Over the past few weeks we have continued to pray for wisdom on how to balance out life. There are lots of people to get to know in church, lots of places we could serve, friends and family who want to visit, and kids who need our attention, love, and time. I am still adjusting to preaching every week, and while I enjoy the opportunity to study God's word, I need much wisdom to know how much time to spend reading the Word, and how much time to spend getting out there and sharing the Word with others.
We do thank God for the blessings of a gracious church, and the support and love from our families back in Winnipeg. Easter weekend was a highlight, as I had the chance to study and preach on the question "Why do we need the resurrection?," and Lois's Mom, her aunt, her sister Elaine, and her boarder from Germany came to visit. We also accepted an invitation to have an Easter Feast at a hunting lodge owned by some good friends at church. It was a memorable time as our extended family of 9 joined their extended family of 12 for a great meal and a walk in the beautiful outdoors.
Stephen and Lois made Paska for the family the week prior to Easter, and we used some of this yummy Easter bread as little "we are your new neighbours" gifts to the people on the street. If you are ever looking for a non-threatening way to meet people, just bring food to their door! One couple on the street even returned the favor, and gave us some lake trout fillets before we left. Amazing - you seek to bless others, and get blessed in return!
After church on Good Friday, we headed to the bush just by the school to hide the kids Easter eggs. As Lois and I think back about our prayers for a home, we realize that we had prayed that we would either have a large yard, or be near a park or school. Well, the school yard is half a block away, and it even has a creek and a bush for the kids to play in. God truly is gracious.
Easter Sunday also happened to be Caleb's 9th Birthday (so this year we have Christmas, Easter, and St Patrick's Day covered!), and we celebrated it on Saturday by doing what we have thought of doing almost every morning since arriving - buy fresh baked donuts from Cloverleaf Grocery! We go for walks with Kelly behind the story in the mornings, and the smell is very tempting. Since all the rest of kids celebrated their birthdays on our trip and couldn't have a friends party, we decided to be consistent and just keep the party for us as a family, though we did do Pizza Hut in Fort Francis on Sunday with Grandma and Auntie Elaine.
Caleb's collection of Star Wars LEGO continues to grow, and we were able to finally get him a "big" set this year, because we had the means, and more importantly the space to display it. It is encouraging to see Caleb grow up: he is responsible with his dog, willing to do the chores that are needed, spends time each night on his own reading a chapter of the Bible, has accepted the job of folding bulletins for church, and prays with a deeper understanding of God's Word and his working in people's lives. He also still loves goofing off and is a huge fan of watching Christian Comedy.
This past weekend my brother and his family were over, and got introduced to our small town life. They enjoyed the quiet (minus the train of course), and were blessed by the people in church. Ellen joined Lois at the Ladies bowling night, and was educated on the fact that going bowling means driving 20 minutes to the Fort for 5-pin, and going over the border to International Falls for 10 pin (the closest movie theater is in the Falls as well). They were really happy for us that our new house has more space than our last house, and agreed with us that if God takes his time in finding us a place in the country that is okay, because we are very comfortable where we are.
We also had some brother bonding and cousin bonding over two important activities: playing Wii (which we borrowed from some friends in church) and shooting pellet guns! We have purchased two guns for our family, and drive about 5 miles out of Emo to shoot them off at a friends place. There was some serious fun happening as pop cans and juice cartons were flying off our homemade target stand. Joseph is an especially good shot, and might need to take the hunter safety course with me so we can feed the family come deer hunting season in the fall!
So, as you can see, we have been having fun, and ministering to others, with often the two activities going together. Ultimately, the best balance is to seek to live for Christ in everything we do, for then we can't fail: life will be purposeful, God will be glorified, and death with be something "far better," because we are entering into a fuller relationship with our Savior who loves us. I pray that our family, and those we minister to here in Emo will be able to say with the Apostle Paul, "To live is Christ, to die is gain."