PEI… the real deal!

 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.

West Coast

photoWe 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.


photoOn 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!


photoFrom 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

photoI 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.

Being “on-purpose”

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…

A Continental Singer

Although I’d spent 2 years volunteering in Belgium, it was as a Continental Singer that I discovered a broader French-speaking Europe.

Behind the Audition

It was admittedly with a pang or two of nostalgia that I auditioned with the Continental Singers back in the mid 1990’s. I had lived in Europe for two years and had even seen the French Continentals come through the city of Liège, where I’d lived. This would be a chance to combine something I loved with something I missed… singing and Europe. I auditioned here in North America but had my information packed forwarded to the European office in Rotterdam, Holland.

On Tour

Europe_french-speaking-feathered_smIt was in July of the following year that I arrived, backpack and suitcase in hand for my first rehearsal camp in Dronten (Netherlands). We spent roughly two weeks learning the music and choreography before hitting the road for 3-4 weeks of touring through Belgium, France and Switzerland. Each night we sang in a different concert venue; mostly churches, but we had a couple of theatres and outdoor venues as well.

What I had experienced in Belgium, over the initial two years, was reinforced time and time again. People very much appreciated hearing the Gospel sung in their own language as opposed to being sung in English and understood either through translation before or after each song, or via overhead transparency as the song was sung (yes… you read that right. Those were the days of overhead transparencies)While there were of course some local and national French-language musicians, the Christian music industry was very small in comparison to that of North America, so people enjoyed having the Continentals come through. (It was during this first tour that I met my wife Liz, an Italian who had been born and raised in Belgium, we would marry two years later.)

Touring again & again…

The following year I returned as Assistant Director for the French Tour. Another rehearsal camp in Holland, another repertoire and another pass through French-speaking Europe, but this time with a bit more responsibility.  Two years after that (1 year after Liz and I married), I returned for a third tour but this time as Tour Director.

With a total of three tours under my belt I had become both comfortable with Europe in general and very familiar with some areas in particular. There were several churches that had us back each year, so there were times when it was like coming back to visit friends.


It’s been incredible also, to maintain contact with and watch from a distance as some of the people that I toured with have grown in their faith and ministry; serving in their local churches and being examples to us in various ways. We look forward to being closer to some of these and sharing what the Lord has done in our life since those days.


I’m reminded again, as I think back over these experiences, how God’s hand has been preparing us for not just months, but years!  When the perfect will of God begins to fall into place in your life, you will look back and see a string of experiences which, at the time, may have seemed unrelated, but in hind-sight… blow your mind!  If you’re currently in-the-process and not totally sure of where things are headed… be patient. Let God direct your steps now and you will see later where they lead!

Once again, French ministry and French-speaking Europe is not new to us… in one sense, it will be a bit like going home (almost literally for Liz), and we can’t wait to be there!

Thank you for your prayers and your support!
See you Saturday!