Birthday Blessing

The weekend after my birthday, my wife had planned a birthday surprise for me, but I had no clue what it was until late Friday night. We were watching a little bit of TV in the basement, and I was really tired. I was about to go to bed (assuming the birthday festivities would start the next day), when the doorbell rang. We get about two unannounced visitors per year, so I was a bit alarmed when I didn’t recognize the person at the door. I asked my wife to get out the cell phone in case there was trouble. The woman at the door said that they were about to run out of gas, and wondered if they could use our phone and stay the night (which I thought was a bit presumptuous). She said that she would invite “the guys” to come in from the truck that was idling in front of our house. I’m not sure why I assumed the worst, but I was trying to get ready to defend myself against a group of thugs. It turned out to be my cousin and his wife from Regina, along with my old roommate from Bible college and his girlfriend (whom I had never met before – she was the one who came to the door first). They stayed the weekend, and we had a great time of reconnecting. The whole plan took a lot of extra effort from my wife, but it showed me how much she valued me and wanted to honour me.

There is a lot of extra effort that goes into Westpark School as well. From the parents’ side, there is the tuition and arranging for transportation. It takes extra effort from the staff as well to prepare for devotions, Bible classes, as well as to incorporate Biblical values into their regular instruction. I think that it is all worth it, because we are honouring God. This was obvious to me last week. I observed parts of some Bible classes. Mr. Friesen’s Grade 11 class had a very interesting lesson about the temptation of Christ. This was after they had spent time reading their Bibles and trying to hear from God. Ms. Ott had a good discussion about what the Bible had to say about drugs in her Grade 8 class. I managed to catch a bit of Mrs. Peters’ class with the Grade 3 students, and they were busy memorizing verses in a creative way, just prior to a discussion about prayer. All of the grade-group chapels were excellent last week as well. The high school students participated in an exercise where they listened to what God was telling them. Ms. Patola led the Middle Years students in a well-organized talk about characters in the Bible who listened to God with positive results. In the Early Years, Mrs. Goertzen talked about our school sponsor student, Gabi, who lives in Guatemala. Some of the young students volunteered to pray for Gabi afterward.

I was interviewed by a radio station about the situation in Haiti, and I was asked if our school was “socially conscious.” I was pleased to say that one of our main goals as a school is to have our students think about others and help them, and that we will be doing something to help people in Haiti.

I am excited about the in-school retreat that will be happening on February 26 for our high school students. Nathan Weselake is going to be the main speaker, and I know that will be a great day for all who attend. I have been to the main sessions for the past three in-school retreats, and they have been some of the most spiritually powerful days that I have experienced during my seven years here. I am sure that God has great things in store for this year as well.

Preparations continue to be made for the high school mission trips in June. We have one group of students going to Guatemala, another contingent heading to Thunder Bay, and a third group that will be helping out locally.

The first week of March is Missions Week at Westpark and I am excited about some of the possibilities that we have for speakers, as well as what we can do as a school to help out with the situation in Haiti.

There are a lot of good things going on for the Kingdom of God at Westpark School. Please remember to pray for our school. Our mission here is an important one. This was reinforced for me as I began to read a book called Too Small to Ignore by Dr. Wess Stafford. He claimed that about half of the entire population of the world is eighteen years of age or younger. He also said that roughly two-thirds of those who choose to follow Christ make that decision before the age of nineteen. The spiritual development that happens in our students is crucial in determining how they will live the rest of their lives.

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