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Monday Musings (special Tuesday edition) 22/11/11

It is well…

It was thirty two years ago today that my parents were killed in a horrific car accident in Peterborough, Ontario.  Normally, I would not write about this except for the unusual events of the last twenty-four hours.

Sunday afternoon I found myself driving from small town Ontario to mega city Toronto.  I was on my way to speak at Church in the Village (a church service designed for those who live in the Shepherd Lodge retirement community).  My route took me through Peterborough and by the spot on 115 highway where the accident had happened all those years ago.

As I was preparing for what I would say to this large group of seniors who would be gathering (175 in the room and about 600 by closed circuit television), I felt compelled to share the story of my godly grandmother, Annie MacKnight.  To make a long story short, my grandparents were living with Mom and Dad at the time of the accident and I was attending Bible College in the same city where they lived.  As a result, I moved back home while completing my schooling and provided a home for my grandparents.  For the next year and a half, my grandmother made my meals, washed my clothes and prayed me through my education.

This story allowed me to encourage all of these seniors on Sunday night that as long as God gives them breath, they have a role in praying for and shaping the generations coming behind them.  To top it all off, I met so many people at the gathering that knew my parents and grandparents.  It felt like old home week!

Then yesterday, on my way back to Montreal, I passed through Oshawa and Cobourg.  I went by the first home that Mom and Dad ever owned.  As I stopped to take a picture of the house, I realized that a new version of the old hymn “It is Well With My Soul” was playing on the car stereo.

To bring the twenty-four hours full circle, I stopped into Union cemetery in Cobourg to visit the graveside where my brother (ironically he just Skyped as I was completing this blog) and I buried Mom and Dad thirty two years ago.  Next to them, you guessed it; Tom and Annie MacKnight are also buried along with Jim and Margaret MacKnight.

This morning, I write this blog from the comfort of my family room at home.  How grateful I am for a loving wife and children.  I only pray that I can provide for them the wonderful heritage that I have been blessed with.  One thing I can say for sure is that it is “well with my soul” because Jesus is the center of my life!!!!

Until next Monday…


Taking risks for Kingdom impact!


  • Lillian and Peter Warkentin

    November 22, 2011

    Hi Don: I was so fortunate to be in that group of seniors who heard you personally tell the story of your Monday Musings. Such a blessing and encouragement. It was great being with you and my greetings to Marie-Jose. We missed you!

    Lillian and Peter

    • rtcblog

      November 23, 2011

      Thank you Lillian and Peter.

      It was so great to spend time with you on Sunday evening. Thank you for the delicious punch and ice cream.

      I am so blessed to sit with people like yourselves and hear of God’s goodness. It gives me courage to keep pressing on.



  • Keith & Linda

    November 22, 2011

    Hey Bro.

    As always it is great to chat this AM. Hard to believe that 32 years have flown by, At times it seems like yesterday and yet it has been a long time since we have heard those words, “Hi Son.”

    Mom and Dad would be so proud of all you have accomplished for kingdom purposes. Remember Dad always had that desire to one day make a trip to the mission field. His legacy is living on through you and MJ.

    Linda and I love you both and are very proud to have bragging rights to you and your ministry.

    Love Linda & Keith.

    • rtcblog

      November 23, 2011

      Thanks Bro!

      MJ and I are equally proud of you guys. We are blessed with such a great heritage on both the Mann and Arnold side.

      We too love you very much!!!

      Enjoy the sunny south. I look out my window at a blanket of white snow. Africa cannot come soon enough.


      Don & MJ

  • Valerie Young

    November 23, 2011

    Hi Don & MJ,

    I don’t go on the computer too much these days but was checking a backlog of emails on my home computer and saw your Monday Musings for today and thought I would take a look.

    Today we celebrated my mother’s 73rd birthday! I did not recall that this was the anniversary of your parent’s death. I do recall hearing the of the accident however 32 years ago. I remember the shock and sadness of hearing about it and at the time did not really know you at all but more so through mutual friends. Little did I know that only a few short years later (about 3 1/2) that my own father would be killed in a tragic canoeing accident. You may not realize it but as I struggled through that time in my life, you were an inspiration as I was keenly aware of your tragic loss and I remember thinking on many an occasion…if Don can get through this with the Lord’s strength then I can too.

    God has been faithful through all of these years and like yourself I am grateful for the godly Christian heritage and example of my parents. We have been truly blessed!

    May God continue to strengthen both you and MJ in the ministry He has called you to and this wonderful legacy that has been passed on by your grandparents and parents continue on in the lives of Stephanie & Jonathan.

    Many blessings and love to you both!…Val Young

    • rtcblog

      November 24, 2011

      Hi Valerie,

      So nice to hear from you. Thank you for your kind words.

      I will never forget the Sunday morning I got the news of your dad’s accident. MJ was in Vermont, and I was on my way to church when the phone call came. After the call, I left immediately for church as I was preaching. My mind was so on the tragic loss of your father that I lost track of my speed and was stopped by the police. My Bible was beside me and I shared with the officer that my mind was on a phone call that I had just received. He let me off the hook with just a stern warning.

      You too Valerie have such a great heritage. MJ and I last year had the privilege of spending three months with your son Jonathan in Zambia. He has grown into a fine young man and I have no doubt that he will carry on the heritage that you and Jeff have instilled in him.

      Be blessed!


  • joan hadley

    November 28, 2011

    Life takes on may twists and turns and you have managed them well. We have good memories as well!! You do have a strong heritage 🙂
    love to you both,
    joan hadley


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