Friday, 20 December 2013

Prayer Requests

As you know, we continue to need constant prayer for our ministry, our support raising and our journey towards full time work with eMi Canada.  We humbly ask that our supporters in prayer join us in praying for a few people we love.

- A close friend of ours was rushed to the hospital with dangerous blood clots that required heart surgery.  She is thankfully now out of the hospital and recovering well.  Please pray for her continued healing and thank God that she is ok.

- Another close friend passed out and had a seizure while teaching a class of students.  The problem is unknown at this point, but please pray for her health going forward

- Liz's Dad recently underwent tests that determined he has prostate cancer.  The doctors have advised that he should have surgery, which is scheduled for January.  Please pray for his health, for our family and for the doctors advising him and performing the surgery.

- Braden's cousin was in a bad car accident and is in the hospital in life-threatening condition.  Miraculously, he has no broken bones or massive blood loss, but suffers from brain injury.  The doctors are unsure of his prognosis.  He remains unconscious, but is showing small signs of improvement.  Please pray for his immediate family especially, as well as our extended family.  Pray that God's grace, love and mercy would be evident, and that ultimately he will make a full recovery from his injuries.

- Braden's brother broke his jaw in two places in a hockey game earlier this week and now has his jaw wired.  Please pray that it heals quickly and that he will feel relief from the pain.

Pray that in everything, those affected can remember to trust God completely...

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths 
for His name's sake.
Even though I walk 
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your road and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Thank you in advance for your prayers for us, our friends and our family. We are so grateful to have so many supporters, encouragers and prayer warriors.

Blessings to you and your family this Christmas!


Liz & Braden

ACDP Conference Houston

Below is another delayed blog post. Sorry again!

November 21, 2013

I've had the good fortune of having a couple of opportunities to escape our horrendous Calgary winter so far.  The first was Mexico in late October.  The second was Houston in mid November.

ACDP stands for the Associations of Christian Design Professionals.  In short, it is an organization consisting of eMi staff as well as former and current volunteers, interns and supporters of eMi interested in learning more about designing in the developing world.  Each year, a conference is held somewhere in the US with workshops, worship and connecting time.

Now that I am actually working in the eMi Canada office, I went to this year's conference in the much-more-agreeable climate of Houston.  I had the privilege of attending workshops, reconnecting with other eMi staff and integrating myself more into eMi's ministry.  I was also asked to lead worship for the weekend.  I was so blessed to be able to contribute in this way along side two other eMi staff, and eMi intern and a conference attendee fairly new to eMi.

Worshipping at the ACDP Conference (I'm in the red shirt by the piano)

I learned a lot during the weekend, and had some amazing, encouraging conversations with other staff and volunteers.

More than anything, I was blessed and encouraged by the passion this group shares (myself included).  We were reminded of God's love for the poor and the broken.  The "Beatitudes" from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount say:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

A Canadian eMi volunteer helping to assess water needs
in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan 
When I look at those Jesus say are blessed - the poor in spirit, the merciful, the peacemakers and so on - every single one has been encountered on eMi trips multiple times.  We have mourned with victims of Typhoon Haiyan and the earthquake in Haiti.  We have served with peacemakers in Africa and the Middle East.  We have helped bring water to those who have been persecuted because they follow Jesus.  We have met some of the most meek, merciful, pure in heart servants of God.  And we strive, as a body of believers, to be men and women that hunger and thirst for righteousness.

To have so many people who share such an intense passion for this work in one room was incredible. We came together not as saints, not as perfect people, not better than any other human being - but as a group of people God has called to serve him in a very specific and rewarding way.  It makes me even more excited to continue on our journey towards full time work with eMi, and Liz and I are both so thankful that God has called us to serve him in this capacity.



Below is a delayed blog post. Sorry we've been so bad at keeping up to date!

November 7, 2013

Never have I felt taller than I did during my time in Camalú. Or younger for that matter (ok I guess I've felt younger, but not this much in a while).  I travelled with 10 other men (all over 50 years of age) to the small, mostly indigenous town along the west coast of Mexico's Baja California peninsula.  Our job was to build a roof on the expansion of a small church in a new neighbourhood.  I don't think I met one person at this church that was less than half a foot shorter than I was (and I'm only 5'10") - but, maybe ironically, I didn't meet one person I didn't look up to in some way.

"Church life" in a new, small community in rural Mexico is a lot different than here in Canada.  The pastor's house was literally two steps from the Sunday school room that was being built.  Almost all labour was being done by church members - men, women and teenagers who took
time off of work and school to help lay blocks, mix concrete, prepare food and clean up for the multiple services each week.  Without "vacation time", "banked hours" or large savings accounts, the sacrifice of taking time off work is that much greater.  Despite this, each volunteer seemed happy to be there - excited to do their part in helping build God's Kingdom here on earth. 

The roof after day 2

Our team was down there to help finish off the addition to their existing church building.  The walls were up when we arrived, but a roof was still needed.  

Since the Mexicans have much less experience working with wood than Canadians (most of the wood and shingles were actually manufactured in Canada), this was a great way for us to help.

Unlike the two other trips I've been on to Mexico, we actually worked along side the members of this Mexican church.  We showed them a bit on how to work with wood, they showed us a bit on how to work with concrete block.  

We didn't show up in a whirlwind, do our
work, and leave in a rush.  We spent time together.  We learned to communicate despite language barriers.  We broke bread (tortillas) together.

As expected, we got the roof done (with time to spare).  The specifics of how everything got done seem much less important now.  In reality, the roof isn't really the "product" of the trip.  I think we all, Mexicans and Canadians, experienced one important thing.  Our many differences - cultural, language, height and otherwise - are insignificant compared to the faith we have in common.

Our "hermanos y hermanas" (brothers and sisters) greeted each other and us with "Dios le bendiga".  God bless.  And he certainly did on this trip.

I could share a lot more stories - how our first rental van blew a wheel bearing, about the amazing local food we had, and about the missionaries we stayed with.  Feel free to ask me about it if you want.  More than anything though, I will remember the feeling of all of us coming together as ONE church, ONE body filled with ONE Spirit.  I'm especially blessed - I get to look forward to experiencing this many more times on eMi trips.  Sí, Dios me ha bendecido.

Here's a few more pictures...