Well, we finally made it to Toronto for a visit. My sister Kelly hadn't seen Isaac since he was 4 months old, so she saw a big difference in him! We had a great time celebrating Christmas with her, her boyfriend Mike, and my mom. It was our first time meeting Mike and Mr. Banana Bird ( a canary she rescued from the streets of downtown Toronto over a year ago). I wish we had gotten to spend more time there, but maybe sometime soon we'll be seeing more of them...
The rest of our time was spent mostly with Chris and Rachel (who we stayed with), as well having dinner Friday night at Andrew and Anne Fountain's home (who are planting the Toronto church). I have been corresponding with Andrew a bit over phone, e-mail, and reading his blog, so it was great to finally meet him and his family. We had dinner with another couple from the church on Saturday night at the Mclean's , and met some more people at church on Sunday morning. All in all, it was a very refreshing time.
Chris went out of his way to make sure we talked about how we've been doing and was very encouraging. I can't remember when we've been prayed for so much and by so many different people (especially when we didn't ask!). I think it's in that context of care that I start to remember and believe God's love again. It was also very good to have people to share our recent experiences with without feeling we had to hold back or protect anyone involved. Aaron and I came back feeling a little less 'crazy'. It's easy to start to wonder if you're just imagining things when the whole machine just keeps moving along like nothing's wrong.
So here are my three favorite parts of the week-end (chronologically):
1. Meeting Andrew and Anne. I'm sure they'll think it amusing that we were both a little nervous when we first arrived. The dinner table looked very nice, and let's just say Aaron and I are not exactly sophisticated... But that didn't last long at all and I don't think I was prepared for how wonderful they are. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening and didn't want to leave. They prayed for us and we left feeling loved and encouraged. We also left convinced that they were the perfect couple for the task of planting the downtown church. There are so many people in the city (especially young people I think) who are lonely and needing a family, and I think the Fountains will raise many spiritual children from birth to maturity in Newlife Church over the coming years. They are a very gifted and, more importantly, loving couple.
2. Having Christmas with part of my family. I never laugh so much as when I'm with Kelly. We talked about memories and things Kelly always remembers that never happened and teased each other and ate Christmas dinner and opened gifts. The kids had a great time. Mike is an illustrator/animator and spent much of the day helping Eva draw, so he was very popular.
3. Being in Chris and Rachel's home. I guess it's normal for them to open their home to people they barely know, but it's not normal for most people and we really appreciated their hospitality. We felt very at home and I personally especially enjoyed the benefits of his daughters taking care of Isaac while we were there. It was very relaxing for me to be able to talk with big people without getting up every 30 seconds to attend to children. All of our kids got along well and had a great time. On Sunday night, we got to finish up some of our more serious conversations and again I was very encouraged, and again we were prayed for. I think we were a bit spoiled actually, but I'm not complaining.
In other major news, Eva lost her blankie, and possibly her new Ariel doll (which she hasn't discovered yet). Ok, so she's 5 and probably too old for a blankie, but she was quite upset about it. She's had it since she was born. She's fine now, but it would be nice to find it and be able to put it away with her keepsakes.
I just had another thought...I didn't even really mention the church service. I was too distracted by the kids and my Mom being there to really know what was going on. We sang some great songs and Andrew preached briefly as time was running out. I missed the beginning but the end was good. I didn't even get to meet many people because I was getting snacks for the kids, but Aaron really enjoyed meeting more people there.
I'm sure there's much more I could write, but I'll stop here for now. I'll refrain from 'guessing' what the future holds and post an update when we finally know what we're doing and when!