Way back in January when I briefly started looking for a job, God led us to look at the NW Ontario region as a place where our family should go. It is close to Winnipeg, has access to wilderness and land, and gives our family a chance to get outdoors and live life to the fullest. We looked into a job in Fort Francis (about 4 hours from Winnipeg), but it never turned into anything. Lois however, was convinced that God wanted us to check out the area so the plan was to go camping there in August once I was done work. I wasn't convinced this was the greatest idea, but went along with the plan anyway.
The plan was to go there this past weekend, which we did, camping at Caliper Lake Provincial Park and having a marvelous time as a family. However, the weekend was much more than just camping, but was a sign once again that God has his hand in all things, and that he directs our steps.
You see back in February I had gotten a lead from a friend that there might be a possible job opening in the area coming up. I told him to keep me posted and then kind of forgot about it. Well on August 1 (one day after I finished at Gospel Mennonite Church!) this friend phoned back and told me that the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Emo, Ontario was heading back to seminary after 9 fruitful years of ministry, and that I should really check the church out.
I called Andrew Hall, the pastor of the church, told him our situation, and asked if we could come and visit the church as guests, but also to see if it would be a fit for our family and if God might be leading us to serve him there. He welcomed us to come, and because Lois' plan was that we were to be going there this past weekend anyway, it all worked out great.
MOM's Way" (Manitoba-Ontario-Minnesota) route.
As a family, we felt right at home in the church of about 120 people. There were lots of young families with little kids, as well as teenagers and everyone up to seniors. The worship was very Christ-focused, and Andrew preached a powerful sermon on the church as evidence of God's grace to the world. Many little things, like using the ESV bible translation, having Fighter Verses in the bulletin, reading that the church had strong leadership structure, and the fact that the search committee was announced that day, not only brought a smile to my face but led me to believe that this was a place where God could (if he chooses to) use us to equip his people and extend his kingdom.
After church Lois and I had some great talks with various people in the church, who kind of guessed that we weren't just there "visiting." Lois learned about the schools in the area, and that the Pastor's wife grew up going to church in Altona were here cousins Alan and Anita Kehler were the Pastor couple. Andrew and I talked, and I discovered that we had both attended some of the same Desiring God Conferences hosted by John Piper, that he had went to school with my sister and her husband, that we were actually attending Providence Seminary at the same time, and that we both loved to canoe and fish! He mentioned that his last day was to be January 13, 2008, which is just before our 5 month Adventure with God will be over. He also mentioned that there were different people who had expressed interest in being hired at the church. I asked him to include my name on that list, and he said he would talk to the search committee and get back to me.
As we drove away from the church, Lois and I were both excited and at peace that this could be a great place to minister together as a couple, and as a family. I said to her, "Lois, I think I just verbally applied for a job!" Obviously God has to continue to lead and guide in this whole process, speaking to both the church, and our family. I haven't even provided them with my resume, but hopefully that opportunity will come soon.
Thank you to all those who have been praying for us. Clearly, God is answering those prayers! He knows what we as a family are about, what our hearts desires are, and he also knows which one of his churches will be best suited to further glorify him with the Dueck 6 as a part of the congregation. Stay tuned for details!