Yearly Archives: 2010


  Work on our extension is progressing.  We now have balconies on the north and south sides and energies have now been turned towards finishing the inside of the extension.  The next step is putting on window frames, mouldings around the windows and doors, and all the wainscot.  As you can see from this photo, there is a lot of wood to be stained and then varnished!   But with teamwork, considerable progress has been made in staining the wood.  Hopefully by next week we will be ready to start putting up some of the wood! 


Teamwork staining wood Hard at work


Watermelon Sunday

About one Sunday per month, our family, along with another family or two, goes down to Grace Christian Home for an afternoon of edification and exhortation for the residents of the home.  It is always encouraging to serve people whom you know will appreciate what you bring them.  We are also grateful to the senior Godfreys, who organize everything, and for their encouragement to keep working for the Lord by ministering to these people.

Last Sunday, we decided to do something slightly different.  Rather than a normal type of message, we did a sort of play, which we hoped would help people remember the message a little better.  It was based on the IBLP Children’s Institute watermelon story, with a slightly different twist to it.

In our story, we wanted to eat watermelon because it was so hot.  But every time I was about to cut it open, someone would stop me and suggest that we test it in some way or other.  It was incredible how many people wanted to test the watermelon before opening it.  It was tested for smell, for how it felt, for stem strength, and stripiness; it was inspected for bad spots, shaken, and knocked on.

STOP!  Before we cut it, we need to do another test...

When we had finally done all these tests (surely we didn’t need to do that many) and deemed that it should be a good watermelon, I sliced it open.  Unfortunately it was not edible on the inside.

Not very good, as watermelons go.

But, although the watermelon was not good to eat, we did get some good spiritual lessons out of this watermelon.  Just like the dirt in the watermelon totally ruined it, so sin in our lives totally ruins us.  It doesn’t take much sin – even one sin makes us a sinner and every one of us has sinned.  God’s Word says that the wages of sin is death, so we all deserve to die.

Also, we can’t make this watermelon better.  We need a new watermelon.  In the same way, we can’t “make our sin better.”  We need a totally new life; we need to be a new creation.   “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23)  The Bible says in II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  Jesus is God’s own Son and never committed any sin.  But He died on the cross in our place, the Righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God.  We can have new, eternal life through Him.

There is one more thing we need to notice, too.  Sometimes sin is obvious, just as a watermelon can be obviously bad.  But this watermelon seemed good on the outside.  It can be the same way with people: on the outside they may be doing all kinds of “good” things, but the inside has not been made new.  In I Samuel 16:7, the Bible says, “The LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”  In order to be righteous before God, we need to be clean on the inside, not just look good on the outside.  If you have not asked God to make you a new creation by what Jesus did on the cross for you, I urge you to ask Christ to forgive your sins and give you a new life.

I didn’t know I was that crazy

I suspect that none of those reading this blog post have ever mowed their lawn with a 10 inch carbide-tipped radial saw blade.  Well, I did.  Sort of…

Our lawn mower is a very faithful gasoline push-mower close to 20 years old and has needed very few repairs.  This summer, however, I noticed that a couple of the wheels were starting to get loose.  I figured they would need changing some time or other.  I didn’t think, however, when I went out to mow the lawn last time, that it would break quite yet.  Well, the weather forecast was for a chance of thunderstorms starting early in the afternoon.  It generally takes about 1 ½ to 2 hours to mow our lawn, so when I started around 10:00/10:30, I thought I was leaving just about enough time before lunch.  You can probably guess what happened.

A 20 year old mower starts to need repairs

Yes, the wheel came right off after about 5 minutes of mowing.  To make a temporary fix, all I needed was a washer at least 2 inches wide with a ½ inch hole in the centre.  I don’t know about you, but we don’t stock that kind of thing in our workroom.  I did go to see what we did have in stock, however.  Nothing I found would do the job – except an old 10 inch carbide-tipped radial saw blade that had unintentionally been used to cut into a piece of metal.

An old radial saw blade A rather odd looking lawnmower wheel

By the way, I don’t recommend this method for several reasons.  First, it wouldn’t be good for your feet if you don’t have steel-shanked boots.  (I did.)  It also isn’t great for the lawn if you have a really nice lawn.  (We don’t.)  Finally, it takes about twice as much energy to push the mower when one of the wheels is going several inches into the ground. 

What can be learned from an experience such as this?  (Besides creativity… Smile
–    Don’t put things off until the last minute.  If I had started the lawn earlier (which I could have done), I would not have had so much time pressure on me to get everything done before the thunderstorm.
–    Learn to think ahead. – If I had thought ahead and bought a “spare tire” when I realized that I would need one, I would have been all ready when this happened.  I would have finished the lawn a decent amount sooner, too.
–    The value of mechanical skills. – Thanks to my father’s insisting that all of us learn to use a wrench (and even encouraging us to take apart old broken appliances), none of us would have any difficulty changing a wheel on a lawnmower.  Paying a mechanic to fix a lawnmower wheel just isn’t worthwhile.
–    Maybe you can think of more lessons that can be learned!

Learning from your mistakes is often the most effective way of learning, but it is normally the hardest way, too.  The worst of it is that sometimes we don’t learn.  Also, try writing out the lessons you learn from your mistakes.  This has often helped me see things from a new perspective, even if it doesn’t come out quite right on paper (or the screen).

Proverbs 24:16 “…a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again…”

Beebe Plain

Advent Christian Camp is a very small camp in Beebe Plain, Quebec.  It is the kind of place no one would hear about except by word of mouth.  When we first got an invitation to play music there as a part of the conclusion of the camp last year, we had never heard of it.  We did know several of the people there, however.  And, that is how we were invited to play.  That is how almost all our concerts are booked.

The people at the camp really seemed to appreciate the music we played.  It sometimes seems strange to think how some simple music, played by simple musicians, can be such a blessing to the hearers.  Any yet, this is the feedback we always receive.  Comments such as, “That was uplifting!” or, “It is a blessing to see you play together.” or, “It makes me think of Heaven.” are not uncommon.  Is this due to our ability or skill?  No.  Skilled musicians could be found in the concert halls of Montreal, but you aren’t likely to find us there.  I don’t fully know what causes people to make such comments, nor how we can be such an encouragement to so many people, but I know it is the Lord’s doing.  It may also have to do with the fact that in this world, families simply don’t go around together. 

Mrs. Vogrin once said, “[Basically] all you need to have a family ministry is to stand together as a family and smile.”  This is, from what we have seen, true.  But, why don’t you try it?  Actually, try just a little more than that.  Try just walking into a nursing home once a week, or even once a month, and talking with the residents.  You may be surprised to find that many people that can’t seem to remember anything suddenly have the ability to remember something. 

Like many buildings in the far south of Quebec, several of the cabins in Advent Christian Camp are quite old, but in good shape.  Several are over 100 years old, and are made with planks of wood of dimensions that would be extravagantly expensive or even simply not available.

Another interesting thing about this trip was the town itself.  It seems that when they built the town, they forgot that there was more than one country in North America.  The town is literally right on the border, with some houses seemingly in both countries.  The road we took home is partly in Canada and partly in the States.  The houses on the south side of the road are American houses, while those on the north are Canadian.  That makes one think… Does the U.S. Postal Service have to cross the border into Canada to deliver their mail to the American houses in the States?  It must be interesting to live in a place like that.

Zechariah 4:6-10 “This is the word of the LORD … Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. … For who hath despised the day of small things? … The eyes of the LORD … run to and fro through the whole earth.”

30th Anniversary

This past week, Robert and I celebrated our 30th anniversary by climbing Mount Washington, the highest peak in the American northeast:  about 10 miles round trip and about 3800 feet of vertical ascent.  It took us 11 hours including an hour lunch break and lots of stopping to take pictures, but we did it!!!

  The day started out overcast and the top of Mount Washington was hidden in cloud, so we weren’t sure if we’d end up going all the way to the top but as we started back on the upward climb after lunch, the cloud started breaking up and by the time we reached the top it was quite clear (visibility of 50 miles) and *very* windy – wooshhhhh! The view was really pretty.  There was a little snow left on the slopes of the facing mountains.

 One of many beautiful waterfalls on the
Ammonoosuk Ravine Trail on the morning ascent.

The mountain tops are hidden in clouds.
We wonder if it will be worth climbing to the top.

 Getting higher and above the tree line.

 We took a lunch break in the Lake of the Clouds Hut.

The clouds start to lift as we hike higher!  What a view!
We look back at the Lake of the Clouds Hut where we ate lunch.
Can you see it?  It is the tiny white dot in the middle right.
Lake of the Clouds is to its left.

Mount Washington is reputed to have some of the
worst weather in the world, including record high wind speeds.

We made it to the top!
And it was definitely windy!!!

 One of the spectacular views from the top – thank you, Lord, for the beauty of your creation and for making it possible for us to see it!

The path is extremely rocky, and is marked by “cairns” – piles of rocks.  You can see one in the left foreground.  To the mid-right, you can see a snow patch on the slope of a nearby mountain – Mount Jefferson, I think.

Mount Washington and Mount Jefferson are part of the Presidential Range in the White Mountains.  Does anyone know how many US presidents have mountains named after them?


   After our hike up Mount Washington, we were in need of some easier days!  We spent the next two days shopping and doing some really easy hikes.  The next day we headed over to “The Basin.”  As soon as we stepped out of the van at the trailhead, a man came rushing up yelling at us to bring ropes and blankets as a child had fallen into the very cold water of the extremely rapid river and was trapped in the water.  911 had already been called, but we went running with ropes and towels and our big thick cotton blanket.  The boy’s father had jumped in to help his son and he, too, was trapped in an eddy of water:  no way to get up or left or right because of the cave-like overhang and the river in front of them was much too rapid to cross without being swept downstream over the rocks and boulders.  The police arrived shortly after us and pulled them both out but had no supplies so we wrapped them in towels and blankets until the ambulance arrived a little while later to warm them up.   What a blessing no further harm had occurred!

Along the trail to “The Basin”


 On our third and last morning, a lady approached us just as we were leaving the campground, asking if we had booster cables as her car wouldn’t start.  She seemed to have been camping alone with her two girls.  We gave them a boost and a Gideons’ New Testament.  We then had a lovely drive along the beautiful Kancamagus Highway, with stops at some scenic lookouts and a short hike to the lovely Sabbaday Falls before enjoying some further sight seeing, supper, and an uneventful drive home.

Sabbaday Falls


  We got home after everyone was asleep, but the next day the family had a lovely surprise for us after supper.  While we were away, they had made us a *huge* card with all sorts of little cards inside as well as giving us a lovely gift.  What a very special anniversary celebration!  Thank you all!!!

The very special card – outside and inside.

The RCMP, Music, and Construction

Although we have been alleviated of the duties of scholastic study and supervision, we are by no means free of all duty and work.  Next week, there are string exams and piano exams for most, and much practice has been taking place.  In addition to the regular music practice, there are also the concerts for which to practise.  Last Saturday we performed at the Wales Home, a retirement home in Richmond, about 3/4 of an hour north of us.  It is always a pleasure to play for these people, as they always seem to appreciate every effort, even if the performance doesn’t go as smoothly as we would have liked.  We also have a concert scheduled for the 11th of July in Beebe Plain.  Although all this practice is a lot of work, it is rewarding, as there have been times that our music has opened the door for us to share Christ with some of our listeners.

Wales Home Music

Last Friday, we had the opportunity of going down to Ayer’s Cliff to watch the performance of the RCMP Musical Ride.  If you have never seen one of their performances, I would strongly recommend you do.  Of course, if you’re not in Canada, that could be a hard thing to achieve.  It is simply unbelievable how careful they are to make sure every person, every lance, and every horse is exactly where they should be at the right time.  The horses even keep step to the music accompaniment, whether they are walking or cantering or somewhere in between.  I believe we all appreciated being there – I certainly did.  This served as a reminder to me of the way God has all things worked out for our good.  Even when we don’t know what is going to happen next in our lives, He has it all worked out such that there are never any mishaps.

RCMP practice RCMP Musical Ride

The construction is coming along smoothly, though it seems somewhat slow at times.  The siding is pretty much all done, as is the soffit.  Yesterday, the electrician came and did most of the electrical connections, and he will be finishing it this afternoon.  The extension is looking more like a room and less like a construction zone now that there are lights on the ceiling and walls instead of just electrical boxes. 

Matthew 5:14 “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”

Mont Saint Dominique

Has it really been almost two months since we have posted anything?  I’m incredulous.  I am extremely grateful that God has poured out His blessings upon us with a faithfulness far exceeding ours.  I suppose I should begin by sharing our experience at the retirement home last Saturday. 

This is a home run by Dominican nuns as part of their missionary work here in Quebec.  (They are originally from Europe.)  The programme was about an hour long, beginning with ¾ of an hour of music.  Both the residents and the nuns seemed to greatly enjoy listening to the music, especially when the younger ones played. 

Music at Mont Saint Dominique They like it when the little ones play.

The music was followed by a Gospel chalk talk, “The Captain of my Ship”, or rather, « Le Capitaine de mon Bateau », as this was a French home.  In this chalk talk, two stories are told from the lives of the 12 disciples in which they had to make Christ the Captain of their “ship”.  At the conclusion, I give an invitation to ask Christ into their life and to make Him the Captain of their “ship”. 

Captain of my Ship

We also handed out New Testaments to anyone who wanted to learn more about Christ.  Of the 30 or so people present, approximately two dozen people took them, including several of the nuns. 

I do not know whether anyone was saved as a direct result of our music and chalk talk, but I do know that the Word of God is powerful, and the Lord will use it to bring forth His purpose and accomplish His intent.  We can plant the seed of truth, but only God can make it grow and bear fruit.

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness - 2 Chr 16:29

Isaiah 55:11 “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

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Back from Beachburg, Ontario!

Getting set to go on a trip is often fraught with obstacles and this trip was no exception!  Late Wednesday afternoon, our van refused to go, leaving Mom stranded in the Wal-Mart parking lot.  Mom was rescued by a knight in shining armour (Dad!) and the van was taken to the garage. Friday morning found our van still in the garage, as the needed piece was nowhere to be found.  Our trailer, which was needed for the carrying the cargo for our trip, sat at home full of bits of construction material which needed to be emptied out at the Eco-Center before it closed at 4:00 Friday afternoon.  As lunchtime came and went, and we still had no word from the garage, we started to wonder if our van would be ready in time.  But at 2:00 the call from the garage came – the creative mechanics had succeeded in rebuilding the existing piece instead of getting a new one!  That left us enough time to get down to the garage, come back home to hitch up the trailer, and get down to down to the Eco-Center before it closed!  How grateful we were for the Lord’s perfect timing!  Thank you to all who prayed!

The trip to Beachburg, Ontario, went smoothly and we enjoyed David’s creative Bacon-and-Egg Bunwiches for our breakfast in the car.  Let him know if you’d like his recipe: contact him or leave a comment.

David's creative Bacon-and-Egg Bunwiches

Once we arrived, we were greeted by the Garfats (, who had already begun setting up and who had also worked hard to cover the windows, enabling the hall to be darkened for the chalk art presentation.  Equipment was moved in; Nathanael started setting up the sound system; David, Elizabeth, and Jonathan set up the chalk art equipment; and everyone else worked hard setting up other things.  Once the chalk artists were finished setting up, they cleaned their hands and helped elsewhere.  Here’s Elizabeth helping with sound system wiring:

Elizabeth helping with sound system wiring

Playing together.  The girls made matching jumpers for the occasion.

Playing together 1 Playing together 2

The attentive audience.  Can you spot Mom and Amy?
(Hint: their jumpers match the other girls’ jumpers!)

Attentive Audience

The finale:  the chalk art presentation!

Gospel chalk art presentation

Some of our host family who worked hard to make everything possible!

We were being recorded

During the day Monday, we enjoyed a time of fellowship with the Garfats, including some lively outdoors games.

Fellowship Volleyball

Monday evening was at the Country Haven Retirement Home.

Setting up.

Setting up

Some photos from the evening:

Concert Audience
Gospel chalk talk Talking afterwards

Beachburg Chalk Talk Preparations

We have now been blessed with three scheduled chalk talks.  The first, March 28, is at the Beachburg Hall.  The second, March 29, is also in Beachburg, at the Country Haven Retirement Home.  The third, more locally situated, is at Mont Saint Dominique, a Catholic nursing home in Sherbrooke on May 22.  We would appreciate your prayers for every one of them.

Every chalk talk takes a certain amount of preparation.  First (and not necessarily easiest), we must find a day that fits with the already made schedule.  This time, we started by setting up on Friday.  On Monday, we did a practice run using a background that we had previously made, but not used.

Tuesday, the real work started.  We started by preparing our paper for the new backgrounds.  We have found that sanding the bogus paper helps it absorb more chalk.

Sanding the Papers

Clouds are something we have a hard time with, so we were pleasantly surprised when, after much time spent in discussion as to how we could improve, our backgrounds turned out as well as they did.  There is certainly still much room for improvement.

applying white to the blacklight areafinishing the clouds

Tuesday evening, we started work on the three blacklight drawings.  We work from a slide Matthew Bowman made from Captain of my Ship.  (Our version of Captain of my Ship is an adaptation and expansion of that chalk talk.)

It is exciting to see the way the Lord works through every situation of life when we let Him.  While I was working the lights during the last background of the blacklight session, something broke inside our control box.  The dimmer that is supposed to control the main white lights ceased to function.  That is not good.  We decided to put white bulbs in the red sockets and finish the blacklight preparation that way.

Wednesday was the day we had planned for cleanup.  But, before we did the cleanup, we had to check into the problem with the dimmer.  I soon had the faulty dimmer out, and since we are home-schooled, and since the dimmer wasn’t working anyway, we decided to take it apart.  We soon found the problem – the small plastic piece that switches the dimmer on or off had broken right off and had left the dimmer stuck in the “off” position.  So, we switched it on manually, and voilà, the dimmer was once again working as it ought to – well, almost.  The only “problem” was that it no longer clicks off – it only dims off.  (While we had the box open, we also replaced all the solid-core wiring with fibred wiring.)

opening the control boxfixing the dimmerputting it all back together

The Lord’s blessing is present in our lives at all times at all times, but there are times that we have more difficulty in seeing it than others.  In this case, God’s blessing was evidenced in the timing of this event.  This could have happened in a very different way.  It could have happened right before one of the presentations.  But God was gracious to us, and not only gave us the ability to fix it, but also arranged the timing such that we could do something about it.

This also reminds me of how we are sometimes – broken.  Very often, we do something that we shouldn’t have done, and there are consequences.  But God can fix anything.  Our lives may not be as they would have been had we not fallen, but He can nevertheless work all things together for our good, and that is exactly what He wants for us.

We finally did get the cleanup done, and we are now ready (I believe) to pack everything into the trailer.  

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:”

Romans 8:27-28 “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”