Coming to Cayman the first time was like entering a theme park. It is a jewel set in the glittering seas of the Caribbean, seemingly serenely unaware and unaffected by the tumultuous political and economic seas on which Pam and I had been sailing the previous eight years (that is the past perfect progressive, for those who believe that verb tense never gets used in ordinary conversation). Every once in a while I wake up in a nervous sweat thinking that we are still trapped in Malaysia, a fate that very well might have been ours, had the Lord not protected us. I want you to keep that fear in mind as I describe what it is like to come back here. Whatever my present lot – the work, the trial, the unremitting pressure of performance – there is no fear in it. Therefore it is a good that I am about to describe, whatever your impression of it may be.


This morning we went to the beach for a swim. It is October 22, and I have been back ‘on island’ for ten weeks. This is my first swim at the beach. Ten weeks, seventy days, first swim. On the first day at school, which was the second day back, I was given a computer that would not keep a charge. It went downhill from there. Three weeks later I had a functioning computer. That put me three weeks down at the beginning of the year. I have just this week been healthy again after being the sickest I have been in a decade. I lost three weeks over that one. Although only two days out of class, I had zero voice for another three and two weeks around that sickness where I could barely function. That is six weeks out of the ten that I was damaged goods. The fact that I got to the break with most things done is testimony to the Lord’s good grace, not my competence.


In Grade 11 I got the novel for the quarter and three weeks’ worth of background to dramatic form covered (Life of Pi, Poetics, Oedipus Rex). In Grade 12 I got the novel and the drama study done for the quarter (A Tale of Two Cities, Hamlet). In addition I got the Community Service elective launched, taught two workshops and retooled my class websites. Report cards were submitted yesterday. At home I wrote a ten page, a twenty page, and a thirty page essay for the two Master’s courses that will finish off this degree, and launched a cell group in our home on Thursday nights. We researched and bought a newer vehicle – a Hyundai Tucson – and I started the IB Examiner course that I hope will teach me how to better prepare my students for the IB essays that they have to write.


I continue to get up at five every morning, and get an exercise routine finished before breakfast. Pam and I take the time to read a portion of the Bible and pray at the start of each day. In the evening we like to sit out on the porch for our supper and reflect on how God has been to us. It is a full and productive life, but there has been zero time for relaxation. I spend my weekends and evenings either marking student work or writing essays for my Masters. I haven’t been snorkeling, which I love, and aside from this morning, haven’t even swum.


I know there will come a time when all this transitional stuff will be over. I will have mastered the IB English curriculum, my class websites will be built, the Master’s course will be done, and so will the IB Examiner’s course as well. I will be able to get to the beach and swim every evening, and read a book just for the joy of doing so. But frankly, that day is likely at least six months to a year away. In the meantime, I continue to work away at what the Lord has placed in front of me, knowing that He knows my frame, and my inmost need. He must know that right now I need to work. I hope that, for this week at least, He knows that I need to relax.

A rainbow baby is the understanding that the beauty of the rainbow does not negate the ravage of the storm. When a rainbow appears it doesn’t mean that the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with it’s aftermath.  What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds.



Vern Epp, beloved husband, father, and papa, passed away on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at the age of 60 years, surrounded by his family at home. He displayed incredible strength with his battle against cancer.

Vern was born in Swift Current, SK to Paul & Lillian Epp. He grew up in Saskatoon as the baby of the family with 3 older brothers; Larry, Gerald & Tim. He later moved to Calgary where he met Holly, his soul mate, best friend and business partner. They married in August of 1980 and later welcomed their two children, Stacey & Gregory to the family. Vern was devoted to his family, dedicating time, love and support to everything they did. He was a mentor, coach, and friend to everyone around him.

Vern was incredibly social and loved to be with people. He had many passions including traveling, cooking, wine, coffee, sports, driving, reading and time with his family – especially Sunday night dinners.

Besides his loving wife Holly, Vern is survived by his daughter Stacey (Michael) Reinhart; his son Gregory (Elizabeth) Epp; grandchildren, Russell, Gavin, Layla, and Georgia; his brothers, Larry (Denise), Gerald (Donna), and Tim (Linda) and their families.

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Really are these the same kids that finished the 2015-16 school year just two months ago?



This has been a long summer of travel but it is always so good to be back in Ontario and have the chance to hang out with family and friends. Steve’s time was pretty limited as he needed to get back to school but I stayed on for an extra couple of weeks to look after business. We are so grateful for Randy and Sylvia  who always make us feel so welcome and at home in their granny suite; a place where family can always drop by for a visit. Time was tight but we did get in some nice meals and even a few games of Rook before Randy and Sylvia headed out west, leaving Max and I to house sit.

Not all of your “family” are necessarily blood relatives. Some are friends who we  are proud to know, people we admire, love and respect; people who make our lives better simply by being in it. Al and Shelley hosted a completely lovely BBQ Sunday afternoon and we thoroughly enjoyed catching up with them as well as Kevin and Colleen and Dave and Catherine and their families. It even morphed into a little bit of Canadiana because we were invited to join coach Dave and the entire Marchand family to watch Lana compete at the Rio Olympics.


By heading out early in the morning, we managed to have a wonderful breakfast with other very special friends in “The Glen”.


We got all the stuff done that needs to be looked at each year in terms of finances, back to school shopping and the condo and even applied for my OAS. I had a day to talk projects with the TWR team and some opportunities for good conversations with WLA friends and long time friends. Great summer all around but seven weeks is a long time to live out of suitcases and I was happy to be heading back to our little island.


It is a wonderful thing to be back on the same side of the world as our kids and grandkids but even then we can’t always be everywhere we would love to be. Jon and Nic and the kids took a trip out west to meet Layla for the first time and as much as we would have loved to be there too, it brings us great joy  to see our children together and enjoying each others’ company.


With all we had to do this summer and all that Jon and Nic and the kids had on their plates, it looked like we would not get to see them at all on this visit. However, as we were about to board our flight from LA to Toronto we recieved a text message from Jon saying that they were enroute to Calgary and had a three hour stop over in the Toronto airport. God is so good and as it turned out our flights landed about ten minutes apart and we were able to meet up for about a half hour and get in some hugs.


Every summer, Nicole’s parents host a Fish Fry for the extended family and that happened to fall while I was in Ontario so I had another little stolen visit with the kids around Pat and Wendy’s pool.



 “The P.A.C.K.” Purposed Around a Common Klesis (calling)35 Cohort map

Two years ago we began our journey with a cohort of fellow MAGLers with whom we would struggle through nine courses in leadership. We spent two weeks together last February in Colorado Springs and now we are together once again for our Capstone Seminar to mark the beginning of our two final courses. We have lost a few members along the way due to the demands of finances or their full time ministry. Others are still on the journey but have needed to temporarily slow the pace or could simply not join us these two weeks because of family needs or work assignments. We dearly missed Timothy, Nikole, Kris, Allison, Jonathan and Kurt.


We finally were able to visit what will be our “alma mater” as the seminar was held at the main campus of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. The campus is beautiful and it was great to catch up with the lives of our cohort members. We did the intensive, in-class portion of two courses which we will complete over the next five months. Outside of class we had opportunities to visit over meals and walks through the charming, old city of Pasadena. It was a tiring intrusion into our summer but we are simply rejoicing that we “can smell the barn”.

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