A few days ago I sat on the couch in our green room, with two of my granddaughters, discussing the reflections at the end of a story from Parables from the Pond. Some creatures from the pond had shown courage and kindness, extending their circle of friendship and trust. It wasn't hard for them to relate the story to their grandfather's winter trip north to a reservation to help a people in desperate need of both help and friendship.
Last November, Dave our pastor, and Fernando, a Trinidadian friend, drove with Paul, 20 hours north through blinding snow to Mishkeegogamang, an hour from Pickle Lake. They went to take food, winter coats for the children, and toys and sports equipment.When they all arrived home safely, I heaved a sigh of relief.
But Paul was already planning the next trip in August.The months since November have flown by. Other pressures consumed Paul's energy and time, he had little time or ability to focus on the logistics of a larger missions trip. Honestly, I worried about it. We aren't a slick, well oiled machine, or a group that has done this before.
But people signed up from our church and others, giving up summer vacation time and raising their own support to go, because they heard God say, "Go."
So tonight, with just two weeks to go to the trip we had a barbecue in our backyard, to pin down details.
As I looked at the group of people who gathered, I thought, "Only God." For the group that is going includes people of Chinese, African, Caucasian and First Nations descent.
Under the summer evening sky we prayed, then talked, and ate; and saw things come together, with a lot of laughter.
One of the team is a retired nurse, and although she spent her career in obstetrics, she'll take care of First Aid. The guys coordinated tools so as not to bring duplicates. One of them is even bringing his buzz saw and they decided that everyone should bring a "personal hammer," the image of which made me laugh.
Pastor Dave issued strict instructions about personal luggage limits, and Treneta, a beautiful First Nations woman, who does not look like the camping type, said with a smile that the only suitcase she owns is large. Jake only has a big tent. These things take sorting out when you have 12 people and luggage to fit into a van and a truck.
What about laundry? "Pickle Lake," said Pastor Dave, which made us laugh again.
Treneta did training on cultural sensitivity and spiritual preparation.
The sun was going down when we stood together to pray again, this time holding hands.
It feels as if in our weakness and inadequacy, God is showing himself strong and bringing together a swat team that will express his love to the people of Mish.
Ephesians 3:20-21 (New International Version)
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.