We feel very privileged that we live in a world in which it is possible to take a Master’s level course through a seminary in the States from the other side of the world. And not just any seminary either. Fuller Theological Seminary is a leader in missiology and social justice, the two areas of greatest interest and impact in our ministries. The online format requires that we engage in dialogue with others in forum discussions. Believe it or not, you can actually get a pretty good discussion going this way. But we do miss the chance to meet people face to face and work through ideas as they are developing. Alpha Omega International College is a Bible College in KL at which we can take courses in residence which can then be accepted for credit transfer to Fuller. Last week we finished out third course at AOIC.
We like to keep an eye out for visiting professors who come with a great deal of knowledge and broad experience with their topic. Last year we were fortunate to take a course with world renowned author and Christian leader Ajith Fernando. This past two weeks we took another course with an Australian, Amanda Jackson, who is the Head of Advocacy for the Micah Challenge; a global coalition of Christians holding governments to account for their pledge to halve extreme poverty by 2015 in compliance with the Millennium Development Goals. She is not only a very experienced communicator in church life and advocacy campaigns, but is a wife, mother, grandmother, pastor and a very gracious woman. She was also a great teacher and just plain fun to be around.
The course looked at what the Bible has to say about injustice and our mission as Christians to overcome it. As the course progressed, we learned even more fully that as Christians we need to be the voice for justice both locally and globally and become catalysts for change at every level of influence. In one text, Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes You Just, Timothy Keller asserts: “If a person has grasped the meaning of God’s grace in his heart, he will do justice. If he doesn’t live justly, then he may say with his lips that he is grateful for God’s grace, but in his heart he is far from Him. If he doesn’t care about the poor, it reveals that at best he doesn’t understand the grace he has experienced, and at worst he has not really encountered the saving mercy of God. Grace should make you just.” Food for thought for anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ.
While our family and friends in Canada celebrate the last long weekend of the summer, we also had a three day weekend to mark the 57th anniversary of our adopted country. We opted to use the time to revive our very old scanner which is capable of scanning our family’s slides. It stretched the limits of our technical knowledge to convert thirty year old slides to digital format using a ten year old scanner and new computer platforms. But with the help of Steve’s now out of date Windows XP on his work computer we were able to upload the necessary software and the CanoScan 4200F was soon up and running again.
With the technical details behind us, we were soon absorbed in the wonder of seeing long forgotten images. Once we got over the shock of how much we had aged and shrunk, we were caught up in the wonder of the memories that cascaded over us. The sheer volume of those collected experiences began to sink in, and we were overwhelmed by the depth of God’s blessings on our family in our adventures with these three wonderful children through their growing up years.
With our water babies – all of them – we spent many happy hours on the beach in Port Stanley or at the cottage in Barrow Bay on the Bruce Peninsula. They loved their routines and yet were all very flexible, adventurous and could roll with the punches effortlessly. You could pretty much toss them their blanket and they would curl up and sleep wherever they happened to be. Throw in some sand on a sunny beach and they would entertain themselves for the entire day.
Their fearless and accepting attitude to whatever came their way gave us the courage to pack them up for an amazing adventure that found us living for a year in a quite remote hospital station in the southern panhandle of Bangladesh. There we served alongside some faithful servants of God and made life long friends while our kids learned much about independence as they explored the compound with their buddies. As we made our way home, we had the joy of visiting Kathmandu and driving out into the Himalayas to watch the sun rise over Mt Everest. From there we flew to Amsterdam where we picked up a camper van and had an amazing three weeks exploring some of Holland, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland enroute to visit with our TWR missionary friends Steve and Barb in Monte Carlo.
Seven years on, we again packed up and headed off for a year at Black Forest Academy in southern Germany and were again touring the countryside in a camper van. It wasn’t a very fancy set of wheels but it took us on several trips to England, enabling us to spend time with Steve’s Dad just a week before he passed away. We made many trips that year through France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. There were great experiences skiing in the Alps, swimming in the beautiful lakes of Italy and the beaches of the Adriatic, amazing European campgrounds, and city tours of Rome, Venice, Florence, Zurich, Bern, Paris and Frankfurt. We grew to love the beauty of Interlaken, Alsace Lorraine and the Black Forest.
But babies grow up, teenagers move out and young adults establish their own lives. Grandchildren are born and their own parents take photos of their little ones. Before you know it babies are taking “selfies” on their tablet and grandkids are making their own videos. We don’t know what technology will be available when our own children look back on their family experiences, but we pray that they will have made the type of wonderful memories we were delighted to revisit.