Family

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My brother and his wife dancing to one of their songs.

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Game time.

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When your little sister is a chef and she decides to grace us with her amazing skills! It’s only natural to take as many pictures as possible of her creativity and work.

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There is no place like home. I love my family.

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Parents, siblings, cousins and friends.Coming home for Christmas was the best gift my friend could have given me. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and may you have a great entry to the new year.

Thanksgiving with Mars

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Today I sat at a table with Americans, Russians, Canadians, First Nation Canadians and had supper. The conversation covered Russian history, languages,politics, hunting, children, culture. My heart was thankful, I enjoy being in a setting where different cultures sit around a meal and connect. As I watched my friends children play with Mars around us and under the table, I couldn’t help but give thanks to God for giving me a heart for children. Its the main reason I moved to Canada. There are people out there who will spend a lifetime trying to figure out what their purpose in life is. For me, loving kids whatever race or creed has been my heart’s desire from the age of 13. What an adventure it has been with God as he has led me from country to country. Each place with its own set of trials and joys but the connecting thread the same, children.

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Jesus shared a parable of a man who gave three servants money to do something with whilst he was gone. Two did something with the little they had but one just let the money sit, thinking that there was nothing he could do with so little. Needless to say, this servant’s attitude was a great disappointment to the master when he returned. I want to be like the others who did something with the little they had. I don’t want to tire of getting better at working with children. I want to always strive for excellence. I want to say when I see Jesus,” here, you planted a desire to go and love and I did the best I could.”

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When I think of where I have come from and the opportunities God has given me to travel to different parts of the world because of His name, I am filled with amazement and thankfulness.What are the God-given desires, plans, ideas that have been planted in your heart? Don’t give up on them, the road may be lonely, you may not have enough people encouraging you but it’s better to live trying than never attempting at all.

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Happy Canadian Thanksgiving.

 

 

This and that

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Last Sunday I helped decorate for a local wedding. I took pictures of it too.

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Kindergarten was having a family thing going on ( I forget what they called it) My friend asked if I could come with her and her daughter as part of their family.

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My friends took this pic of me and I didn’t know it was on my camera till later. I like it.

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A big part of what I do is visiting families. An average visit will last at least 2 hours. There is no agenda, I am getting to know people at an easy pace. When I am asked how I go about getting invited into peoples homes, my response is: ” Of all the families I regularly visit now, I did not wait for an invitation( I still don’t), I just rocked up and didn’t stop randomly visiting them, now they ask when I will be coming by.” I guess if I think about it, it takes some courage to do this … I  never did think much about it, when I started, I thought it was the most logical way to make friends.

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The view from my trailer.

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An aunt with her nephews.This family is full of laughs.

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The lake has become a busy highway these days. Did you know this area has the longest ice road in North America? The kids are busy clearing snow to make an ice rink. I live in the trailer that is close to that orange building. Its obscured by the trees.

I am because you are.*

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Well, I have been in Canada for a week now. Leaving was not easy, after all home is home right? There is much I took from my short visit but I think the best lesson for me was this:

It doesn’t matter what cultural back ground you come from, whether you classify yourself as coming from a warm climate where community is everything and almost all your life’s decisions are made around the thought, “how will this affect those around me.” Or you come from a cold climate where peoples natural tendencies are to look out for the individual; no one is an island, to grow in maturity, to know your strengths and weaknesses, you need other people around you. One is never too old to learn something new and one is never too young to impart wisdom to those around them. My personal growth, the maturity that I have acquired so far is not on me alone, it comes from those who have allowed me to be part of their lives, to share in their struggles, joy and suffering.

There is ubuntu* in all of us.

You’re my honey bunch,

Sugar plum,

Richard in his tikinagan

Richard in his tikinagan

You’re are my cuppycake gumdrop,

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You are my sweety pie.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe apple of my eye!

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And I love you so!

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And I want you to know, that I will always be here.

Have you heard of the Cuppycake song? thats were I got the words from hahaha!

(The camera is working again!! took these pictures to test it out. Lets hope it continues to behave itself!)

You make me brave.

imageWhen I miss home I sometimes make myself a cup of Rooibos tea. Rooibos because it is a South African tea and I grew up on it. If I allow my mind to wander the first memory that comes to mind as I sip my tea is when I was ten years old and we as a family first moved to Mozambique … but that’s a story for another day.

The temperature outside reads -16C but my app says it feels like -26C with winds of 22kph, yeap winter is here. The hardest part of moving to Pikangikum has been that I cannot easily pick up the phone and talk to my family. Sure we exchange emails (and instant messaging with my siblings) but there is something about hearing a persons voice that puts emails to shame. Since April I have spoken to my siblings once and my parents 3 times. The last time I spoke to my dad was over 2 months ago. Not for lack of trying, I can assure you!

Tonight I especially miss my parents, if you know me personally or have followed this blog for years, you know that I have strived to serve Jesus with excellence and repeatedly step out in complete obedience and faith to Him most times not even sure what will happen next. This life style I have chosen has been heavily influenced by my parents.From the time I was 15 I knew that they hold me with an open hand, aware that I am their daughter but Jesus comes first. Even though we worked well together for so many years, they were willing to let me go. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it was for them to see me go and yet they did. When I was in Peru a couple of years ago my mom wrote to me saying ,” the way you can pack up and go to places so far from home scares me, you are so brave.”

For me, the way they love and serve Jesus with humility and strength makes me brave.

My Rooibos tea has gone cold, my eyes are teary, I miss my family tonight … hopefully next week  when my calling cards arrive, I will get to hear their voices.

Hope Notes: Ruth and Silas

If you follow this blog, you may have noticed that I have not shared any people stories yet. Not that there aren’t any to tell its just that in my opinion it was better to wait and take great care in sharing my first people story. After all, there just might be someone out there who has no clue what goes on in a Reserve except for when I share. Something that always bothers me when foreign volunteers/missionaries/aid workers come to Africa is that when some of them share their “people stories” they never take the time to ask: “if I was in these peoples shoes would I be OK with what outsiders write about me, my culture and my troubles?” Often times in their stories, Africans come out looking like people who have no initiative whose only salvation is from foreign intervention. So it is with great care I begin my series called “Hope Notes.” Every time you see this title you will know I am sharing the Hope I have found whilst living on this Reserve.

Truth be told, life on a Reserve, especially this Reserve is challenging and often times very, very difficult. I have found some similarities to life back in Africa, I have encountered situations that have left me grieved and puzzled just as I did when I was back home. There are families stuck in a cycle of pain from suicides just as there are families at home that have been horribly affected by HIV/AIDS. But just as I was determined to share with you the Africa that most outsiders don’t see, I promised myself that when I got to Pikangikum,  I would find Hope and oh friend, I have found it, little pockets all over the Reserve vibrate, alive and refusing to die!

Ruth and Silas home and grandkids.

Ruth and Silas home and grandkids.

Ruth and Silas are proud parents of 5 children and 4 grandchildren, Ruth despite her disabilities is a hard working woman who can do pretty much anything a stay at home mom does (drive too!) The other day she invited me to come see how her husband smokes moose meat. Silas is a skilled hunter and fisherman and provides well for his family. I enjoy visiting them, their house is warm, inviting and peaceful, their grandkids are too adorable! much of Sunday was spent with us getting to know each other as we watched Silas work. Ruth is an inspiration to me, she was not born this way, 15 years ago a doctor gave her the wrong medication and the result was they had to amputate her hands and her legs from just below the knee. I am told by others who know her well that against all odds Ruth rarely has a sad countenance.

I peppered Silas with lots of questions on hunting. He is passionate about it and this moose was the biggest he had ever hunted.

I peppered Silas with lots of questions on hunting. He is passionate about it and this moose was the biggest he had ever hunted. Silas has been hunting since he was a teen. Natives each have a deignated area where they can hunt. People generally stick to their hunting boundaries.

Close to 4 hours later of slicing the meat, it is now ready to be smoked in a tippee. Silas uses birch tree for firewood because he likes the flavour it gives the meat.

Close to 4 hours later of slicing the meat, it is now ready to be smoked in a tippee. He only sliced the back thighs, it was a HUGE moose. He had the hind the legs and the rest he gave away to family and friends. Silas uses birch tree for firewood because he likes the flavour it gives the meat.

 

He closes up the tippee and then its now Ruths turn to work :) She  watches the fire stocking it up everytime the flames die down. This can be for about 3 hours. Then the meat is ready.

He closes up the tippee and then its now Ruths turn to work 🙂 She watches the fire stocking it up everytime the flames die down. This can be for about 3 hours. Then the meat is ready.

I didn't stay to see how the meat turned out but before I left Ruth let me taste her deiicous moose meat stew. She is definitely a good cook! I am looking forward to tasting smoked moose meat.

I didn’t stay to see how the meat turned out but before I left Ruth let me taste her deiicous moose meat stew. She is definitely a good cook! I am looking forward to tasting smoked moose meat.

As we chat about life she tells me that she was not always a joyful person, that lifes troubles had her and her husband stuck in a horrible cycle. I ask what happened to change everything, she thinks for a bit then a beautiful smile appears as she says: Jesus saved me.