Monday, June 09, 2014

The day of waiting

I have a To Do list app on my phone, and it's great! I can make lists, categorize, prioritize... but none of those little icons or crossed off items seem to do justice that is the hilarity of my day.  For example, yesterday.  The morning started with two things on the agenda: doctor's appointment with a new potential doctor, and read the rest of the day. Oh, if only it were that simple.

I overslept, so had to throw on some clothes and run out the door in the morning in a blazing panic. I managed to get to the office for my meet-and-greet just a few minutes late, and was welcomed by the receptionist and the student doctor, who took my info and gave the the requisition forms I needed for my pre-Africa blood work. We chatted for a few minutes before the senior doctor - the one who would actually be my doctor - was supposed to come in.  We chatted about Africa for a while, then on to him and where he was from... and the process of becoming certified in Canada... and where in Alberta he wanted to settle... and how people back home told him he'd never make it... and how his kids, age 9 and 6 loved to ride their bikes... and all the countries he'd lived in before Canada... and how he likes Alberta  but finds Calgary too big... and what the heck? I mean, he's nice and all, but this was a LOT of chit chat...

Eventually, he kind of looked at the door and told me, "Dr. D should make himself known any minute now... I hope I'm not too boring..." Oooooh, he was trying to fill time. The poor guy!  No, he wasn't boring, but usually if patients have to wait, they are left on their own.  Time passed... and passed... conversation dried up, he went back to his computer to look at the information.  "Anything else that is interesting that you could tell me about your medical history?" Some more awkward conversation...

Where was this Dr dude?

Over an hour later, I decided to leave, as I had other stuff to do that day.  Thankfully, having not actually eaten breakfast on my frantic flap out the door, I was well past the 12 hour fast required fro bloodwork, so I decided to try and go for a walk in and kill two birds with one stone.  The wait wasn't too bad for such a busy lab, and all went off without a hitch.

Oh, except somehow I manage to stab myself in the neck with my mechanical pencil, lodging a piece of lead under my skin.

Yep, I'm talented that way.

After the bloodwork, I hadn't eaten for about 17 hours, and I was RAVENOUS.  I stopped for lunch, lugging my backpack in with me so there was no risk of my laptop being stolen.  I was going to be lazy, but distinctly though, very likely it won't get stolen out of my car, but I'll sure kick myself if it does, just because I was too lazy to bring it in with me.

Um, isn't that what TRUNKS are for? Whatever. I hadn't eaten in 17 hours. I blame the brain fart on that!

I tried not to wolf down my lunch TOO fast, and then headed to school to settle in for an afternoon of solid reading, but when I parked, I realized.... I left my backpack at the lunch place! AURGH!  Back I went, and there it was, happily sitting on the chair where I left it.  I sheepishly grinned at the couple that was keeping my backpack company, grabbed it, and went BACK to school.

My backpack, however, had irritated the little piece of lead that was still in my neck. I tried to get some work done, but my fingers kept finding the irritating little bump, and the heebie-jeebies crept up.  A friend who was also studying that afternoon offered to try to dig it out with a pin I had in my purse (yes, we washed it!), but to no avail.

Approaching the "GET IT OUT! GET IT OUT!!!" stage, I abandoned my post again and went over to the clinic a block away.

"So, what seems to be the trouble today?"

I gave the nurse a good laugh - all in a day's work, right? The doctor came in and poked around, digging most of it out.  The rest will probably come out on its own, she said.  Or, you know, I'll have pencil lead in my neck for the rest of my life. One of those.

It was now about 3pm.  My doctor's appointment was at 9:30. I had such great plans for the day!

The rest of the day carried on without incident, but I had to try and work double time to make up for all the waiting and running around I did.  As I fell into bed around 1:30, my mind was swirling, thinking of all the time I spent just WAITING.  I was begrudging the wasted time, but then realized - it didn't have to be that way. It could have been praying time - time with God, bringing so many things to Him - friends, family, my future students in Kenya, missionaries I know around the world, world events...

I had such great plans for the day, but maybe God's plans for my day were to give me time to pray, and I missed the opportunity.  I'm not getting down on myself, because I know God is a God of grace and second, third, and three million eighty-fifth chances.  It was one day, and it certainly won't be the last time I wait in my life!  But I do certainly realize I have a long way to go in making prayer a reflex activity.

Maybe you're already great at this, but if not, let's you and me both try this: next time we're waiting - for a light, at the doctor's office, for a meeting to start, whatever - let's spend some time praying on behalf of those who need it in our lives, then watch and see what God will do!

Friday, April 18, 2014

So Rich A Crown

This Good Friday, as I am preparing to head back to Kenya, I am reminded of my desert Easter five years ago. This is a post I wrote from Kenya in 2009. 

As a friend warned me before I headed to Kenya, "Africa is the place where even the trees are out to hurt you." Now that I've lived in the North for a while, I'm seeing that he's very right!

The smallest thorns are from trees we like to call "wait a bit" bushes. These are small thorns - less than a quarter inch long - but they come in groups of three. Two are hooked forward and one, slightly further down the branch, is hooked back. If you brush past, it's like the tree grabs you and good luck getting yourself free. Acacia thorns are one to three inches long, white, and very strong. There are some thorn trees that look like a wild, curvy tangle of Dr. Suess-like branches, others are long and needle-like, and still others can be mistaken for small branches at first glance. They are easily four to five inches long and can be as wide as a half an inch at the base.

I think the most interesting thorn trees are the whistling thorns. The bark is yellow-ish and the tree grows crooked - a few feet one direction, then another, then another. It zig-zags to the sky with thorns that have often have a big black bulb at the base. Ants make their nests in the thorns and when the wind blows at just the right angle, the air passing through the thorn makes a whistling sound.

Walking barefoot around Korr is dangerous, especially since most thorns have some type of poison that makes them not just pokey, but makes your skin itchy and irritated at best, or causes boils at worse.

So today, Good Friday, as I read the story of Jesus' trial and crucifixion, the crown of thorns stood out. I could imagine it, and I know what it feels like to have one poke my toe as I walk (it hurts!). But to have these digging and scraping into my head, to feel the blood trickle down my forehead, to be spat upon and mocked, to have every blow push the thorns deeper into my flesh... this I could not even begin to imagine. And the thorns were just the beginning of Jesus' suffering for me. In so many ways, the desert is helping the Bible come alive for me. Today, this is one.

See from his head, his hands his feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did e're such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Monday, April 07, 2014

The hunt for the dress!

I never have been the girl to have binders full of wedding ideas, so when it came time to start shopping for wedding dresses, I was lost.  "What kind of dress are you looking for?" is a question that makes me tongue tied... but let me tell you, this is such a fun process! It's made even MORE fun by shopping with my mom, Kevin's girls, and two of my very best friends.

And let me tell you... there are some reeeeealllly pretty dresses out there! After trying on I don't know HOW many dresses with mom and the girls, I had it narrowed down to thirteen favourites.  I know. Thirteen. But they're all so PRETTY! After the shock of seeing ME in a wedding dress started to wear off, I began thinking, "Heeeey, I could get used to this!"  I think my friend Becca has the right idea when she finds opportunities to wear her dress every now and then!  I keep telling Kevin we need to get married several times so we can use all the venues I checked out and I can wear multiple pretty dresses (cause we SO have the money for that! Bah ha!).

So two of my best friends rose to the challenge this past weekend and helped me narrow my thirteen down to five top contenders, with the help of this template:

My wonderful friends sketched and schemed and snickered and gave me five remarkably accurate (hence "3D Hologram rendering") diagrams and descriptions to help me remember the dresses as I take time to percolate and come to THE dress! How fun!

And those dresses? Yep - they totally make me want to swish like a bell and twirl like a ballerina! Squeeeee! Of course, the REAL reason it's so fun?

Cause it means I get to marry my great love!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

To do lists and tulips

I have downloaded a to-do app on my phone, and it's glorious.  I can make categories (so far I have seven - school, wedding, Africa, internship, fundraising, packing, general)! And prioritize! Add icons! Set dates!

Sometimes it's wonderful, and I can go along my merry way checking things off. Sometimes I just stare at for an hour and then go take a nap.  Or, ya know, watch Netflix.  Yessiree, I pay eight bucks a month for a distraction, but oh, how I need it sometimes.

Turns out, even though all we're doing on the wedding front is booking venues, caterers (maybe), and officiants, there's still a lot to do as I finish up my masters, work, plan a wedding, raise funds for Africa (hey! my Fundraiser/Social is this Saturday in Vancouver - come on out! It'll likely be the last event I have in Van before I head to Kenya. Click here for details.), and do the myriad of little tasks to get ready to go - not to mention packing up my house and hosting wonderful friends and family who will be coming to Calgary to visit me. Seriously. I am SO grateful for my life right now.  My heart is so full of joy for all I have and how much God has given me!  There's just a lot. to. do!

Oh! And.  I'm hoping to find my dress before I go, too. My wedding dress! My. Wedding. Dress. Whaaaaaat????? (I keep telling Kevin, I get these flashes of "Really?! Is this my life?" He just smiles and hugs me close. Happy sigh.)  I've never been the girl to pour over bridal magazines or window shop at dress stores.  I have no idea what I'd like.  But I can't wait to get shopping! Squeee! And I am so excited to get to go with some great Calgary friends, with two, maybe three of my best friends from Vancouver who are coming to visit me in Calgary, and with my mama who's also coming out.  I am blessed indeed!

So in the middle of the crazy, I am so, so happy! And in the middle of the cold (it's a balmy -19 as I write this), I am looking at a vase of tulips.  I saw them at the grocery store - stupid expensive but I don't care! - and decided I needed a little spring on my table.  The make me smile - a little colour, a little pop of that early spring green... the promise of growth and good things to come.

Yes, indeed!

Friday, January 31, 2014

For the glory of God and the joy of the nations

I've often heard about people developing a sort of 'purpose statement' for their lives - something that serves to evaluate and shape their decisions and activities.  Over the last five years, mine has been developing, and - for now, at least - I've settled on "For the glory of God and the joy of the nations." This is what I want to be about. 

For the glory of God...

 Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
               Psalm 96:1-4

God - Father, Son and Spirit - is deserving of all my praise, all my work, all my thanks, all my life.  It is for the sake of his glory that I want to live, making him and his great blessings known among the nations. Basically, I want to make God famous among people who have, through no fault of their own, never had the opportunity to hear!

... and the joy of the nations.

May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
    for you rule the peoples with equity
    and guide the nations of the earth.
               Psalm 67:4
The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
    let the distant shores rejoice.

               Psalm 97:1

There's a reason the gospel is called the good news!  The Kingdom of God is breaking into this world - he is setting all things right.  All those things in the world that we look at with pain - with that deep sense of "it shouldn't be this way" - will one day be no more.  Equity, justice, restoration, and peace are coming, this is certain.  And glimpses of this future and total restoration can be known TODAY!  This is good news indeed for all the peoples of the earth. 

I'm not talking about cramming western culture down the throats of other people in other cultures.  That would do a huge disservice to the beauty of cultural diversity that God himself created!  And this is good news for all nations, for all cultures, for all people. I'm not even interested in forcing or coercing people to listen to the good news of Jesus.  But for people who are looking for good news and have no chance to hear, I want to be there to invite them into God's big story of restoration. 

And so, here I am - for the glory of God and the joy of the nations.

Why am I studying at Ambrose?  To learn how to better understand and best express this good news in a cross cultural context, whether in Kenya or here in Canda.

Why am I going to Kenya? To help share and equip others to share this good news to all nations.

Why am I getting married?  Because together, Kevin and I can support one another in our similar, yet different calls to make Jesus famous in the nations.  I believe we can do more together than we can apart.

Why am I returning to Canada after my year in Kenya to work as a mobilizer? To help encourage, equip, and send others to do proclaim God's glory for the joy of the nations!

 Read John's stunning vision of this new city that is to come from Revelation 21:1-4, 22-27:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away...”

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

One day, there will be a new heaven and a new earth, and all the nations will be there.  But for now, there is work to be done!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Let My Feet Be Beautful

This is the concluding section of my Personal and Corporate Outreach exam.  It's a summay of the Good News about Jesus, and how I see my role in sharing it.

Jesus is the King, and He is putting to right all that is wrong in the world. The pain we see, the injustice, the tears, the destruction – one day He will make all things right. We can find favour – more than that – we can be known intimately and loved deeply and become a cherished son or daughter of the very one who created us. We can be healed of our shared human weakness and join Jesus in his task in bringing God’s wisdom, glory, and new birth to the world.

One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the King. People from every nation, tribe, language and people will gather around His throne and recognize who He really is, and they won’t be able to help but burst out into song. Harmony among all the peoples of the earth, enjoying a brand new creation with no more tears, no more suffering, no more pain.

It’s coming, and we see glimpses of it in our world if we look, but we’re not there yet. There are groups of people who are not yet represented in that great multitude because they haven’t heard of the one who is their King, the one who loves them, the one who wants to heal them and bring them into community with Himself.

How can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone teaching them? And how can anyone teach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

It is because of this that I want to go to Kenya. To the Rendille people, who aren’t yet adequately represented in that great multitude. These beautiful people, created and loved so much by God, don’t yet know their loving King. How can they call on the one they have not heard of? Who will go if not me? I am not special. I am not gifted. I am just willing.

Oh Lord, let my feet be beautiful!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

New Year, New Adventures!

2013 seems like it's full of promise, and I can't wait to see what it will bring! New friends as I continue to settle in to my new city and new church, new lessons as I start out a new term, new things to see and do and try in my first prairie (foothills?) winter... I'm looking forward to it!

2012 was crazy. The first half and the last half could not have been more different.  Terrible descending to awful, and then exciting rising to awesome (with a whole lot of prayer and crying and working things through in between)!  Oy vey!

Classes last term went well, and I learned SO much!  (I also learned that my friends and profs are right - five masters classes is insane!).  I'll have to work out some major themes that came out of the term at some point, but for now: I took Leadership, Interpreting Scripture, Letters of Paul, Into to Theology, and Evangelism and Discipleship.  It was most definitely a full term, but I don't regret it! (My low level anxiety as I look at my classes this term, however, might have something to do with the fact that I  now know what I'm getting myself into! Last term I was just blissfully ignorant!)

On the roster for this term: Intro to New Testament, Cross-Cultural Church Planting, Missions in Global Perspective, Cultural Anthropology, and maybe Expository Preaching.  I really want to take that one, but I have to leave myself time to breathe, work, and keep doing my AIM prepwork and communication, too! EEKS!  We'll see how it goes!  And I want to get back into photography and blogging again! I've so missed my creative outlets... I'm a little rusty in both, but definitely want to dive back in!  Who knows, I might even find some West Coast Swing in all this, too! (er... in all my spare time!)

2013, bring it on!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Rink

They were hidden until the very last minute.  Just as I rounded the corner I was struck with a scene that took my breath away.  A half dozen giant trees, winter bare and snow-covered, were glowing with hundreds of strings of lights, casting out the evening darkness all around the newest skating rink in town.  A foot of snow covered the park, the trees, the lagoon, but one section was cleared away to make a rink.  As I walked down the path, the chill in the air and the scrape of blades on ice welcomed me to my new experience of a true Canadian winter.

No zambonis here! Keeping an eye out for rough patches and taking care not to wobble too much, my skates hit the ice for a beautiful winter evening.  Cold toes soon warmed as I skated round the rink, and when fingers were chilled, some hot cocoa warmed them up before another round on the ice.

A new snowfall and a rising wind signaled the end of the evening.  One more lap around the ice, one more look at the snowy scene around me, and it was time to head home.  A beautiful night, indeed!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Good News/Bad News

Remember those good news/bad news stories? Here's mine:

It was early January, and my last night in Vancouver before heading back to Calgary after the Christmas holiday...

Good News: Went snowshoeing with Trudy on Sunday

Bad News: Now my foot really really hurts

Good News: Yay medical

Bad News: No internet at my brother's apartment where I've been staying the last few days.

Good News: Lots of cafes around, including ones whose wifi still works when they're closed late at night from my car parked outside

Bad news: Thought I'd done everything I needed to do online but realized as I was packing at 2am that I forgot one thing I needed.

Good News: I'll just drive back down the street 8-10 blocks to look it up. [I can tell the truth now - I was TOTALLY DYING to see if I had gotten a reply from Kevin. We hadn't met yet, but had been emailing back and forth for about a week...]

Bad News: Ended up with some emails and other things to deal with so I was there longer than I thought I'd be.

Good news: I had had a coffee later in the eve so wasn't really tired

Bad news: There's no 'your lights are on, dummy' buzzer in the car I'm using, so the battery drained and the car was dead (it went fast!)

Good news: It's the middle of the night, so not a big deal I'm parked in a handicapped spot and can leave it there while I walk back up to the apartment

Bad news: Remember I said my foot really hurts?

Good news: I just had a little bit left to do to pack and clean up so I finished up and called a cab to take me back down to the car and give it a jump. It's now 4:30am.

Bad news: Cabbie charges $20 for a jump so, despite the fact I'd tried it a dozen times already, I decided to try the car one more time

Good news: It STARTS!

Bad news: No sleep for me, off to the airport.

Good news: I'll have lots of time to read/sleep/do homework

Bad news: I realize all those extra hours will have to be paid for in the parking lot.

Good news: There's a Starbucks open nearby so I'll read/work there for a bit

Bad news: That coffee made my stomach really hurt!

Good news: Time to head to the airport, I've still got lots of time

Bad news: In all the chaos, I forgot I had my swiss army knife in my purse, so get called back out of security

Good news: There's a post office downstairs where I can mail it to myself for three bucks

Bad news: I'm getting rather grouchy. I've had no sleep, my foot hurts with every step, I have a case of coffee belly

Good news: No more issues as I go through security a second time.

Bad news: Let's hope there is no more bad news! (except that I made you read this long rambly thing!)

Good news: My very own bed, here I come!

Monday, December 31, 2012

How to Pray

Here are a few ideas about how to pray for me.

  • Please pray for the Rendille people in Korr where we will be working, that God would be continuing to open people's hearts to the good news of Jesus Christ.  Pray, too, for Rendille believers to continue to be called to share the story of Jesus with others.

  • Please pray for Nick and Lynne, Jim and Laura, and other short term volunteers who are currently working in Korr, teaching, building, working on the completion of the Rendille New Testament, and a myriad of other tasks to advance God's blessing in Korr.

  • Please pray for me as I study, that I would have the mental energy to keep on top of a heavy course load and that God would direct the projects I choose to be the most relevant to the situation and work I will encounter in Kenya.  Pray, too, for adequate work and all the little preparatory details that are involved in getting ready to leave for Kenya.

  • Please pray that I would continue to encounter God not just through my studies but in a very real and personal way, and that I would continue to grow in my faith.

  • Please pray for the development of my support team, that God would raise people who will provide both the prayer and financial the resources needed for my time in Kenya.

  • Please pray for my relationship with Kevin and the girls as we enjoy our engagement and look to plan a few wedding details, that we continue to grow together and towards Christ and have quality time together, learning about each other and planning our future.

Also, please let me know how to pray for you, too!  Just send me an email at hello_hillary (at) yahoo (dot) ca - I'd love to hear from you and know how I might pray for you!

Join My Team!

Partnering in any way- in friendship, in prayer, or in finances - is an essential part of my ministry. I am so excited to build a team that together will work towards extending the blessing of God to people it is only just beginning to reach!  My financial team is an essential part of this ministry, not just because these people will provide the funds, but because they are an integral part of what God is doing in the Rendille people.

The Details

I am required to raise just shy of $20,000 for the year.  The details of this budget are listed below.  I will need I need to have 100% of my support in place (through gifts or pledges) by April 15, 2014. 

Orientation and Training - 3%      Pre-field Expenses - 3%     
Ambrose internship* - 5%     Administration* - 9%     
Medical insurance - 14%     Travel and visas - 21%
Living expenses and ministry - 45%

This budget is preliminary and subject to change somewhat in the months leading up to departure, however, this figure gives a good target to start with, and shouldn’t change drastically.

If you feel God leading you to join me in this way, there are three main ways to partner with me:
(1) Direct Deposit for monthly contributions

Fill out a pre-authorized debit agreement (download the document by clicking here) and mail it to the address below.  Or, go online (in Canada) to Choose “Give” then “Automatic Contributions” and follow the steps.

* If you are outside of Canada, see below for details
(2) Cheque for both monthly and one-time contributions

Make cheques payable to Africa Inland Mission.  Please enclose a separate note stating the contribution is for me - do not write my name anywhere on the cheque.  Cheques can be mailed to the address below.  Post-dated cheques for monthly giving are also accepted.  Cheques received before departure are recorded but not deposited until all clearances are given one month before my departure.  If your cheque isn’t cashed right away, don’t worry!

* If you are outside of Canada, see below for details

(3) Online Giving for both monthly and one-time contributions

Go to and choose “Give” then “Online giving.”  You can enter my name under “Specific Missionary” and choose whether you’d like to make a one-time or monthly contribution.

* If you are outside of Canada, see below for details


If you would like to join with me financially, you can send donations to the addresses below or donate online.  All donations in Canada and the USA are tax deductible.   

In Canada:

Africa Inland Mission Int'l (Canada)
1641 Victoria Park Ave
Scarborough ON
M1R 1P8

Canadian Online Donations:

In the USA:
*** Please very clearly indicate that the donation is for me, and that I am a CANADIAN member of AIM ***

Africa Inland Mission USA
P.O. Box 3611
Peachtree City, GA 30269-7611

US Online Donations:

In countries other than Canada or the USA:

Go to and choose the region that best represents you.   

*** Should you contribute in any region other than in Canada, please very clearly indicate that the donation is for me, and that I am a CANADIAN member of AIM.***

Many, many thanks!
* Ambrose internship - The final piece of my MA in intercultural ministries from Ambrose Seminary is an internship.  This will be fulfilled by my time in Kenya, though there are some Ambrose-specific costs associated.  If you would like to contribute to the internship portion (approx. $1000), please contact me.  These gifts, too, are eligible for tax receipts.

* A word about administration - Administration costs cover the expenses related to having people in the offices in Canada and Kenya who take care of critical parts of my work like financial details, communication, assistance with immigration documents, safety planning, and receiving and receipting financial support.