We hadn’t been to PEI since, perhaps, 2006… and our kids had never been there, so when the opportunity arose to present our burden for France and explain our AIM term to churches there, we were looking forward to going.
We began our time there with two quiet days on the Island’s west coast, near Tignish. Our “home away from home” was within sight of the wind turbines at North Cape (seen at right… early morning and late afternoon). The car was parked late Thursday night upon arrival and didn’t move until early Sunday morning when it came time for church.
In the interim, we enjoyed nearly deserted beaches (most vacationers head to the Cavendish area), kayaks, sand and roasting hot dogs & marshmellows.
It is here that the current PEI Tourism slogan “The Gentle Island” makes perfect sense.
On Sunday morning, our day began quite early. Service with Pastor & Mrs. Donald & Dana Hood would not begin until 11:00am, however, given the near two-hour drive to get there and our desire to spend a bit of time together… we left our cabin at 7:00am.
Our schedule for the day would require us to leave Charlottetown immediately following the morning service so we opted for breakfast together rather than dinner. I wanted to glean from Bro. Hood’s experience as pastor of a growing church. Nearly all of my personal experience is with established churches, but when we get to France, we will be in another setting and I’ll need to be able to draw on more experience than just my own.
I’ve admired the Hoods, from a distance, for some time. I greatly appreciate his quiet and prayerful spirit. Together, they are doing a great work in the provincial capital.
Thank you, Bro. & Sis. Hood, for having us! We loved being with you!
From Charlottetown, we drove 45-min back to Summerside where we would have service that evening with Pastor & Mrs Troy & Jenette Wickett. Liz & the kids would stay here for the afternoon while Pastor Troy Wickett and myself headed up to Alberton (nearly all the way back to where we stayed for the first two days) for an afternoon service there – Bro. Wickett oversees both churches.
It was a treat for me to get to visit this church as I’d heard much about it from Pastor & Mrs. Gordon (Gordie) Lewis who, after pastoring there for some 30 years, retired in Saint John and attended our church. It was neat to see where they’d invested so much of their life and ministry.
We had a wonderful service and we felt the presence of God in a very real way. There were not a lot of young people there that particular day, but I was struck by the fact that they were all at the altar and were all very engaged there. Great to see!
Back to Summerside
I had left my car in Summerside and Pastor Wickett & I traveled to Alberton together. I was glad for the chance to connect with him and, again, glean from his experience. During the 45-min drive back to Summerside I asked him about some of the things that had proven to be important in growing a church in his experience.
(perhaps one of these days I’ll do a post on some of these “gleanings”… but for now I’m still mulling them over myself)
By the time we arrived back in Summerside, pre-service prayer had already begun and we had about 20-min before service time. I honestly felt unsure about which way to go with my message that night, but during one of the songs, “I’ve got a testimony”, it became clear, and so I simply shared on how, with patience and perseverence we can find our purpose and possess the promise of God (that’s a lot of “P’s” I know). In short…
It is only as I look back over my life that certain things make sense and I can see a great deal more of the big picture than I could as I was going through them. God had me on a two-year missions project in Europe, with a very young church, some 24 years ago… but he brought me home to Canada and has spent those last 24 years teaching me a good many things about himself, about people and about ministry in preparation for sending me back there with my family. The purpose of my life is becoming more and more clear, but it is only visible with more hindsight.
If you are reading this today and are unsure of your purpose… let me tell you what I told the church in Summerside on Sunday night. “Be patient. Don’t try to rush the unfolding of God’s plan in your life and serve Him faithfully in the local church. God called Paul and Barnabas while they were already serving in a certain capacity. If you wait for a clear vision of your purpose before you engage… you may miss out on it all together. God will give you experience along the way that will prepare you and open the doors for you to be “on-purpose.”
There. As my late grandmother would say… “That’s my sermon for the day.”
Thank you Bro. Wickett for putting this weekend together along with Bro. Hood.
We loved being with you both on The Gentle Island.
Until next time…