Saturday, November 22, 2008

A letter home

I started this blog to keep in contact with my family. But I continue to write a real letter (well, an email) once a week. Following is the letter I wrote this week.

Dear family,

Here’s this week in numbers:

3 :: times our family went door-to-door this week.

A couple weeks ago Mark informed me that he would be going around our neighborhood collecting donations for the Heart Foundation. When I asked why he said that when someone had called asking if he would volunteer, he couldn’t think of a good reason not to. I thought that was funny and noble at the same time. It’s never easy to go door-to door asking for anything, but to do it in French, well...that was a task I certainly wouldn’t volunteer for.

Not a week went by when I picked up the phone and heard the person on the other end asking me to collect donations for the Kidney Foundation. I started to decline, but then heard Mark’s voice in my head: I couldn’t think of a good reason not to.” And I knew then that I would not have been able to tell Mark that I had said no. I said yes.

We each had a certain time-frame in which to complete our task. Mark waited until the last possible day to begin collecting (pretty sure I know why) and so Thursday night he went out. The next night (I didn’t wait until the last possible day—I think I had all of 2 more days before my deadline) I took the boys with me (all 3) because the woman who asked me sent along 2 extra buttons identifying us as “official” and said that people like it when kids come a-calling. I wondered if Joel would be a little confused seeing as he had recently knocked on people’s doors and had received a whole bag of candy for it. At one point I thought I should find out what he thought we were doing. When I asked him if he knew why we were collecting money he said, “To buy a goat”. I had to really laugh at that. That’s something he hears about a lot (whenever we have beans and rice night). He traipsed along pretty well for about an hour, and then we dropped him off with Mark and continued for another bit. It was right in our neighbourhood that we were assigned so it was fun to visit with friends and acquaintances while we asked for money. Our next-door neighbour, Alain (older man maybe in his late 50’s), even mentioned to me that he would like to visit our church. Never expected that!! He also said when I turned around to leave the door, “Ben, t’es belle (well, you’re pretty).” But I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t quite catch his words, so I said, “Okay.” And then got teased by my children the rest of the night for that. This was a job I did not particularly enjoy, but I had a great time with the kids, and there is something about doing a thing you are afraid to do. I felt just a teensy bit stronger after it was over and we collected about $135.

Now I guess we hadn’t had enough of that, so Saturday we all got up, met up with another 10-12 people outside the center that we rent for church on Sundays, and once again went door-to-door putting publicity for Ten Thousand Villages in people’s mailboxes for a couple hours. We really had a good time. The rain that soaked us to the bone just made it more memorable in MY book.

0 :: dates Mark and I had this week

We were very excited to go out on Saturday night. The last date we had had was for Mark’s birthday. We had asked T+B to watch the kids and were anticipating a nice time away together for a few hours. Saturday afternoon after our morning of passing out flyers, I was just working around the house doing laundry and cleaning up. Joel was upset about something and disturbing Mark while he was trying to practice his guitar. I grabbed him and flew him over my head on my feet like I do with the kids a LOT. This time, however, I guess the momentum was too great or I was too tired or he was heavier than I expected. I felt him going past the point I usually shoot for. I ended up dropping him and giving him a bloody nose and wrenching my neck and back in the process. After I got his nose taken care of and the excitement from that (and the tears) was gone, I realized that I had injured myself pretty badly. I cried too out of frustration that I had just done something so dumb, and I knew by the extreme pain that there would be no going out that night. Mark went ahead and took the kids over to Tim and Barb’s around 5:00 while I lay in bed applying alternate cold and heat to my injury. I was miserable and could barely move. Mark made dinner for us and we watched part of a movie (stopped because it was not as good as Mark had remembered it to be back in the 80’s when he had last seen it). So I guess technically we did have a date—we just didn’t go out to a restaurant and then to hear a jazz guitarist as Mark had originally planned. And I spent the next 48 hours pretty much out of commission. Tuesday I was almost a new woman and today (Thursday) I only have a faint discomfort in my upper back when I stretch my neck. The human body is one amazing machine!!

15 :: hours Mark has studied so far for his sermon on Sunday

(Here’s Mark now) I’m preaching this week on the church and the environment. It’s a very interesting subject but one that is also very broad and difficult to weed down to one 45-minute message. I want to be careful not to just jump on a bandwagon that is so politicized just because it’s the popular thing to do in our culture. However, if the Bible does speak to our responsibility to take care of God’s creation, I don’t want to ignore that either. For the most part, I think Christians have stayed away from environmentalism for two reasons. The first is our eschatology in that we believe that God will one day destroy the earth so why take extra effort to care for something that is disposable. Another reason being that most environmentalists are naturalists or Darwinists and we don’t want to be associated with them. My conclusions are that we honor God when we take care of his creation. We must find the balance in everything but God does expect us to be good stewards of everything he give us. There is much more but that is all I’ll share with you for the moment.

(I'm back now) I think he has a good many more hours to go.

19 :: the temperature today

Here I sit in Burger King writing this letter. I have Joel and Romane (4-year old friend from across the street) with me. They are eating apple turn-overs and contemplating getting back on the playground. For me, it’s the hardest time of the year for getting outside to play. The ground is frozen solid and our bodies are not used to the cold yet. Yesterday I took Joel out to play baseball for awhile. He said, “I can’t breathe.” I think it meant, “What is this sharp sensation hitting my inner core when I take a breath?” So I decided this morning that we should do this. The kids are funny because neither understands the other, but they are somehow making it work. They are the only kids here.

We have our snow tires on now. This year it is the law. Everyone MUST have snow tires on their car from Dec. 15th to March 15th. Not sure what the consequences are for not doing it. A ticket maybe??

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful week no matter what your numbers are!! Love to all of you!