Category Archives: Ministry

Beebe Camp Music

On the 10th of July, we went to Beebe to play some music at the Advent Christian Camp.

Playing music The Preacher

Ever since we heard that we were going to Beebe, several of us began looking forward to helping wash the dishes.  They have a really good set up for hand washing dishes in that kitchen.

Washing dishes Putting the dishes away

After washing dishes, everyone headed outside.  It was a beautiful day, and we stayed there most of the afternoon fellowshipping and playing box hockey.

Talking afterwards Box Hockey
The Chapel Fiddler in the Roof

The chapel’s structure is completely open truss, affording a wonderful place to play violin for people who don’t mind being high in the air.  We thought we might call him the “fiddler in the roof”.  The sign below should probably read something like, “TAKE HEED HOW YE PLAY”. Or perhaps 1 Corinthians 10:12 – “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

The call to proclaim the Gospel

   This spring the Lord again opened up the opportunity for us to play some music and to do a Gospel chalk art presentation at Mont Saint-Dominique – a Catholic nursing home at which Daddy works. We were amazed at how many people came. The nuns all showed up for the presentation, and even the “curé” (the chaplain) was there. Through the chalk talk, the Gospel was clearly presented. We pray that the Lord would use His Word to convict hearts and draw them to Himself.

playing together the cellist principle first awaiting their turn

Everyone loved seeing Daddy, the beloved doctor, playing music with his children.

everyone together

A few pictures of the chalk talk…

working together drawing by moolight 1 drawing by moolight 2

The picture is emerging the blacklight

   We were invited to stay for supper, which we readily accepted. This proved to be an excellent opportunity to interact with both the nuns and the residents, and to begin to get to know a few of them.

    Something I have often wondered when we do Gospel chalk art presentations is why we rarely see much response to the Gospel message. Everyone loves the presentation, but though it often elicits conversation about God, I don’t believe I can say that I actually know anyone who has come to the Lord through it.

    As I pondered this, the Lord opened up two things to me. The first was that God calls us to be faithful, not to see results. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (I Corinthians 15:58) Our toiling for the Lord is not in vain even though we may never see the results of our labour. God has promised that His Word will not return to Him void, however He has not promised that we, the bearers of that Word, will see Him accomplish that work. His withholding from us the visible encouragement of results necessitates a response of faith on our part. We must trust that He is at work, though we do not always perceive it.

   The other answer came to me through a book I read recently. I share a quote from it:

    “It [the knowledge of the sovereignty of God’s grace] should keep us from being daunted when we find that our evangelistic endeavours meet with no immediate response. God saves in His own time, and we ought not to suppose that He is in such a hurry as we are. We need to remember that we are all children of our age, and the spirit of our age is a spirit of tearing hurry. And it is a pragmatic spirit; it is a spirit that demands quick results. The modern ideal is to achieve more and more by doing less and less. This is the age of the labour-saving device, the efficiency chart, and automation. The attitude which all this breeds is one of impatience towards everything that takes time and demands sustained effort. ours tends to be a slapdash age; we resent spending time doing things thoroughly. This spirit tends to infect our evangelism (not to speak of other departments of our Christianity), and with disastrous results. We are tempted to be in a great hurry with those whom we would win to Christ, and then, when we see no immediate response in them, to become impatient and downcast, and then to lose interest in them, and feel that it is useless to spend more time on them; and so we abandon our efforts forthwith, and let them drop out of our ken. But this is utterly wrong. It is a failure both of love for man and of faith in God.

    “The truth is that the work of evangelizing demands more patience and sheer ‘stickability’, more reserves of persevering love and care, than most of us twentieth-century Christians have at command. It is a work in which quick results are not promised; it is a work, therefore, in which the non-appearance of quick results is no sign of failure; but it is a work in which we cannot hope for success unless we are prepared to persevere with people.”  Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer

    We are called to patient labour. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:7-9

Chalk Talk Creation

Each chalk talk takes a lot of preparation.  First, a basic plan is made.  

The basic plan and rough draft being created

Then a rough drawing is made.  This is the rough drawing for … a new one!

The Shepherds' Story (rough draft)

Finally, we get to the easel and draw it out.  It generally gets a few minor changes after that.  This is the new chalk talk we created.  It is called… well, we don’t exactly have an official name for it yet.  Its main theme is shepherds, starting with the Christmas shepherds (Luke 2).

The Shepherds' Story (first edition)

 Whenever we have some presentations coming up, preparation time comes.  We have to start by finding a day that works for everyone, and when we can have the basement all to ourselves for a few days.  Preparation makes a lot of dust, so we have to evacuate everything and everyone from the basement and cover what cannot be evacuated.  Generally, we do about four to six backgrounds at the same time.  Once the backgrounds are complete, the blacklight image is drawn in.  This has to be done after dark so that we can see what we are doing.  (That’s not hard to achieve at this time of year: the sun sets at 4 PM.)  When all that is complete (generally about two days after the initial setup), everything gets hair-sprayed to keep the picture from rubbing off or smearing during transport. 

Drawing in the background hairspraying - notice the rolled-up pictures on the right.

 Oh, and then there is one more step. Laughing

The job's not done 'till the cleanup's done!

The cleanup!

 When it actually comes time to do the presentation, we try to arrive about an hour or two earlier than the official beginning time.  This is to leave time to set up when there aren’t too many people around.  It also leaves time for us to deal with technical difficulties, such as light bulbs breaking or simply not working, wire nuts falling off, outlets that don’t seem to work, bolts missing, easel legs being mixed up, and dimmers breaking in the “off” position.  I’ve probably missed a few, but these have all really happened to us.  In case you are wondering, the dimmer wasn’t too hard to fix: all we had to do was open up our control box, undo half a dozen wire nuts, crack the dimmer casing to open it, unscrew the nut holding it together, find the switch, flip it to the “on” position, and then put it all back together!  This is partly why we always try to have someone praying for each presentation we do.  Of course, the main thing for which to pray is that souls would respond to the message of salvation and turn to the Saviour.

Setup more setup Slight technical difficulties

Another important part of our team is Nathanael, our sound technician.  He takes care of all the preparation of background music and sees that the speaker can be appropriately amplified so that all can hear the message, even those who may be somewhat hard of hearing.

Our sound technician
Drawing lighting effects

After dozens (or even hundreds) of hours of preparation, the final presentation may take only 15 to 30 minutes.  We have found, however, that people remember these presentations for years afterwards, and our prayer is that the message may be received and impact lives for eternity.

Ministry updates

Well, this post is coming out a little later than I initially expected.  A work experience opportunity came up and I had to leave rather suddenly.  But here I am back…

I think it would be appropriate to begin our updates with ministry opportunities we have had over the past month.Embarassed  I am probably forgetting some, but I will tell about the three that I remember.

On the 15th of August, we had our monthly day of edification and encouragement for the residents of Grace Christian Home.  I am sure I have probably said this before, but I will repeat, if you have never been involved in some sort of a ministry toward the elderly (the “widows and orphans”), you do not know the blessings you are missing out on.

Well, this week our theme was “a mirror”.  In several ways, the Word of God is like a mirror.  First, it is designed to show forth our faults.  That means our faults, not others’ faults.  I know people do use the Bible to bash each other over the head, but such is not the intent.  However, just like a mirror, even when we use it correctly, it will do us no good to notice what we have wrong in our lives if we go away unchanged.  We must be doers of the Word, and not just hearers.

A mirror does no good unless you use it.

Another ministry opportunity some of us had was to help out at the home of a widowed friend.

"Come again soon"

Last Sunday afternoon, the nursing home at which we have been giving concerts the longest, Connaught Home, celebrated their 40th year.  Everyone was encouraged to dress in turn-of-the-century costumes, thus the bonnets.  We were honoured to be allowed to play for this occasion.  At the same time, we learned a lot about the history of this home.  I won’t go into much detail now, but I will mention that the lady whom you see cutting the cake was the first nurse for the home and as been actively involved ever since the first day.  We praise the Lord for people such as her who give their lives to serve the Lord.

Playing together The "old fashioned" audience Cutting the cake

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”  Colossians 3:23-24

Busy Days

    What a busy couple of weeks!  After a brief lull in activity around here, the construction has progressed by leaps and bounds.  The shelter over the north basement doors is now completed.  With the exception of gutter installation, there remains little to do outdoors at this point, so most of the work has been indoors: the finishing!  The wainscotting (wood half-way up the walls) went up very rapidly – it was all up and varnished by Wednesday last week.  Thursday and Saturday were days of work on window frames and mouldings.  One of the young men from our Bible study came over to help us out.  Thank you, Ryan, for your excellent work.  We express much gratitude also to Ryan’s family for sharing your skilled worker!

wainscotting varnishing the wainscot

   The whole look of the place has been drastically altered – it is looking more and more like a room instead of a construction zone.  The bathroom at the back of the room is also progressing.  The walls are plastered, the exterior wall on the side of the original house is also dry walled and plastered, and the wooden ceiling is in place.  The pictures speak for themselves…

plastering mouldings a finished window

Some things require extreme precision…

planing measuring adjustments

   The question in many minds now is, “How soon will it be all done so that we can move in?!”  A lot still remains to do, however.  The mouldings around the doors as well as the openings into the original house have yet to be finished.  The flooring will be a massive endeavour, and even after that there are the baseboards, etc.  We continue to dream of the day it will all be finished…

   While all this was taking place in the extension, another project was also underway: fixing up the front door.  Though a beautiful wooden door, it is sorely inadequate at keeping out the cold during the winter.  Nathanael took it all apart, put insulating into it, and put it back up.  We shouldn’t have the problem of frost covered screws next winter!

reinstalling the door

   Construction/renovation was not the only thing going on this past week.  Mommy, Evelyn, Stephen, Sarah, and William worked on cleaning out the 28-year-old chest freezer in the basement.  It was a formidable task to take everything out, sort it all, clean the freezer all out, and put everything back!

cleaning out the freezer

   We have not only been busy at home either.  Friday afternoon was spent at our grandparents’ home helping them with clearing out weeds and repainting the balcony.  It was a wonderful team project – even Amy helped!  We loved doing this for them.

scraping off the old paint painting trimming weeds

   Sunday was a day of ministering to others at the Grace Christian Home for a service with the Godfreys.  Singing hymns, playing a few pieces on our instruments, listening to Mr. Godfrey present many creative ways of sharing the Gospel, and talking with the residents afterwards was such a delight!

at the home Mr. Godfrey with "Fat Albert"

   In all this busyness, I pause to consider a thought: What is the purpose in it all?  We can be busy about many things without knowing where we are heading, or precisely on what we are focused.  Is our focus simply to get something done?  The apostle Paul stated in I Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (emphasis added)  This is to be our focus: the glory of God, seeking to make Him known in all we say or do.

   “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”  Colossians 3:17


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.

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.”

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.”

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