2011: A Retrospective.

by admin

2011 is almost past, but not without a substantial dose of perspective.

I think it is impossible for me to say that 2011 has not been the most successful year of

Winter Road in Medicine Hat

my life.  Is it arrogant to say that?  We bet it all on God and He paid in spades.  We ditched a nice house in a nice neighbourhood in Surrey, a fantastic church, solid jobs – all to chase the idea that God wanted to do something with our lives bigger than we could imagine.  We pulled up stakes in 2010 but by the end of last year, all we had was faith that what we did was the right move.  Faith, debt, and very little income.

But 2011… just wow.

It began with hope.  

Blairs Arrive

The team that we had trusted God to form around us to accomplish His plan finally started to form when the Blairs arrived in the dead of winter, after a drive that took them from Mississauga, ON to Kansas City, KS to here.  They were road weary, but ready to begin.

A little over a month later we held our first public information session.  At that information session was a couple who had driven, at the end of February, through the mountains and snow from BC to attend and follow God’s call to join us.  The Greenhows would arrive at the beginning of May.

Shortly after that first information session, Bart and I decided that while we were more interested in looking for potential church planting team members, God was really more interested in the lost, so we should at least open the door to people who are seeking God.  Bart advertised a study in the Gospel of John on Kijiji of all places (like Craigslist but more Canadian).  And he began a relationship with a couple who would prove to be integral pieces of what has become Grasslands Church.

We were still occupied with surviving, and in May made the decision that real estate was not going to provide the support or the space to carry the family through the next season – at least not without compromising the vision to launch the church in September.  God provided a short term solution in a temporary job for me at Census Canada.  We talked about Cheryl putting to use her just completed Master’s degree in Nursing, but didn’t see how Cheryl working full time could make sense.  What we really needed, we prayed, was a part time position, educating nurses, that didn’t involve shiftwork.  And God delivered!  Cheryl was hired as the mental health educator at Medicine Hat Hospital at the beginning of July!

Core Team

At the end of May we had one more long-awaited team member, Megan arrive.  We had people on the ground, and we had been listening to reaction from the people we met through the info sessions.   We saw that we needed to put on something that looked like church so that people could experience what we dreamed about.  We launched a Sunday evening program at the Southview Church of God (who graciously allowed us to use their

Sunday Nights at Southview

space).  Through the summer this Sunday Night Open would provide a place for me to hone my speaking skills while giving us a place to welcome the curious and cast vision for what God wanted us to do together.

Through that process we saw several more families come alongside and move toward God.  In July we saw the couple that Bart met through Kijiji complete a journey of healing with Dean deciding to follow Jesus and the two of them renewed their vows in front of friends and family.  God had restored a dead marriage and given new life!  This branch would continue to bear fruit as I offered the same study to a new couple and to Dean’s two teenage sons.  All four of them accepted Christ by the end of August!

GCA 2011

August was an incredibly busy month as we had a mission team from the USA join us for a week for the Great Canadian Adventure, then the first ever GBCanada Summit – a meeting of people from all 3 Canadian churches here in Medicine Hat, to vision our future together and help launch a 4th church.  The impact of those 2 weeks is still being felt here in December.  God showed Himself to us, as He brought together outreach to the skateboard community, to Habitat for Humanity projects, and into parks and green spaces blessing families.  We held two very successful free car washes and served over 150 automobiles with Jesus’ love.  We made great friendships and had a lasting impact on people through those projects.

And then came the launch.  Somehow God gave us just the team to pull off September 11,

2011.  173 people came through the doors of the Galaxy cinemas that morning, buoyed by

Launch Sunday

shocking amounts of free publicity generated by the ministry teams in August and a front page story in the Medicine Hat News the week before launch.  Since that time, we have been running to keep up with God, and He has continued to work.

In this year, God has:

  • restored 2 marriages
  • adopted 8 more people into His family
  • touched hundreds of lives with His love

Baptisms

All because I had this stupid idea back in 2006 that I wanted to move back to Alberta, but didn’t know why God has connected us to a new church plant in Surrey, BC.  I wasn’t a church planter then.  I thought maybe God could use us for something, but had no idea what or how.  It amazes me to think of the power of just laying your life at God’s feet and saying, “Use me.”  I never really conceived of it then, but what I was doing was presenting my body, my whole life as a living sacrifice.  And God has honoured that.  Not because I am special, but because He is made known and famous by using the weak, the inadequate, to do amazing things.  I don’t take credit for what has happened.  I didn’t even have a major role in a lot of what has happened.  But I do know that none of this would have happened had we not accepted God’s call back in 2006 and stepped on the path of adventure.  And for that I am extremely awed and overcome.

Thank you Lord for 2011.  May your name be made even more famous here in 2012!


One Response to “2011: A Retrospective.”

  1. AW. says:

    Very moving :), thank you for sharing the story.

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