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A ‘village’ in our home

Christina Barkman: “While it is certainly nice to sometimes have a quiet home—like these long winter evenings when the kids are all finally asleep and I can cuddle up with a good book—I love welcoming friends, family and a little extra chaos into my home.”

When our family lived in the Philippines from 2012 to 2018, we hosted our Peace Church community in our home every weekend and opened our doors to countless friends throughout the week.

On leaving home and coming home

The Barkmans say their final goodbyes to their Peace Church friends in Manilla this past spring. (Photo courtesy of the Barkman family)

Saying goodbye to a friend that’s more like a big brother. (Photo courtesy of the Barkman family)

Five months ago, when we were packing up our lives in Manila, I wanted so badly to just stay. I didn't think I could handle any more tearful farewells and I felt horrible tearing our kids away from our Peace Church family who helped to raise our kids. I am still filled with tears when I think back on those painful goodbyes.

Waiting watchfully ends well

Flowers hang in the former backyard of Peter and Leona Dueck Penner in Winnipeg. (Photo by Leona Dueck Penner)

‘Heidi’ enjoys the flowers in the former backyard of Peter and Leona Dueck Penner in Winnipeg. She made the move to Waterloo, Ont., and now enjoys the view from the balcony. (Photo by Leona Dueck Penner)

“Wait watchfully,” wrote Rainer Maria Rilke in a prose poem he penned around 1895, which my husband and I read on an autumn morning during our quiet time a couple of years ago.

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