Restoring Life Through Creativity

Westview ARTS Academy was founded in 2016 with the help of a CBWC Opportunity Grant. One year later, founder and Director Elaine Hileman wrote this article to share the story of how the ARTS Academy ministry has been going.


Susan arrived in Calgary a few years ago with her two children after fleeing a harrowing case of domestic violence. Alone, broken, and tired, she wondered how to even begin to rebuild their shattered lives. With no biological family to turn to, she turned to her newly found spiritual family, the Christian church, for hope and comfort.

Initially, the church was supportive, but before long they judged the challenges of single-parenting and the trauma her children were experiencing from domestic violence. Some church members, misguided but well-intentioned, suggested that Susan give up her oldest child for adoption. They knew of a couple in the church who were eager for another child, and whom the church members felt would be more capable parents than Susan.

This unexpected betrayal from the very people she looked to for guidance, support and encouragement left Susan reeling. Disillusioned, angry and confused, she quietly shut herself and her children away for nearly six months. She was lonely, discouraged and distrustful of the church.

After some gentle nudging from a friend, she decided to give God’s family another try. When she hesitantly walked through the doors of Westview Baptist Church, she had no idea how God was planning to creatively put her life back together.

Part of a mosaic-mural being pieced together by families of victims of drug related killings in the Philippines. Photo by Vincent Go

 

Around the same time, God was working in my life by nudging me to start an arts academy at Westview Baptist Church. Inspired by years of working in ministry, education and the arts, I proposed starting a professional, affordable and Christ-centred arts academy at Westview. Church leadership immediately supported my vision and encouraged me to apply for an opportunity grant from CBWC. I did, and after receiving a generous start-up grant, founded the Westview ARTS Academy.

Last fall, our professional instructors began teaching art, dance, drama, and music classes to over one hundred students, from 3-year olds to adults. The Academy runs classes in painting, sculpture, ballet, choreography, banjo, guitar, voice, theatre and more.

People are generally excited by the ARTS Academy, but I think some are confused at why it’s a ministry of our church. I however, often wonder why arts academies aren’t a natural part of every church. Being created in the image of God is a mysterious thing, and one thing it means is that we can’t help but be creative. It is part of our nature. And creativity isn’t just exercised in traditional arts, but in all aspects of life. Our goal with the ARTS Academy is to give people permission to explore and grow their God-given nature. As Eric Liddell famously said in Chariots of Fire, “When I run, I feel His pleasure.” I echo it by saying, “When I paint, I feel God’s pleasure.”

 

Susan heard our vision for the ARTS Academy at a Sunday service and introduced herself to me, offering to volunteer.

“I was drawn to the ARTS Academy because I think that there’s truth in the statement, ‘Once an artist, always an artist.’ However, it was a part of my past that remained buried underneath some unpleasant memories,” she said.

“I was resistant initially, despite feeling drawn. But once I met Elaine and she shared her vision for the academy, I felt compelled to be a part of it. I knew that this was a step on the path of healing and restoration the Lord was walking me through.”

When I first met Susan I didn’t know she was a single mom, let alone one who had been through so much trauma. I also didn’t know how much talent accompanied her offer to volunteer. Later, I learned that the very hand she painted so beautifully with had once been broken by her ex-husband in a fit of jealousy and in an attempt to keep her from ever creating again. I felt such awe at God’s work in restoring that part of Susan’s life as well as everything else He was doing to bring her physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.

“In my life, before Christ began to set me free, the heaviness I was carrying didn’t allow room for creativity. When you are in survival mode, some things just go. They are not essential,” Susan said. “In my marriage, I felt that life was draining from me. Creativity, random emotions, fun, humour, the ability to laugh… all these things fell to the wayside. It wasn’t a fast thing, or all at once, but as the years passed away, so did ‘life’. So did hope. At times, there seemed to barely be enough room for breathing, let alone creating! It sounds dramatic, but this is the truth. I did not begin to re-surface from the depths of this until I made a confession of faith in Christ. Overnight, even though nothing in my outward life had changed, the breath of life came to me and hope was born in me. I struggled against this foreign feeling of hope, but ultimately, it remains, and, as we remain in Him, our life is slowly restored. Creativity is Him. He is the Creator. His creative expression brought this earth to life and all that is in it. It went from darkness and chaos to beauty and life—and life in abundance! ‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was unformed and void, darkness was on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God hovered over the surface of the water… and so it goes. God speaks and it happens. God forms, and it becomes. God breathes, and human life becomes. We are made in His image, in His likeness, and so we too, can create, form, mold, shape, become… and we can use these gifts to bring light, beauty and truth to the world around us, and bring glory to Him, pointing to Him, the One who created all things.”

Trinity Dancers from Light of the World, an original Christmas production by Westview ARTS Academy students and instructors.

 

Beyond restoring our individual creativity, I believe God also wants to restore the church’s united creativity for His glory and to be a light to a lost world. Currently, the church only embraces a fraction of the arts, and funds even less.

The goal of Westview ARTS Academy is not to create “Christian art,” but to create artists who communicate God’s truth, beauty and love. Christian art is often segregated art. It is art for Christians; art meant to entertain believers, or art that is considered safe. Art created by Spirit-filled believers will challenge unbiblical worldviews and make people reflect on life, rather than giving them clichés.

This is a long-term investment in Christian discipleship and artistic training and it requires engaging professional artists who will impart their Christian worldview and technical skills to our students, but it is an investment we are excited to be making.


Elaine Hileman is the Director of Westview ARTS Academy. To find out more about Westview ARTS, visit their website: www.westviewartsacademy.ca

This article was published in Volume 13, Issue 8 of Making Connections. Subscribe to the Making Connections monthly newsletter here

Opportunity Grants Awarded

The CBWC has awarded $55,000 in Opportunity Grants in 2017. Opportunity Grants fund innovative ministries that churches and partner ministries would otherwise be unable to afford. The following grants were awarded:

Centre for Healthy Aging Transitions, Vancouver, BC — $10,000 for Re-Engaging Retired Pastors, phase 2. Many pastors have experienced loss of connection from the churches and organizations that they served faithfully for many years, some with poor salaries and minimal retirement packages. These retired pastors have a wealth of experience in spiritual care and counseling, and have stories that can enrich the lives of others. There is little clergy care offered to retired pastors, but they could be mobilized to help one another: older adults helping their peers live well. CHAT is developing an online network to facilitate this connection, provide training, and gather at symposiums.

Hillside Church, North Vancouver, BC — $13,200 for North Shore School of Mission. Hillside Church is establishing a ministry internship program for their 20-somethings. The program includes church-based service, college-credit theological education, and short term missions. With Columbia Bible College as a partner, students will be able to earn undergraduate credits during the 12-month intensive. The CBWC grant will be used to renovate a classroom space. Operating budget funding has been provided by Hillside Church, other supporting organizations, subsidized tuition from Columbia Bible College, and tuition paid by participants. Stay in touch with the school or find out more details here: https://www.schoolofmission.org/

Gull Lake Baptist Camp, Lacombe, AB — $25,800 for a new multipurpose recreational space. A new flat surface space with surrounding boards, bleachers and a storage shack will expand the activities possible at the Gull Lake Centre. The camp has many fun activities, but almost all of them require trained staff (climbing, boating, canoeing, archery, etc.) A playing surface can be used as a skating rink in the winter, and infinite possibilities in the summer. Construction is starting this fall to be ready for winter rentals.

Broadway First Baptist, Winnipeg, MB — $6,000 for Tapestry: Healing Retreat for African Immigrants. Broadway First Baptist is providing a free weekend retreat each fall for women who are recent immigrants to Winnipeg, especially those connected to the Shalom Church in Winnipeg, while building relationships with the women of Broadway-First. Because there are tribal struggles that come from African into Canada, time spent getting to know each other and learning to tell one’s story is so vital. The first retreat was held in 2016. This opportunity grant will fund 2017 and 2018 retreats.

Since Opportunity Grants began in the early 1990’s, more than $4 million has been provided to support the ministries of CBWC churches and their partner ministries.

In this round of funding, Opportunity Grants received four requests for a total of $121,200. All requests were granted, but one was for a lesser amount than requested. Opportunity Grants are awarded annually; the next deadline for applications is April 30, 2018. To get an application form, visit the grants and loans section on the church life resources page: http://cbwc.ca/resources/church-health/

This article was published in Volume 13, Issue 8 of Making Connections. Subscribe to the Making Connections monthly newsletter here

Banff Pastors Conference is coming up!

Our annual pastors’ and spouses retreat is coming up again. Held in beautiful Banff, the conference is a time for pastors and their spouses to rest and charge up. The theme is life on the vine. Our time together will be restorative and focused on reconnecting with Christ, our source of resurrection and joy. Guest speakers and worship leaders will bring encouragement and inspiration, and the splendid Rocky Mountains will ensconce us in the presence of God.

The conference begins with dinner on Monday night and finishes on Thursday, November 9th. Stay a couple of extra days, and you’ll still have plenty of time to be home for Sunday! Early bird registration is open until September 10. Last chance to register is October 22. Visit our website to register and find more details: http://cbwc.ca/events/. Download the registration brochure here: http://cbwc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Brochure_Banff2017_web.pdf

David Fitch will be leading us in a reflection on faithful presence. David is a strategist for missional church and the planting of missional churches in Western culture. David Fitch teaches evangelical theology and directs the Theology and Mission Masters & Doctoral programs at Northern Seminary in Chicago. He is an ordained pastor with the Christian and Missionary Alliance and currently co-pastors with three other pastors in Westmont, Illinois. He writes regularly on culture, politics, political theory, ethics, ecclesiology and mission.


Rob Parker will lead us in practices of life on the vine through Bible studies and prayer times. Rob is the founding director of the National House of Prayer based in Ottawa. NHOP was established in 2005 with the mandate originating from 1Timothy 2: 1-3. Rob’s desire is to mobilize informed, focused and sustained prayer for Canada and its leaders. Rob is gifted in preaching and teaching, and has a pastor’s heart for God’s people.

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour.

– 1 Timothy 2:1-3

This article was published in Volume 13, Issue 8 of Making Connections. Subscribe to the Making Connections monthly newsletter here

Update from a Century II Donor recipient

 

Century II is a fundraising program for church capital projects. It was started in 1980 by a men’s group, and has been raising money for much needed upgrades ever since. Four times a year, a particular CBWC church is chosen and a fundraising campaign is distributed to donors who have pledged regular support to Century II initiatives. This summer a camp was selected for the first time. Gull Lake Centre in Lacombe, Alberta is in need of upgrades, and received some of what they need through generous donations of Century II supporters.

Earlier this year, First Baptist Church in Ponoka, Alberta made an appeal to expand their sanctuary. The existing sanctuary seats about 260 people, but it’s too small to house their church family. While they offer audio and video links in the gym, it is not a long-term solution. “We miss being with each other. Our desire is to have all worshiping together.”

 

CBWC donors responded, and the crew has been busily working all summer. We received a progress report from someone on the construction team recently, with photos and thank you’s. Have a look at where they’re at! (Note the prayers included in the construction materials.)

The new multi-purpose sanctuary will seat up to 450 people, allowing the congregation to worship together. It will also provide additional ministry space throughout the week. The first service in the new sanctuary will be held September 10th. Visit and celebrate with them if you’re nearby!

This article was published in Volume 13, Issue 8 of Making Connections. Subscribe to the Making Connections monthly newsletter here

News & Notes Vol 13 No. 20

An Invitation to the Health of the Church

Dear friends,
The Gathering 2017 is happening in one week’s time. We will celebrate our heritage, our present, and our future as Canadian Baptists. Gary Nelson from Tyndale will speak to us on leading in disorienting times. Our own Sam Breakey will encourage us to look to the health and renewal of our churches. We will engage in conversation and voting in areas of our shared ministry including human rights, education, and ministerial protocols. Shaila Visser, director of Alpha Canada, will share an exciting vision of evangelism across Canada. Gifted performer, Deanna Storfie, will weave our imaginations in a story of William Carey. We will welcome our new Executive Minister and new BCY Regional Minister. All this we will do together in prayer and fellowship from May 25-27.

A couple of weeks ago our first Potential Impact event happened.  Shannon Youell writes about it: Potential Impact found more than twenty young adults from Alberta, BC & Saskatchewan, gathered at Gull Lake Camp to challenge the next generation to focus on spiritual direction, an openness to ministry potential, and general calling and leadership in their life. Facilitated by CBWC ministry leaders and pastors, the conference metaphor quickly formed around the charging rhinoceros, who can see only twenty feet in front of itself yet knows that to see the next twenty feet requires stepping into the unseen-ness of the future. Participants commented that, though they “don’t know the exact details of (my) direction, I do know that what I am to do is make the most of where I am.”  Others commented that they had finally accepted the calling that they knew God had been asking of them for a long time.  For others it was confirmation that they were moving in the right direction.
The call to ‘join God where he is at work’, no matter where life leads was dominant in both the presentations and in the small group coaching and peer sessions where participants could wrestle with the presented material and “engage in the topics of identity and call”, with speakers and coaches who “were awesome, encouraging, helpful and practical.”
As a session presenter and coach, I was deeply affected by the passion and honest wrestling of these young adults to hear God and pursue the ‘ministry of reconciliation’ wherever and however that may look.

I would like to close with this. Many have experienced loss over the last year. Several have been mentioned in these newsletters with the recent additions of Tim Kerber and Nora Walker whose fathers have passed in the last 2 weeks. My dad Roy Bell passed away at noon on Thursday amidst family, prayers, tears and some light moments too. He struggled in these last days, but was peaceful in the end, as we his family are as well. My mum is well embraced by her strong faith and a very diverse and supportive family. Roy served at Westlane Baptist (Moncton), Atlantic Baptist College/Crandall, Strathcona Baptist (Edmonton), First Baptist (Calgary and Vancouver).  He also was principal of Carey Theological College and in that role taught at Regent College.  My dad loved this family of churches and more clearly loved Christ’s body, the church. The service is on May 28th at 3pm at First Baptist Church, Vancouver. On a more personal note I have been very touched by the kind notes of support. It has been a great encouragement.

Warmly,
In Christ,
Jeremy
 

Roy Bell

Roy Bell, former Pastor at Strathcona Baptist Church (Edmonton, AB), First Baptist Church Calgary, AB and First Baptist Vancouver, BC, and former Principal of Carey Theological College, passed away Thursday May 11th, 2017 in Duncan, BC, 2 days after his wife Elizabeth and he marked their 65th wedding anniversary. More to follow.

News & Notes Vol 13 No. 19

From Alpha to OEC

Dear friends,
 
You will hear more about this from Shaila Visser (Head of Alpha Canada) at the Assembly later this month. Over 75,000 people took the Alpha course last year, and over 35,000 people made first time commitments or recommitments to a relationship with Christ. A very exciting year. Click on the image to see a great video about Alpha, and then come to hear more at Assembly.

We engage every year in a wonderful process known as Ordination Examining Council.  This has always been a community event. We have representatives from the three regions, staff, and Board.  This year’s council will be held at Westview Baptist Church, in Calgary, AB, on 24 – 25 May 2017, preceeding our biennial Assembly.  Let me introduce you to the folk on this years council:
 
O.E.C. Chair: Steve Simala Grant
O.E.C. Recording Secretary (non-voting): Doug Johnston 
 
CBWC Executive Staff (non-voting members)
Jeremy Bell, Executive Minister (voting)
Dennis Stone, Alberta Regional Minister
Mark Doerksen, Heartland Regional Minister
Rob Ogilvie, BCY Regional Minister
Faye Reynolds, CBWC Director of Ministries
 
CBWC Table Officers (voting members)
Laura Nelson, President
Kayely Rich, VP Planning
Tim Kerber, VP Personnel
Michael Hayes, VP Finance
 
Elected or Appointed Regional Representatives (voting members)
Alberta Regional Representatives:
Greg Butt
Connie Shalagan
Brent Watts
Shelley Utz
BC/Yukon Regional Representatives:
Jodi Spargur
Larry Schram
Moreen Sharp
Gerry Davison
Heartland Regional Representatives:
Paul Matheson
Debra Cwir
Mike Engbers
Francine Vandergucht
 
Mentored Ministry Coordinator (non-voting)
Axel Schoeber, Carey Theological College
 
And let me introduce you to the candidates who are presenting themselves before the Council this year:

Eric Brooks, Edmonton, AB
Darlene Edwards, Sherwood Park, AB
Nathan Friedt, Peace River, BC
Rob Klingbeil, Lacombe, AB
Doug Liao, Surrey, BC
Kayley Sanders, Peace River, BC
Mervin Tippe, Regina, SK
Andrea Tisher, Vancouver, BC
 
The task of the OEC is not to rubber stamp what has been decided by a local church or a regional interview committee, but it is to sincerely discern and enquire of the candidate in an ongoing process.
Finally, let me draw your attention to a simple explanation of ordination and its process; this piece has been worked on over the years by Wayne Larson, Steve Simala Grant, and Laura Nelson in their roles as Chair of the Council.
Ordination and its Processes
 
One of the most serious aspects of our life together as Baptists in Western Canada is the examination of Candidates for ordination to the gospel ministry. Under Baptist polity, and in keeping with our understanding of the nature of the church, the ordination of a Candidate is the prerogative of the local church, while the official recognition of the Candidate is the prerogative of Canadian Baptist. 
 
From the local church the call for ordination is issued; to the local church the recommendations of the Examining Council are returned; on those recommendations the local church acts. The church convenes the Service of Ordination and on its behalf those who have been previously ordained to the gospel ministry join with members of the local church to lay on hands, with prayer, for the plenitude of the Spirit and His gifts in thus setting apart a man or a woman to a life of ministry in the church.  
 
But, although ordination is at the request, under the auspices, and by the authority of the local church, it is the custom in Baptist churches to request the fellowship of sister churches in this solemn act. To this end, sister churches are invited to send representatives to an Examining Council. Previously ordained ministers take part in the ordination service; and the Regional Minister normally conducts the service so that all may see that the universal church has a share in the solemn act of a local church.
 
In Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, by mutual agreement of the churches and areas, and at their request, the denomination convenes a central Examining Council each year. This council is composed of representatives elected by the Regional Executives or Advisory Groups, the elected officers of Assembly (President and Vice-Presidents), up to two representatives from a Candidate’s local church, the Executive Minister and the staff ministers (Regional Ministers and the Director of the Graduate Internship Program) who are non-voting members of the Council.  
 
The Co-Chairs and Secretary of the Council are appointed by the Credentials Committee of Canadian Baptists of Western Canada. The Co-Chairs are responsible to ensure that questions are clear, that the Candidate is not harassed, that communication between both Council and Candidate is open, and that the business is conducted in an impartial and orderly manner.
 
Candidates are invited to the Ordination Examining Council at the request of the local church on the recommendation of the area in which the Candidate serves and by the approval of the Ministerial Credentials Committee when they have satisfied all requirements of the Ministerial Ordination Standards and Procedures (MOS&P). 
 
Warmly,
In Christ,
Jeremy Bell

News & Notes Vol 13 No. 18

New Ways of Listening To God and Each Other

Dear friends,

There was so much to choose from in our life and ministry together this week, that I was challenged to limit it to these 2 wonderful experiences before us.
 
The first is Potential Impact, which we have spoken of before. Several dozen youth have followed the pattern described below. We are very excited about what God will be doing in their lives.
 
POTENTIAL IMPACT: CALLING THE NEXT GENERATION OF CHRISTIAN LEADERS

Every generation needs to encounter Jesus, rise up and put faith into action. That action might be as a waitress, a carpenter, a pastor, a children’s church leader, a board member, a musician, a youth leader, and the list could go on and on. I Corinthians 10:31 states, “…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
 
We come to an age where bigger questions are being asked about our place in the world and the plan God might have for our lives. Every believer faces these challenges, but no one stares them in the face as much as those us of between grade 11 and age 24. This retreat is intentionally wired for those who are taking these questions seriously.
Potential Impact is not about someone telling people what they should do. Potential Impact will be asking questions: “What is God calling you to do?” “How do we help you prepare for that challenge?”
You will be joined by peers and coaches who are committed to helping you explore your future – your “potential impact.” They will help you hear and clarify the call of Jesus in your life.
Join us from Thursday evening April 27th, 2017, at Gull Lake Centre until Sunday, April 30, at noon. Early bird cost is $160, regular registration $175.
 
This retreat is the first of its kind among the churches of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada. If you are a church leader, determine who among your church will profit from this experience and do everything in your power to see they come. If you are a dedicated young person, now is the time to seek God and say, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”
 
 
Secondly, the New Ministers Orientation is of critical importance to building relationship, collegiality, cross-resourcing and a sense of family beyond our backgrounds, geography, and the many miles we travel in Western Canada. These are the folks who are attending this year.
 
Eric Brooks, Strathcona Baptist, Edmonton, AB
Troy Dennis (Chaplain, Canadian Forces), Shiloh, Edmonton, AB
Aaron Hansen, FBC Cranbrook, BC
Brian Louw, White Rock Baptist, BC
Kevin Corbett, Hope Farm (Mustard Seed), Duncan, BC
Hannah Juras, Southwest Community Baptist, Kamloops, BC
Ella Cho, West Point Grey Baptist, Vancouver, BC
Alisa Powers, Moosomin Baptist, SK
Kevin Dyck, Moosomin Baptist, SK
Troy Taylor, FBC Lethbridge, AB
Norm Derkson, FBC Calgary, AB
Nixon Solomon, Sonrise Community Baptist, Calgary, AB
Heather Hiebert, Community Baptist, Cold Lake, AB
Terry Coe, FBC Dawson Creek, AB
Samuel Kim, Bonavista Baptist, Calgary, AB
Lee Young, Summerland Baptist, BC
Everett Budd, FBC Peace River, AB
Gabriel Alalade, Northmount Baptist, Calgary, AB
Anna Braun (Chaplain), FBC Lethbridge, AB 
Ryan Friesen, Keats Camps, Keats Island, BC
Isaac Godwin, Kitsilano Christian Community, Vancouver, BC
Jerry Wang, CBWC Staff, Calgary, AB
 
Please be in prayer for these events as they have unfolded, and I will update you with news of God’s faithfulness in them and around us.

Warmly,
In Christ,
Jeremy

Kinbrace receives funding for refugee support work

“The voice of the asylum seeker … is a voice that’s difficult to hear at times. The asylum seeker’s voice … gets lost in the noise of politicians who shamelessly conflate asylum seekers with risk and terrorism … [and gets] crowded out by our own instinctual fear of the ‘other’.”

— Loren Balisky, executive director of Kinbrace Community Society

Last week Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson awarded $181,220 to five refugee support services, including $5,000 for CBWC-affiliated Kinbrace Community Society. 

The money comes as Canada experiences an increase in refugee claimants. British Columbia and Manitoba have both had over 400 refugee claimants in the first three months of 2017 alone, and Alberta has received over 300. 

Mayor Robertson spoke out in favour of refugee claimants during the funding announcement, something no other Canadian mayor has yet done.

Immigrant Services Society of BC received $70,220 towards their work in facilitating the myriad logistics of asylum claims. They are heavily relied on by refugees, government and other support agencies to connect refugees with services, housing, work, training and support. The funding is welcome, ISSofBC says, as they work to meet “unprecedented service demands.” 

Kinbrace provides transitional housing for 30-40 refugees annually while the refugees wait for their claim to be processed.  Kinbrace has a community living model where refugee families and several Kinbrace staff and their families share their lives in the same houses.  Kinbrace staff embrace refugees in a community that walks alongside them during the complex and arduous refugee claims process.  In addition to providing shelter, Kinbrace provides other essential supports like its very practical READY tours that orient refugees to the refugee claims system and for its advocacy on behalf of refugees.

Kinbrace is one of many community-based ministries associated with Grandview Calvary Baptist Church on the east side of Vancouver.  To learn more about Kinbrace and its work with refugees, go to www.kinbrace.ca or contact Loren at loren@kinbrace.ca.

With files from ISSofBC

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The French Connection

 

CBWC member Kim Louise Clark has published a collection of devotionals, called The French Collection. The book follows a walk through Paris and parallels the deeper journey of faith. 

Here’s a teaser excerpt from the first chapter. The French Connection can be purchased on Amazon, online at Chapters Indigo and at a few select bookstores in Alberta. A portion of the sale proceeds are being generously donated to the CBWC. Thanks Kim!

My mom used to say that a vacation that started off badly would be a great trip. I never took this seriously, and certainly never purposefully attempted to do something foolish before a trip if nothing bad had yet happened. I also do not remember her saying this after she became a Christian, and not surprisingly, I can’t find any Scripture to substantiate this idea.

It was a few days before I flew to Paris, and my feet were resting comfortably in bubbly, silky warm waters: I had finally used my gift certificate for a pedicure. From the wide selection of colours, I chose a deep pink called ‘Bijou’, which is French for ‘jewel’. My silky smooth feet would soon be strolling around the exotic streets of Paris.

With a sense of enchantment, I stepped back out into the shopping mall but the feeling of specialness quickly began to fade as the tinges of a migraine that had been lurking around the back of my head grew painfully obvious.

I took meds but they proved ineffective and, as I passed a few stores, every movement emphasized the headache’s onset. I began to feel extremely ill. While I made my way over to one of the comfortable chairs clustered throughout the mall, I dug out my cell phone to tell my husband that I didn’t think I could drive home.

How life’s situations can change so quickly. One moment I’m a lady exiting an expensive salon; the next, I’m a crumpled heap in a chair, vomiting into a bag.

I can’t go to Paris. How am I going to manage on my own for six days, when I can’t even get home by myself from the mall? …

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