Greetings from Steveston!
Wow, it is hard to believe we are already into Novemeber! Time sure does fly. I hope everyone is well and that they are enjoying this fall season. It is strange here because everyone has already moved on past the fall holidays and is thinking of Christmas. I keeping thinking that November IS NOT a month of Christmas activities, but I guess here it is. (However, we are still going to do things "the right way" and wait until after Thanksgiving before we celebrate Christmas, ha ha.) I guess that is normal for them considering their Thanksgiving was in October, but it still seems strange.
The weather is definitely changing here. It is cloudy/rainy almost every day, and it is dark outside by 5 o'clock. That along with the spiritual warfare we are facing has made the past couple weeks difficult, but God's faithfulness shines through it all, so we continue on with hope and joy in his power. I am reminded of Paul's words in Corinthians, "not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant..." I'm so thankful that God is sufficient, for we are certainly not able to do any of this alone. We have started teaching a "Sunday school" class if you will at Dockside, which is basically a course in Christian worldview for the children there. Our first morning was yesterday, and while we were reading about creation from Genesis 1, an 8-year-old started arguing with us that the big bang made the planets and the real god of the sea was Poseidon. This is just one example of the many different beliefs that people have here, and it seems to me that the children have multiple beliefs running together in their heads. Their search for clarity and understanding is an obstacle and an opportunity, so we want to use every conversation to point to Christ.
Despite some of the discouragements and struggles we have been having these past few weeks, God has also blessed us in many ways. We have grown a lot closer to the Forlow family, and although they cannot replace our dear ones from home, they are starting to feel more like family. Also, we are getting the chance to disciple the kids and their "adopted son" Matt. We are calling ourselves the Super Six, and that has been a joy to pour into them and embrace the craziness. We have also built greater friendships with Iavor, Hamza, Habib, and some of the other students at Dockside. We continue to have gospel conversations with them, and they continue to hang out with us despite the fact that we are Christians. I think they see the light and joy of Christ in us, and it continues to draw them even across many barriers. We are excited to continue in this ministry and expand our range of influence and service. We are really trying to minister to more girls and even get a regular girls group going, so please pray for God to open doors there.
Something that I am really struggling with is adjusting to the culture here when it comes to certain things. We have learned that the "Canadian way" is almost the opposite of the "Texan way" if there is such a thing. What I mean is, people here are not truthful with one another. At least, not what we would think of as truthful. For instance, if someone invites you to something, the Canadian way is to always say yes even if you don't want to do it and then just not show up, and people will do that over and over forever. Or it is to listen politely while someone says something you disagree with and then never speak to them again. I don't know all of the ins and outs of it, but as far as I understand, pretending is the way to go here. It is not culturally acceptable to simply say what you think and feel, politely disagree, or say no to things. They do not see it as dishonesty. Rhonda told me they just operate in a shame/honor culture rather than a right/wrong culture, so their standards are very different. It has just been hard for me because I don't know how to do that. It isn't in me to avoid questions, pretend to agree all the time or stay silent while people cut down my country, faith or God. Please pray that I will learn how to be gracious and respectful to the people and culture without compromising my faith or sacrificing truth.
Thank you so much for your support! I know y'all are praying for us, and I am so grateful to have such faithful friends and family. I miss you all, and I miss Texas. I took for granted the comfort of living in my own culture, and I miss it now that I don't have it. It is wearying to be in a strange land with different rules. But I know God's grace will be sufficient. I am praying for you, and I look forward to seeing what God is doing in your lives.
Be blessed, Lyd
December 15, 2015
FBC Pampa Fellowship Hall
9:30 a.m.-12:00 Noon (Minister's Tax Info)
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. (Lunch)
1:00 p.m. until finished (Church Tax Info)
Speaker: Dan Whitehurst, CPA