Place, Time, and People Matter: A Personal Reflection

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The new neighbourhood!

The completion of our youth group year here at Emmanuel Mennonite Church has provided me with an opportunity to briefly reflect on what kind of year it has been for my family.

It’s been a tough year, but it’s been a good year.

I fully and completely underestimated the impact that the transition from Winnipeg to the West Coast of British Columbia would have on my family.  The difficulty had nothing to do with the wonderful people whom have received my family with great hospitality here in Abbotsford.  It had everything to do with the wonderful people we were leaving behind.  The people, who populated a particular place, made Winnipeg’s West End neighbourhood home.

I am convinced that place and time are imperative as we individually and communally discern God’s voice and vocation for our lives.

We prayed, discerned and processed this move.  It was a good thing.  But it has probably been the most difficult thing I have ever done.

I lost my sense of home.  Christian cliche lingo says that in God we have our home, yet those words seem disconnected from reality.  Sure spiritually maybe, but place and time matter.

I’ve had veteran missionaries tell me that it takes at least two years for a place to feel like home.  I remember in my younger years, moving approximately every 7 years to a brand new location and thinking that moving again, as an adult, would be a breeze.

I have never felt so disjointed and discombobulated.  Being in a new place, a new neighbourhood and a new culture took a significant energy.  Personally, as transitions take energy, the seemingly perpetual greyness of the winter here in the Frazer Valley has been a struggle.  I started popping sun pills to cope.  Vitamin D has been a life saver.  But more importantly, I have taken to writing in this space.  I’m calling it an unexpected artistic expression that has sustained me through the major ups and downs of the year.  I seriously don’t know where I would be without these words.  I have fallen in love with writing.

Yet, just as the wonderful people of Winnipeg created a home for us in that particular place, the people here in Abbotsford have done the same.

They have been awesome.  This youth and young adult group in particular have been a tremendous support to me whether they know it or not.  They have been a true blessing to us.

God is at work here in Abbotsford British Columbia.  It is a privilege to discern with a wonderful community of people where and how to participate with God in those acts of redemption and worship.   My prayer, and what I humbly request of you is to pray that we can continue to move toward making our current time and place, populated with wonderful people, home.

What makes where you are home?  Is your particular time and place important to you?  How do you navigate place, time, people and faith in your big life decisions?

Vacation time. We are headed back to Winnipeg for 2 weeks.  I am hopeful that this time will be a restful.  Therefore I will be staying away from social media and the blog.  I will however schedule posts on the regular Tuesday and Thursday’s which will be excerpts from books that have been significantly formative for me during this past year.  I hope they will be a blessing to you also. 

Thanks for reading.  I’ll see you in a few weeks.

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