Browse Month: December 2012

Monday Musings 24/12/12

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…Horse Drawn Wagon - Longueuil

There are a lot of signs that Christmas 2012 is just around the corner.

Yesterday, I heard some bells ringing outside of our home.  Upon opening the front door, I discovered a horse drawn wagon coasting down our street.  Got to love celebrating the Christmas season in a three-hundred and fifty year old city!

MJ Shopping in her favourite storeThis week, MJ got to shop in her favourite store, while I waited and waited and waited some more!  Today, I will go out and buy a few last minute stocking stuffers.  Got to love the Christmas Eve shopping buzz!

Tonight, we will attend a Christmas Eve service in our home church.  Tomorrow we will spend Christmas day with our kids and some dear friends.  Got to love getting together with those you love at Christmas time.

Last Monday, MJ and I had the privilege of having a turkey sandwich picnic with her parents and my brother and his wife.  What a pre Christmas delight that was.  Got to love the memories made at this time of the year!Gravels and Mann's

Speaking of turkeys, before this Christmas season is over, MJ and I will have participated in three different turkey meals, including Zambia. You heard right.  MJ got it in her head a few weeks ago that we will bring a frozen turkey from Canada to Zambia and share it with some of our missionary friends on New Year’s Day.  My next blog will be from Zambia and I will let you know if the turkey survives a plane ride and ends up in the oven and on our table in Kitwe, Zambia!  Got to love my creative wife!

So, on this Christmas Eve 2012, MJ and I wish you and yours a wonderful, Jesus centered, God blessed Christmas and New Year.

Until next Monday…Don & MJ


Monday Musings 10/12/12

hope 1The Hope…

MJ and I attended “The Hope” at Evangel last night, along with hundreds of others from the City of Montreal.  What a spectacular evening filled with music, drama and media!

I anxiously awaited all weekend the opportunity to see this production and was not disappointed when the moment finally arrived.  It was a night filled with laughter, emotion, hope and personal pride.  You see, I watched a young man’s dream become a reality last night!

Simply put, words fail me right now as I write this blog.  How can a father adequately describe what it means to watch his son lead a group of over one hundred volunteers through a Christmas production that was out of this world, in a church that holds so many significant memories?  Well, last night, that happened to me.

It was my privilege to pastor Evangel Church in downtown Montreal, for thirteen years.  Evangel was home to our children throughout their significant, vulnerable, and formative years.  They were exposed to people and programs that shaped their lives, and somehow, with God’s help, they grew to love church and not run away from it.  What thrills me most is that although both Jonathan and Stephanie respect the history and heritage of the church, they have always desired to be on the cutting edge of keeping church relevant.

And so, last night, I had a hard time keeping my emotions in check as I watched my son transition a traditional Singing Christmas Tree, into a modern day, heart wrenching, quality driven, joy filled celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth.  He could not do it without an incredible team standing behind him and a lead pastor who believes in him.   Thank you Evangel Church and Pastor Jonathan Smith, for making this father so proud and allowing the childhood dream of his son come to life!

hope 2     hope 3

To all of those parents who have dreams for your children, keep your hopes alive.  MJ and I are no different then you.  We were not perfect parents while our children were growing up.  We made our share of mistakes in this thing called parenting.  We are no more deserving of seeing our children’s dreams become a reality than you are.  We simply tried to make sure that Jesus, and the church He died for, was not a forced obligation, but an amazing, vibrant, lifestyle that is worth holding onto for a life time.

At the end of the day, all we can do as parent’s, is release them to God, pray for them, be there for them when they make mistakes, and cheer them on when they hit a home run.  Jonathan, you hit it out of the park last night!  Keep loving the Jesus you helped Montreal celebrate this past weekend.  Truly, Jesus is “The Hope” of the city!

Until next Monday…

Don (a proud father!)

hope 4

Monday Musings (special Wednesday edition) 05/12/12

100_5290Down memory lane…

Every once and a while, one is given the opportunity to walk down memory lane with dear friends and old acquaintances.  This past weekend was one of those times.

MJ and I just returned from a ministry weekend in Ontario.  As I sit for a moment and ponder all that took place over four days, I realize how blessed I have been to have people cross our path over the years.

I think of Ted and Heather Marshall.  Thirty years ago, as I began my ministry, they were youth counselors in our youth group at Trinity, Oshawa.  There is no couple quite like the Marshall’s.  Their love for youth lives on to this day, as all these years later, many of the youth they have ministered to, continue to stay in touch with them.  Heather is the number one chocolate chip cookie maker in the world.  On Saturday, I had the opportunity to bite into one (or two, or three…) of those fresh cookies and feed on the wonderful memories of our first six years in ministry., there is Arn and Elsie Bowler, retired PAOC missionaries now living in Oshawa Ontario.  As a matter of fact, they live in the house that MJ and I once occupied while youth pastoring at Trinity. I never tire of sitting with this couple and reminiscing of the incredible missionary journey they travelled for fifty years.  At eighty three years of age, Arn is still talking about another mission’s trip to Malawi next year.  I can only pray that I will still have the same drive and energy of an Arn Bowler if God allows me to reach eighty three.

diego ivanna

To top off the weekend, we had the opportunity to surprise a very special niece and nephew and their two children.  MJ and I joined my brother and sister-in-law, Keith and Linda, in crafting a surprise that would see us meet at Christian Life Center, Ajax, on Sunday evening to watch Diego and Ivanna perform in their Christmas presentation.  They are two of the cutest kids on the face of the earth.

So, although one cannot live in the past, it is important to take a walk from time to time down that memory lane.  Memories are like flowers.  Once in a while it is good to take them out and water them, remembering all of those who have made an impact upon your life.

Thanks go to our very special friends, John and Laurie, who opened up their home to us for the weekend.  Thanks guys for being a part of our journey down memory lane!100_5291

By the way, today is our daughter’s birthday.  Stephanie, your Mom and Dad love you dearly.  You are a special gift from God and we are so proud of you!!!!

Until next Monday…



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