Saturday, July 5, 2008

Debuting the Dueck 4 and the new Dueck Domicile

A month is a simple time span of just thirty days. Yet amazing things can happen in 30 days. Take for example the formation of a dance group. Normally, it takes years of training, hard work, dedication, and perseverance, for a group to achieve any kind of recognition for their efforts. Yet here in little old Emo, there is a contest called the DYS (Donald Young School) Idol competition, which gives new groups and kids as young as five a chance to show their stuff in the area of dance, singing, and instrumental, and be stars for a night.

Enter the Dueck 4. Granted they aren't exactly a new group (having been around since the birth of Stephen 5 1/2 years ago) yet they have never danced in competition before. That is right, these four children of an ex-Mennonite Pastor actually danced in public, with their Dad having helped them with most of the choreography! The school set up an amazing event, with a preliminary round (where the kids submitted their songs to see if they were accepted), a semifinal round before three judges (three groups/individuals from each of the four categories were selected), and finals done before family and friends after the school's family BBQ.

The kids wanted to enter the competition so we all together worked on doing a dance to the song "We are Family" (which we found out later was a classic song - who knew?). We practiced for about a month and were very excited to here we made it to the finals. The gym was full of people, including my parents, who had no clue what they were about to see. Backstage the kids were all excited and waiting with hair all spiked and eager smiles on their faces. Then it was their turn, and God really blessed them and others as the Dueck 4 went on stage and gave this amazing demonstration of what a family can do when it works together.

(Please click the link to see the intro and their 3 minute dance - you won't be disappointed! And really watch Stephen in the bottom left corner - he just went crazy!)

As you heard, the crowd really got into it, and the kids actually received the biggest cheers of the night. All groups were judged in 8 different categories by two judges, and were all called on stage to hear their results. And when it was over, amazingly our kids had won their category (Group dance) outright, and were also voted crowd favorites for the entire competition! As parents, it was very encouraging to see our kids work together and have fun doing it (there were some tears and hard times in practise though!), and I think the many different ages working together was the reason they won crowd favorite. And because this is Emo, the Fort Francis Times newspaper featured an article on the competition, and our kids got their names and pictures in the paper!

A proud Dad with the Dueck 4!

While that was the highlight of the weekend, other exciting events happened as well. Lorianne was inspired by a friend who did a speech on World Vision to do a fundraiser for people overseas. So, together with a group of her friends she put feet to her desire to make a difference at Donald Young and elsewhere by planning a bake sale on the same night as the school BBQ and DYS Idol competition. The girls raised over $160 for World Vision and Doctors without Borders.

My Dad and I also had the chance to do our 8th Annual Father's Day present to ourselves and went fishing! On Saturday we got a lift in this boat up Clearwater Lake and over this crazy rail system that portages two lakes (run on rails, powered by an old Ford motor and costs $25!) and spent the day on Slendor, Pipestone and Campbell lakes. The scenery was breathtaking, the water crystal clear, but we only caught one 10" bass! We did manage our to turn that into a beautiful shore lunch though, and just enjoyed being together. With Dad having had cancer surgery twice, I think we both treasure these times even more as we realize they won't go on forever. And I am getting better at enjoying them even if I don't catch fish!

To make up for Saturday God blessed us on Monday as we went with a friend from church who is a guide. He took us to a lake 30 minutes from our door and proceeded to show us how to really catch fish - walleye, northern, and bass! We caught fish everywhere we stopped, and enjoyed some of the 25 we caught while eating a professionally prepared shore lunch, and even had enough to fill our walleye limits. It was the first time in all the years that I have taken Dad fishing that we actually accomplished that feat!

One other part of the weekend was for Mom and Dad to look at a house that we believed God led us to buy. They confirmed what we thought - the house is an amazing deal, beautifully maintained and a huge gift from God. The story behind it is amazing, and while I could fill a whole entry with just that, I will just include what I shared with our church this past Sunday.

Many of you may of heard that our family bought a house this past week – before I tell you the details, bit of history. When we talked with the search committee back in September we told them wanted to move out to country – have animals, need space, 4 kids, etc. In October I came and spoke to the church I found out most people live outside of Emo, so our desire for an acreage was pretty normal. We are however, very grateful that we lived in the parsonage to start– living in town has been amazing - close to everything, met people, get used to small town life, etc.

When we got here, I asked everyone what their house cost, where it was, etc. and then my family told me to cool it, that we are not moving for 6 months – mid August. People also said it would be very hard to find a house within 5 miles of Emo.

Well we found out through our friends Steve and Liane about 2 months ago about a family that was looking to move–they needed to find a house in Fort Francis, started praying for them that they would find one!

God worked out all the details so that we could purchase Terry & Dorothy Quibell’s place this past week. We are getting 140 acres of beautiful bush and forest, and a much larger house than we ever thought we would, at the very reasonable. Our new place is only 2 miles from town, a 3 minute car ride or a 45 minute walk. And we will probably be moving in mid-August, exactly 6 months after we arrived here in Emo.

Now some of you may wonder or be concerned once you see this beautiful place at how a pastor can afford a house of that kind. You might be thinking "Are we paying him too much?" or "Maybe we need to pay him more so he can afford this place!" Well, God in fact has been working it out for years to allow us to afford to purchase it– owned a house for 10 years in Winnipeg, doubled in value, and when we were still short thousands I picked up the phone to my generous parents who gave us a substantial gift towards our down payment.

God has been very gracious to us, much more than we deserve. And we are blessed to be a blessing. As this whole house buying process was going through, I read the following verses:

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Psalm 67:1-3

This house is not just for us, it needs to be for God’s glory – so that people will know him. The house has room to host lots of people, youth group, small group, etc. There are two separate rooms that can probably hold 30 people each! And we like parties – will have lots.

Thank you for praying for us

Our friends at church have been very excited for us, and they can totally see God's hand in this. We are again humbled and amazed at what He has done for us his children. We don't deserve it, but we are so very thankful! Thank you for praying for us, and we look forward to seeing what God has in store for us next!

The soon to be new home of the Dueck 6!