One year ago today, our family pulled up to the Peace Arch Border Crossing in Blaine, WA, showed our letter of invitation, went through customs, and became legal residents of Canada! It sure doesn't seem like it's been a year already! We have learned to love our new country. We've met so many people from all over the world who have also made Canada their home, and we've met many Canadians who have made us feel welcome in their country.
I was really pretty scared when we moved here. My first visit to a store nearly sent me into a panic attack, and I still don't know why, other than everything was unfamiliar to me - the money, the weights in grams and liters, French as well as English on every label. I quickly relaxed, though, as I learned that many of the brands I knew in the US are here, loonies and toonies aren't confusing after all (and the bills are colorful, not just green), and 454 grams equal one pound!!! I've learned that 20 degrees Celsius is comfortable, and temps below zero aren't as bad as they sound. I still say y'all and I don't say eh, but that may change in the years to come! As soon as I speak to anyone, they know that I'm not from here originally (due to my dinstinctly southern accent - and they always guess Texas!), and that opens the conversation to tell them why we're here, which leads to inviting them to church. God uses ALL things for good, believe me! LOL
We've seen God's hand in the startup of Lions Gate Baptist Church. There was a group of people here who were waiting for an independent, biblical, Bible-teaching and preaching Baptist church. In December, we met with these folks, and they wanted to start a Wednesday night Bible study right away. So we started holding Bible study in our home on the first Wednesday night in January. One of the men knew of a room in a recreation centre that was coming open within the next month, so Wes checked into that, and we found that we could afford to have our services there. We began Sunday morning services on February 6. We now average around 20-25 people each Sunday. In April, we held a series of "Get-Acquainted" meetings, and saw quite a few folks from the community come to see what we're all about, and we've had over 40 different visitors since then. We're planning to start holding Sunday evening services in September. All of these things have taken place in God's timing, which was definitely not ours. We would have waited longer to start! We've been blessed abundantly by the people we've met and come to love, and I hope that we're a blessing to them.
My heart is full this morning as I contemplate the past year and look forward to a lifetime of living and serving the Lord in Canada. I will always, always love my home country. But God has put a love for another country and another people in my heart. Our first year here has been so joyful, so thrilling, so full, and Wes and I look forward to spending the rest of our lives as Canadians, the Lord willing. I'm not naive enough to think that the years will always be smooth sailing, but "faithful is he who calleth you . . . " God called us here, and He will sustain us. One year down . . . a lifetime to go!