While I’ve been to fourteen different countries, and included Canada in that list, I had only been to Niagra Falls, and I’m not sure if that really counted. (Probably not) So I was excited to be invited to Sarnia, Ontario this past weekend for several days of ministry. My first surprise was that after flying to Flint, Michigan we drove straight East, rather than North, as I expected, as Canada juts down into the US quite a bit between Detroit, MI and Buffalo, NY.
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Getting across the border proved a little challenging, “And why are you coming?” But most of the delay was us waiting in the wrong line. (oops) But once I dropped my brother name, we threw through like a Blue Jay. (Not sure that had anything to do with getting through, but hey, it was worth a try! “My brother covers the Blue Jays for MLB.com! You have to let me across!)It was a full but fulfilling weekend! I did a family program on Friday evening, a Kidology To Go on Saturday, and spoke on Sunday as well before heaing back to the good ‘ol US of A. And fortunately, the US immigration let me back!While it was fun to learn some Canadian lingo, eh, and that one dollar coins are called Looneys and two dollars coins are Tooneys, there really wasn’t much different. (Granted, this was a “border city.”) But one of the cool things unique to Sarnia are Fry Trucks along the shore:
There is me and Steve Bourque before ordering some very unhealthy but delicious fries to enjoy on a windy but clear day in Canada.Steve has only been a full time children’s pastor for a year, but at the church for four years, with his hours gradually increasing to full time. (My first ministry went 12, to 20 to 30 to full time – notice they just call it “full time” when in reality the number goes higher than 40!)He’s already got a great foundation laid and is building a solid ministry. The name of the ministry is LEDGE, based loosely on Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven PrinciplesL: Love God (worship)E: Encourage Others (fellowship)D: Devote to Jesus (grow)G: Give (service)E: Express Jesus Love (missions)(Steve, let me know if I got these wrong, I didn’t write them down, and I will edit this post!)Of course, I was very pleased to see that they use Awesome Adventure to disciple their kids:
Their Sunday format is two identical service, so they start with some free time where kids can play and set out a bunch of fun stuff to encourage early and on-time attendance, and then they open in worship, followed by a lesson and small groups.They are currently using G-Force from LifeWay and are trying a cool experiment. (Not sure if this is recommended in the curriculum or not), but they are inviting parents to come for the last ten minutes of the children’s service to experience the conclusion with their kids.
Being just under Luke’s age, she was much needed medicine for this home-sick dad! She even learned my name by the end of the three days and just before leaving for the airport fell asleep in my arms. (You can say it, “awwwwwww”)
I thought of just adopting this whole family – each of them gave me the sweetest good-bye cards with their pictures… it’s amazing how you can connect with children in such a short time if you take the time to let them in. Duncan, their oldest was an assistant during my magic show and even came to part of the Saturday seminar, and I see a lot of myself as a boy in him, crazy creative energy and an eagerness to serve the Lord. The makings of a future children’ s pastor no doubt! (Seems creativity runs in the family, their dad is a published improv comic, link coming when I get it!)
but not before he lunged his sword into me and ran away! No worries, I am healing up fine. What a fantastic weekend! Eh?