August 2009

088We love to meet new people, in fact that is one of the highlights of our current life. Everywhere we go we have the opportunity to meet the most amazing people whose lives have touched a large part of the world.  At People’s Church in Toronto, I met Mrs. G, of whom I had heard wonderful stories and she really is as sweet as her picture would suggest.

 Mrs. G—Kitty Anna Griffiths, of Toronto, Canada—is loved worldwide for her warm, captivating style. A British high-school teacher turned storyteller, she has served with her husband, Gerald, in churches in Britain, South Africa, and Canada, and has told stories to children in many countries. In 1991 she received the degree of Doctor of Literature from Biola University, California.

Her Bible stories are broadcast in English on hundreds of weekly releases in North America and worldwide by shortwave, satellite and internet. Believing that “all scripture is inspired by God”, Mrs. G studies the text to make sure her stories bring out the meaning of the scripture. As part of her research, she has visited Israel six times, three times as a guest of the government of Israel.

The stories combine accuracy with modern appeal. Mrs. G has made the Bible come alive for thousands of children—and adults—at home, in church, in schools, camps, cars, hospitals, in all kinds of places. The stories are for children of all ages—3 to 103! Right now, the youngest correspondent is 3, the oldest 105! Entertaining and educational, the stories are full of spiritual instruction.

The stories have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin, Rumanian, Norwegian, Farsi, Khmer, Amharic, and Russian. Bible Stories Alive are “you are there” stories. Things of long ago come alive and you feel part of the drama. One little girl says, “I feel I am with Jesus,” and a medical doctor says, “You make the Bible people become family”.

Mrs G’s connection to TWR goes back a long way as her stories have been broadcast by TWR for over fifty years.

Stokes Bay
Last night we had some of the newbies over for dinner. Pam made some yummy curry, and after a delightful meal we eased back and told each other some stories about our families and our travels. Amy told us about a friend who had a unique experience that demonstrated the power of prayer, and in response I shared this one.

When our kids were small we used to rent a cottage up on the Bruce Peninsula on Barrow Bay. The scenery was lovely, but if you know Georgian Bay you know that the water is always cold. But no matter, as ten miles across the peninsula was Stokes Bay, a lovely little cove on Lake Huron where the water is shallow and warm and there is a sandy beach and shade near the shore.

That day was particularly nice. Our favourite spot under a tree was free, the air and the water were pleasant and warm, and the kids were just a delight. We spent the entire day just running and splashing through the water, building sandcastles and having a picnic lunch in the shade. It was so nice we hated to leave, and dragged out our departure until everyone else had gone and the beach was deserted.

As I gathered up my clothes I realized that my car keys were not in my blue jeans or the backpack and I recalled that when we had arrived I had put them in the pocket of my bathing suit! A cold dread came over me, and the most pleasant sunny spot you can imagine became suddenly dark and threatening. The sun was going down. Shortly now it would be dark and there was ten miles of back road through forest to safety. In growing alarm I waded out into the water and looked at the nearly five acres we had frolicked in and I could feel both terror and despair creep into my soul. How would I ever find my keys in all of this?

I didn’t even know where to begin, so I bowed and prayed. I said, “Lord, I have been an absolute idiot. I am responsible for three tiny children and my failure to be careful has put them at risk. Please help me find my keys, and don’t allow my children to suffer for my foolishness.” Then with my head still bowed I opened my eyes, and there at my feet, between my toes, lay my keys! They were not even obscured by sand, but looked as if someone had just placed them there a moment ago. I didn’t have to take a single step; I just reached down and picked them up. That is the power of prayer.

People with no experience of God often ask how Christians can believe in a God that is so obviously uninterested in mankind; who is so distant and aloof. The answer is simple: we don’t. We believe in a God who is as real as you are, whose Spirit is a constant comfort, who listens to our every prayer and treats us each day like His family. I’m sure that some of you will rationalize this little story with words like ‘luck’ or ‘circumstance’, and if you want to go on kidding yourself and being deliberately blind to the greater reality all around you, that is your choice. But please don’t prattle on to Christians with your silly nonsense about a distant and uninterested God. That’s not who He is, and for you to think so is as foolish as a man who forgets his responsibilities to his children and goes swimming with keys!

It is a wonderful thing to live in a multi-cultural society. I noticed this morning that the malls are once again filling up with stalls selling Moon Cakes.

mooncake1We are just heading into the first in a series of celebrations that will take us all the way through to February with plenty of decorations and amazing food. This is the third major festival of the Chinese calendar, which is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month and has to do with the union of man’s spirit with nature in order to achieve perfect harmony so that the contemplation of nature becomes a way of life.


This festival is also known as the Moon Cake Festival because a special kind of sweet cake (yueh ping) prepared in the shape of the moon and filled with sesame seeds, ground lotus seeds and duck eggs is served as a traditional Chung Chiu delicacy. Nobody actually knows when the custom of eating moon cake to celebrate the Moon Festival began, but one story traces its origin to the 14th century. At the time, China was in revolt against the Mongols. Chu Yuen-chang, and his senior deputy, Liu Po-wen, discussed battle plan and developed a secret moon cake strategy to take a certain walled city held by the Mongol enemy. Liu dressed up as a Taoist priest and entered the besieged city bearing moon cake. He distributed these to the city’s populace. When the time for the year’s Chung Chiu festival arrived, people opened their cakes and found hidden messages advising them to coordinate their uprising with the troops outside. Thus, the emperor-to-be ingeniously took the city and his throne. Moon cake of course, became even more famous.  (

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