Some ‘Careful’ Thoughts

Like so many in Canada I had a bit of a forced fast from social media on Friday, so this post is a bit later than usual. I missed the week before as my back pain kept me otherwise occupied. It has literally been a slow period for me. There has been no frenetic activity as I didn’t venture far from my backrest or heating pad.

I did start and today finished a Bible Study series on the book of Haggai. I have never led a study of this prophet before and thought it might be fun to dive into this relatively obscure book. My instincts were not wrong! I found Haggai speaking directly to me in my time.

In chapter one he writes twice “Give careful thought to your ways!” He talks of people ‘feathering their own nest’ while neglecting the habitation of God. Two times he calls hearers to carefully examine their ways. Repetition is made in scripture to emphasize a point. My mother used this method and then would add “Do not make me say that again!” She meant business! God really does desire that I look carefully at my ways. Jesus had harsh words for hypocrites. These are folks who say one thing and do another. The prophet here is calling us to integrity. Are my actions lining up with my values and if not which should change?

If I agree that the first and great commandment is to love God and then in my life ‘love of self’ rules my time, talent, and treasure, I make myself that most dreaded of creatures, a hypocrite. This repeated reminder from the prophet calls me to a reflective mode of living, where I make my valued priorities actual priorities in my life.

Haggai came to me at the right time. I had fallen into a ‘pity party.’ My discomfort had become my priority rather than God’s glory. I need not just an adjustment by my chiropractor but need an adjustment of my attitude and priorities. How can I wallow when nothing can separate me from the love of God found in Christ Jesus? I am sure God does not want me ignoring the pain receptors he himself designed, but he does want my life to glorify him. From the outside that may look different but the heart ought to remain fixed on God and God’s glory.

My only other activity was to host a barbecue at Threshold House. I was severally limited in what I could do but we were flooded with good helpers. One of our residents did all the grilling. We had a little over fifty people which seemed about all we could safely manage as it became an indoor event. Lots of wonderful conversations took place and it was wonderful to see such life in the building. One fellow shared with us that that very week he had asked Jesus into his heart after a Celebrate Recovery evening.

It was a great night that I have been ‘paying’ for since but well worth a bit of discomfort.

Flash Back!

This was a ‘flash back’ kind of week. We had a visit from an old friend. Agnes and I used to travel all around Southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan together. She led worship and led the children while I preached and led workshop events. It was an ‘old home week.’ She was taking a break from her ministry in Northern Quebec on the East Coast of James Bay. We did a lot of catching up!

The other ‘flash back’ was not nearly as much fun! Four years ago, I was suffering chronically a very sore back. I was intently pondering retiring from ministry. At this time, I was pleasantly surprised when at a church service while visiting friends, in Halifax, I was healed! I took that as a sign not to retire and began my current project at Threshold House. This week as I bent to pick something off the floor my back ‘gave out.’ The stab of pain and accompanying inability to straighten was all too familiar. Since then, I have been in a lot of pain but even more seriously I have been battling thoughts of despair. This morning I returned to my chiropractor, who I had not seen in over four years. He did his ministrations, and I am grateful that I have a real measure of relief. I have another appointment early next month. I am grateful too that we have a medical plan that covers most of these costs. This week I have slowed down considerably but I hope to resume most of my activities next week.

Often, over the years my blogs have focussed on the faithfulness of God, and this is a wonderful opportunity to recall that fact and walk in trust. By nature, I could get despondent, but I want to chose to walk in hope. God is as much enthroned in my times of pain as in times of joy.

Plans are coming together for our barbecue on July 6th. The folks from our church’s Wednesday Night Study are bringing dishes and inviting friends. This will be by far our largest gathering in over two years. We hope it is the first of many. If you are in the Saint John area you are invited to join us 5:30 July 6 at Threshold House. You can let me know at streethopesj@gmail.com.

Our Saturday morning studies are proving really helpful to those attending. One guy says, “My spirit has changed since we started.” The conversations each week demonstrate the level of engagement.

We will soon wrap up our morning study of the Gospel of Luke. I am praying about doing Haggai, as a change of pace.

The fellow who is applying for the Night Assistant position will arrive in Saint John in mid August and after we meet we will make a decision.

Please do keep all these things in your prayers. I love hearing your words of encouragement and what God may be saying to you. You can comment here on this page or email at the address above.

Thanks. Blessings.

A Good Week

This week I went to Teen Challenge for a visit. My friend and pastor Roger Graham was invited along, and the fellowship made a long drive go by quickly. Roger’s church supports Teen Challenge and has sponsored several individuals for the program. During our visit he tool every opportunity to share how he and the church were supportive of Threshold House. We had a great reception and left knowing that Threshold House would be held up in prayer at this Centre. On one occasion as we were chatting with the Spiritual Director, I noticed he had a copy of the latest Faith Today on his shelf. I took it down and opened it to an article about Threshold House. You can read it at https://www.pressreader.com/canada/faith-today/20220506/282149294850393

This article was well timed to add weight to our case as ‘a next step’ for graduates.

There are other hopeful signs. There are wires in the East Wing of our residents awaiting the alarm bells which are on back order. I got word that these will be installed next week. This will allow us to furnish those rooms in preparation for more residents.

I returned to Stone Church last Sunday, at the invitation of the Mission Committee. I had not been there since Linda and I decided we could no longer be a part of the Anglican Church in Canada, some two and a half years ago. I was a bit concerned about how I might address that issue, but I felt it went quite well. Linda and I received a warm welcome. I am really grateful for this church’s continued support in finances and prayer.

We received our first serious inquiry about the position of Night Assistant, and we are in the process of discerning God’s leading. In the meantime, our current fellow, Mo, has agreed to stay until we find someone.

We are planning a barbecue July 6th. Folks who have been attending our study of the book Bless are preparing to invite friends to join us for an evening of food and fellowship. Threshold House will provide the meat while other members fill out the other portions of the barbecue. This joint venture is exciting, and we hope it will be fruitful.

Last night I attended a celebration for someone who has been 17 years sober. It was indeed a celebration of the Lord and his work in the lives of those who turn to God for help. It is an amazing privilege to witness this redemptive work in those who once were in a ‘seemingly hopeless state.’

On a personal note, Linda and I travelled to Nova Scotia to visit my sister. My brother was travelling through, so we had a mini family reunion. I had not seen my brother since covid, so it was a real treat.

We got home in time for me to attend the celebration last night and today a dear friend, Agnes, is arriving for a visit. Whenever we meet it is like old times!

Please continue to pray for Threshold House that we find the right Night Assistant and for the installation of alarms to be quickly completed.

Part ll “The Accidental Ventriloquist”

Linda reminded me that I had more I should say about my time as a puppeteer. Last week I wrote about how I accidently became a puppeteer and how that has shaped my life. To say I accidently stumbled into ventriloquism would be both true and a groaner (a pun).

I was with a few of my Up Town friends when I had my great fall. Having a great fall in October is wonderful but mine was in August and of a painful variety. The result was a shattered jaw accompanied by tremendous damage to my teeth. It was a memorable experience!

My jaw was wired shut for a little over 6 weeks. On her first visit to me in my hospital room Linda brought a book on ventriloquism. I had long thought about trying my ‘hand’ at this, but it requires a lot of practise. Now I had the opportunity to give this art my full attention. I learned how to speak and project without moving my jaw or lips.

Early on in this exercise I told our Director, Bruce Smith, that I wanted to preform somewhere before the end of the year. He booked me right away to debut at the Church Army Christmas Banquet, where 100+ of our friend and supporters would be.

I found a dummy (another dummy) and continued practising toward this deadline. I wrote a script in my now familiar format. I played the wise patient character and my puppet Andrew, played a zanier type character. We did a bit about the best kept commandment. If you do not know it is the admonition Jesus gives to some He had healed, to not tell anyone. It seemed to Andrew that this was indeed the best kept command. The Church was very much like the mighty Mackenzie River, which was often ‘frozen at the mouth.’

It was a daunting preparation time for me, but I fulfilled my goal of preforming ventriloquism! Since Covid hit I have, with the help of my masks, perfected the art!

This is yet another example of God’s faithfulness. He uses the most difficult circumstances. If we but look beyond our pain He can accomplish immeasurably beyond all we could ask or imagine.

Three mornings a week I do a Bible Study and post it online. For the past, several months we have been wending our way through Luke and the end is in sight. Next week we will be zeroing in on the crucifixion of Jesus. I want to slow down a bit so as not to hurry through this act of love which is so central to our Faith.

After recording the short study, those of us in the room of our chapel at Threshold House spend time in prayer and conversation. You could participate by letting us know of any prayer requests you might have, and we will join you in intercessions. If you live in the Saint John Area and would like to drop by at 9 AM Monday – Wednesday we would be happy for you to join us.

For Prayer

We are planning some ‘Meals with a Message’ some will be lunch hours with soup or chowder, others will be evening spaghetti dinners, and still others will be the occasional breakfast.

We continue to look for a Night Assistant. Please pray for the right person.

The Tale of the Accidental Puppeteer

I was pondering this week “How did I get here?” I never intended to be involved in the world of recovery, but I ‘accidently’ fell into it. As I pondered this I realized that most of the developments in my ministry over the years were ones that I ‘fell’ into rather than planned.

Many years ago, I found myself involved in children’s ministry not because I was gifted but because there was little that a young evangelist was allowed to do. Adults would not allow me in pulpits but instead they happily entrusted their “most precious” little ones to my fumbling ministrations. Things began to come in focus as I was praying and seeking God about this dilemma. I saw others who could hide behind their guitars and musical talents to dazzle children, but I had none of these gifts. Yet I found myself plunked down in the midst of Children’s Ministry with the expectation that I would walk in the footsteps of these talented folks! I knew I was a fraud and desperately prayed God would bail me out somehow.

One morning I was baby sitting the toddler of my billet hosts. We were watching Sesame Street together when, ‘just for fun,’ I decided to try imitating Kermit, then Ernie, and then Bert. The toddler loved it! I could not dazzle with guitar licks, but I could make voices. This became my lifeline! I became a reluctant puppeteer. I found a rhythm with Bert and Ernie and together we taught children basics of the Gospel. My new partners were naturals at this. Ernie fell into the ‘good hearted but foolish’ role and Bert became the ‘patient and wise’ one. Ernie got into messes and Bert showed him the way.

The next year I was again doing children’s ministry but this time in a remote Northern community. At this time there was little electricity and no televisions in the community, so my pals Bert and Ernie were unknown. I turned to new friends Rueben (the racoon) and Solomon (the owl). They played the exact same roles as Ernie and Bert, and I continued my career as the reluctant puppeteer.

It turned out that remote regions were easily impressed, and I soon took my puppet friends on the road and was invited to one community after another. Soon some of the churches would open their pulpits and I had finally earned the opportunity to do things I had felt called to do! I had come to realise that if I could explain the Gospel to children then perhaps I could share the same Good News with their elders. I had learned the essentials of the Gospel through writing puppet scripts and now I got to apply it to adults. I had originally thought I would be an eloquent communicator like some of my preaching heroes, but I had learned the effectiveness of homely and understandable communication seasoned with humour. Again I ‘fell’ into a style I had never considered.

Later this varied experience equipped me to teach evangelism at Taylor College, but I was restless with the sole role of teacher and began an inner-city ministry that lasted for years. I would not have chosen this path but ‘fell’ into the opportunity. My experience of communicating the Gospel in an accessible fashion suited my new Up Town friends.

It was these friendships that caused be to become concerned with recovery. Through my inner-city years I have been inspired by friends who have recovered and are living wonderfully productive lives serving God and their community.

In all this I trace the fragrance and fingerprints of God. Where I say I ‘fell’ into something I see that I was led! When things are difficult and dark I rest in the knowledge that God leads in wonderful and mysterious ways. I believe we can trust Him!

For Prayer:

On the 12th, I have been invited by the Mission Committee to return to Stone Church to share about Threshold House. This group has been a consistent support via finances and prayer over the years and I am grateful for this partnership.

On the 13th, the pastor of Forest Hills Baptist and I are trekking to Teen Challenge for a visit there. We hope that soon we will be able to announce residents coming from that program.

The Topic Is Anger!

Anger is everywhere these days. It is in the air, and it lives and feeds and grows, on-line and in our political discourse. There is a lot to be angry about, like injustice and war and our own impotence to affect change or control our circumstances.

Over the years I have spent a lot of time dwelling on this subject. It has been a consuming topic for me because for a long time (too long) it was my chief identifying emotion. As I realised I had a problem, I began to cast about in search of a role model. While there were innumerable people who handled anger better than me, I failed to find a role model I could imitate! There were people who never seemed to get really angry. I knew I could not do that! There were people who swallowed their anger and bitter experience taught me this would not work for me. Some were passive aggressive, and I did not admire that as a method. Many, many were better than me with anger, but I could not find a wholesome or workable model.

The scriptures not only give me permission to be angry, but actually encourage anger. It seems this is a God given emotion. It is a tool which we wield most clumsily. When I first looked to Jesus, I saw only ‘Jesus Meek and Mild,’ and I allowed this one-dimensional caricature to dominate. Apparently Jesus was not in all ways tempted like me and was incapable of anger. Sure, he got “righteously” angry at money changers, but “righteous” anger was not my problem.

Now I see Jesus quite differently. When Judas betrayed him with a kiss, the Jesus who was indeed tempted in all ways, felt anger. He looked Judas in the eyes, not letting him off the hook and thereby confronted him with his awful betrayal. After Peter’s denial again we see him looking Peter in the eye and the terrible weight of Peter’s denial crashes upon him.

Jesus had taught about turning the cheek. This was not solely to offer the abuser another opportunity, but more so to look that person in the eyes and force them to see your humanity in the face of their inhumanity.

Jesus followed his own model as he dealt with inhumanity and abuse. He was angry and yet did not sin. No one was ever just ‘let off the hook.’ Everyone is confronted with their behaviour and the horrendous consequences that flow from them.

It is not only okay to be angry, but it also seems a Gospel imperative! Like sex we have perverted the gift of anger. We abuse and misuse anger to justify our own inhumanity!

Being angry well is really difficult. I have come to believe though that God does not ask of us that which we can not do through Him. He says, “Be angry and not sin.,” and this is one of the many things we can do “through Christ who strengthens us.”

In this life and times, there is a lot to be angry about. The chore for me is to choose my anger well and to feel and act on it in a way that honours God. I fail often at this. I fall well short of this ‘mark,’ but it remains the ‘mark’ nevertheless! I fail and I repent and reset. I think I am getting better. I think I sometimes hit the mark, or nearly so. My goal is progress rather than perfection for I find that solely striving for perfection frustrates me to the point of abandonment.

We had our first “Finding Freedom” Bible Study last Saturday and it was a really enjoyable time. We hope to see a couple of more people this week.

Linda and I believe we have turned a corner health-wise. Thank you for your prayers.

Tag You’re It!

This week I got an email from a friend letting me know it was Walter’s 90th birthday. Walter and I had lost touch over the years, but we were great friends in the day. When we first began to work together there was a bit of trepidation on both our parts. I had been asked to move to Toronto to work at the National Office. I became the Director, Capt. T.’s assistant. I think I got the position mostly because, in those days, I was quite strong and could carry Capt. T., who had just had hip surgery, up and down stairs and help him into his car etc. Over the next few years Capt. T. and I became joined at the hip (pun fully intended!). We prayed and planned together as he directed our society. When Capt. T. finally retired Walter was his natural successor. I wondered how I would fit in his new team, and he wondered if I could be a member of his team. Over the next months we too became fast friends. There was a team of four of us that prayed and planned for the next few years. We had so much fun! It was the best of times. We laughed and cried together.

I called Walter on his birthday, and we had a wonderful time of reminiscing and laughing. We remarked about how faithful God has been through the years. Walter’s parting words still ring in my ears “Love you brother.”  I am so glad I took the opportunity to call and regret that I had not done it much sooner.

This story means a lot to me this week because at that same time I was in my annual funk as I recalled the birth of our son, Jamie, and his tragic death. Each May I fall over this same emotional cliff. This week Walter’s conversation was my parachute, halting my descent into sorrow. I am grateful for that but especially grateful for the reminder of God’s faithfulness over the years!

Linda and I have been battling physical health issues this week. Her cough had me quite frightened at times, but we are both on the mend, though she lags behind still.

At Threshold House we have had a ‘good news/bad news’ time. Our newest resident, Jonathan, is fitting in well and we are so happy to be a part of his journey. At the same time Mo, our Night Pastor, let me know that for personal and family reasons he needed to move back to the Moncton area. We are actively seeking a new Night Assistant. We would value your prayers for this search.

This Saturday morning, we are starting a new “Finding Freedom” study at Threshold House. I am really looking forward to this. It will be our home grown follow up from our “Life’s Healing Choices” study. Our experience that when we start these kinds of studies, that the enemy disrupts, so we are asking for prayers for this effort.

Once my health and strength are back we will begin our Friday Fellowship Drop In. The donated pool table and dart board will join our card and board games.

So, we have lots to pray about. Tag you’re it!

Make Me a Blesser

In the spring of the year, we delight in seeing signs of hope and growth. These signs hearten us as we shake off the affects of winter hibernation. The first crocus, the forsythia bush with its yellow burgeons or the greening lawns whisper at first and then shout, “New Life is on the way!” Such is ‘the Rite of Spring.’ It is an exhilarating time!

I was witness to another delightful sign of hope. It was ‘a sign’  of new life and hope for the local church. A group of about a dozen very ordinary people gather weekly to study a book, “BLESS” by David and Jon Ferguson. It is not just that we are studying this book together, but the excitement involved! There is a palpable commitment and enthusiasm to be a blessing.

God’s original commitment to Abraham was that Abraham would be blessed and that he would be a blessing to the rest of the world. The Fergusons propose that God has not changed strategies. God’s desire for the Church is that we bless the world so God might be glorified.

They follow two missionary groups. One is a group of ‘Converters.’ This group was determined to faithfully preach the Word of God so people would hear and respond in faith. The other group were ‘Blessers.’ This group sought to love people and bless them in Jesus’ Name. At the end of the missions the ‘Converters’ had extremely limited success but the ‘Blessers’ reported many more conversions. Blessing rather than converting proved the more effective way!

This past week we read about the importance of prayer in being a blesser. It is after all, only God who can bless! Beginning with prayer puts ‘the horse before the cart.’ Praying also involves us in listening. Jesus says, “My sheep know my voice..” By asking who and how we can bless we discern our Great Shepherd’s voice. We read story after story of people who listened and acted on decided that  the Shepherd’s voice. Then we regaled each other with our own experiences. By the end we decided that enlisting the ‘supernatural’ ought to be the most natural of things for us.

We parted with a commitment to put this to the test in our own lives and to report back next week about our experiences. I am filled with that ‘springtime’ hope. I see signs of a fresh awakening to the possibilities of God blessing our families, neighbourhoods, and community as we seek to bless! This is the very kind of awakening that birthed the early Church. Ordinary people who have experienced God’s blessing choosing to bless others, only the mind of God could conceive such a life-bringing strategy.

This week we had another ‘sign’ of life. Jonathan M. became our newest resident at Threshold House. We are very pleased to have him join us, and we look forward to all God is going to do in and through his life.

Linda and I had a lovely visit with a Mothers’ Union. These lovely ladies had some really creative ways they would like to bless the residents of Threshold House. We look forward to this growing relationship.

We have had several pieces of furniture donated and renovations continue. We held a BBQ for the residents and their families and friends last week We hope this is the first of many such events.

Please keep us in prayer. Linda and I have both had some battles with cold and flu which has depleted our energy. Thanks.

S.O.S: Stretch Or Starve

I learned a hard lesson. (In retrospect I have learned many hard lessons but let us concentrate on this one at the moment.) In my early fifties I decided to join a baseball team. Once upon a time I had played a lot of baseball, and this seemed like fun. In my youth I never found the need for stretching. Young muscles seemed to be instantly available for use. However, my aged muscles were significantly less adaptable. The first time I asked them for a burst of speed my hamstring ‘snapped’! I was in a lot of discomfort for a number of weeks! After a long lay-off from sport I had failed to prepare properly. I had not warmed up. I had not stretched. I was unprepared.

I think this hard lesson is applicable to us as a Church. After a long season of covid, when church ‘activity’ mostly involved sitting in front of a screen, we feel the stirrings to arise and shake off our slumber! We long to be a relational rather than sedentary church. We hear afresh the great “Go!” of the gospel. We are awakening to the call of God to actively be blessing the world and vocally sharing the Good News. I suggest though that our we take some time to ‘warm up.’ To leap into active relational/missional life without preparation may have painful unforeseen consequences. Like me playing baseball we need to stretch! We are not ready to burst into the activities as we did before. These activities may not be the right ones for us now.

Romans 13:10-11 gives us wisdom for this very issue. “Love does no harm to its neighbour. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law. And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” The context involves Paul’s exhortation to the church to actively be loving the world. He calls the Church to ‘wake up’ from slumber. This has a powerful meaning for us as we emerge from our forced time of hibernation/fallowness these past two years. Now is a time to love the lost world like no time before, for the time is nearer than ever before. But we cannot just simply spring from slumber into service. We need to stretch. We need to prepare!

My wife always seems to know when I have decided to get up in the morning. I thought at first it was a ‘woman’s intuition’ thing, but I have come to learn that I tip off my intentions. I always stretch just before I roll out of bed. I unconsciously stretch in preparation for a day of activity.

Before we race out to engage an unsuspecting world we need to prepare. We need to pray so that we are engaged with the only true evangelist, God. Without God’s work in us and in our neighbour we labour in vain. We pray, not to enlist God in our endeavour, but to enlist ourselves in God’s endeavour. We ask for opportunities to intentionally connect with neighbours. We ask for opportunities to ‘hear’ the cares and concerns of our neighbours. We ask for opportunities to serve or bless our neighbours. We ask for opportunities to invite our neighbours to shared activities especially eating or drinking together.

Having asked God’s company on this mission to be a blessing we look with anticipation for answers to our prayers. As our relationship grows we will hear our neighbour’s story and we will gain relational reciprocity, and we can share our story. People often object to speaking because of a lack of confidence but we are all experts of our own story! Our story of God’s grace and mercy is irrefutable evidence to our friend.

All along we have been bathing this intentional/missional friendship in prayer and now we seek God for ways to connect not just with our story but with the Gospel story. If we remain prayerful and spiritually fit we can expect opportunities to do just that.

A dear friend of mine used to say “There are three things that are wonderful! People are wonderful! Jesus is wonderful! And introducing the two is WONDERFUL!”

Before buffet meals Capt. T. used to holler out “It’s S-O-S, stretch or starve!” It is the same with our missional activity! Let us stretch in preparation for a time of rich fellowship around the Banqueting Table of the King of Kings.

A Wonderful Week in Review

It was a real honour to be invited to the celebration last night. The ‘Solution Group’ was celebrating the fourth anniversary of their founding. These folks meet each week at Threshold House, and it has been a joy to know each one and watch them over the passage of years. I have witnessed miracle after miracle as folks who began in a “seemingly hopeless state” have become healthier and more and more useful both in their group but also in the wider community. I cannot claim any responsibility for this ongoing transformation, but that we open our doors for this vital ministry and pray for them regularly.

Last night everyone had an opportunity to share what the group has meant to them. Each in turn expressed thanks to God! This spiritual program has had a positive effect and now group members know the importance of humble service. The secret of success is humility and service. These traits replace the self-centredness and selfishness of previous ‘living’ and provides the means for discovering new and meaningful life. I was a bit surprised when I was asked to share. My usual contributions are to read something or to pray. I was able to thank God for the opportunity to be ‘a fly on the wall’ as I witness the transforming work of God in the lives of those who surrender to His will.

This week Linda and I also had the joy of hosting our small House Church for an Easter Dinner. Afterwards we watched a wonderful message from Max Lucado, who spoke so plainly and clearly, and we sang and prayed together. It was a wonderful end to a beautiful day.

The day began with a ‘Sun Rise Service.’ We had to trust the sun had indeed risen. We did not see the physical sun because it was hidden behind clouds and drizzle, but the evidence of its rising was unmistakable as the dark world turned grey and birds began to hail the dawn. A dozen or so of us gathered under a picnic shelter and welcomed that ‘Happy Morning’ as people from age to age have done! After a snack by the lakeside of salmon we all went home to warm up before our next celebration. This was a Church Breakfast! Eighty plus gathered for breakfast and an Easter celebration

After breakfast Linda and I met with and prayed with a friend who was being baptised that Easter morning. It was a joy to pray with her and to hold her towel and to get a ‘close up’ experience of her rapturous emergence from the water.

The church was the fullest I have seen it in over two years. Most people remain masked but there was a joy in the air. We were joined in our pew by our daughter and her family. It was great to bounce our little grandson as we sang with Easter joy.

Life can be difficult, but Easter joy can sustain us. We have seen a lot of death lately. A wonderful lady and one of the most encouraging people I know died after a valiant struggle with Covid. This is a reminder that there are still vulnerable people among us, and that this type of death is not an easy one! One of my former students also died recently leaving a young family. The suddenness and shock of this is pervasive.

My friend J. remains in the psych ward at the hospital while her various workers make decisions about her future. She is quite distressed by the options they are considering. We are much in prayer for her. I find myself haunted by the lyrics of James Taylor’s song “Fire and Rain,” “the plans they made put an end to you…” It is my fervent prayer that the absolute best decisions might be made for her and that a fresh start might lie in her future.

We were disappointed when the staff from Teen Challenge could not come to Threshold House. They have Covid in their centre and so we are looking to reschedule once they are clear of that.

This week we are planning a visit to a farm that was donated to Out Flow. We are wondering whether there might be ways that the residents of Threshold House might be useful to the development of this property and its potential for ministry.

Renovations of our East Wing will soon be under way. We survived the winter with its snow removal and heating costs, and we are still ‘in the black.’ Praise God! We are trusting the Lord for our future as well!

Blessed Easter!