk for a drink, and listen to the wolves howl at night.
A year ago, a friend issued a challenge. He urged me to select one word as the word for me in 2017. A word on which to focus and meditate. A word of (at least hoped for) transformation.
Although it is only November, my community is starting to put up festive decorations and the blank spaces on my calendar are filling up quickly. A list of gifts for family and friends will soon land me in checkout lines where I will almost certainly be asked perfunctorily, “How are you today?” Most customers will respond innocuously and some will be too preoccupied to respond at all.
Peach Blossom Church almost always meets its budget, although some years involve more drama than others. It still engages a full-time pastor, fixes the roof and supports mission workers. In 15 minutes, it can raise $5,000 to send the youth group on a mission trip.
Photo by Brandi Friesen Thorpe
Recently at my church here in central Winnipeg, we have been navigating a sermon series on the Psalms. My small group, some ten or so very diverse people at various stages in their adult-esque lives, have also been journeying through various types of psalms by engaging in a plethora of approaches and activities.
Big Sister welcomes the new family member.
He came one week and one day early. He came quickly, so quickly that his dad and midwife almost missed his grand arrival. “He’s here,” the nurse yelled while everyone else was still trying to get ready.
Yes, he is here. My sweet, perfect son is finally here and he has forever changed my world making it an infinitely better place.
God, our Mother and our Father,
Jesus Christ, Holy Son,
Holy Spirit, our Comforter.
We offer our gratitude, for you are with us.
You are familiar without struggles and joys, and still you draw near to us.
You are Holy.
We offer you gratitude for your sustaining love,
For the relationships made and being made,
For our daily bread,
For the material we need to continue everyday,
For how you renew our spirit when we struggle
The 2014-15 CMU Student Council on Tuition Freedom Day, an annual celebration recognizing the generosity of donors, churches and the Manitoba government in supporting education at CMU. (Photo courtesy of CMU)
Tuition Freedom Day is celebrated with speeches, balloons, pizza and fellowship. (Photo courtesy of CMU)
A group of students leads singing at the 2014 Tuition Freedom Day on Nov. 24. (Photo courtesy of CMU)
For the past two years, I have had the pleasure of being activities vice-president on the Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) Student Council. Along with all the elections, blood donor clinics and fun social events I’ve planned, I have also organized a very special day that is close to my heart: Tuition Freedom Day.
A woman—a good family friend—pours perfume worth $25,000 on Jesus’ feet at a dinner party held at her house in his honour. She removes her head scarf, shakes her hair loose, bends over, and wipes Jesus’ perfumed feet with her hair. The fragrance fills the whole house. Surely that fragrance remains on Jesus’ feet—and in Mary’s hair—for days.