Monday, March 17, 2008

Departures and Arrivals

How do you say good-bye to a good friend?!

I've only been here a couple of months and it seems too soon to face the reality of grief. I am missing my new friends who've "moved on" or "graduated" from Welcome Home. Welcome Home is a short-term housing community. We offer a place to live for a year and a supportive environment in which to adjust to life in Canada. But, from day one we're preparing our new friends for the day they'll move out- not unlike my young adult children.

That's why I'm both sad and glad at the same time. I miss sharing life with Mel, Mohammed, Hirut, Lul and Dani's family. At the same time, I'm proud of their independence and accomplishments in this very difficult year since they came to Canada. When they come to mind, I pray for their ongoing assimilation and their spiritual well-being.

And, I'm eager to see who God is bringing to Welcome Home! What country will they come from? What unique struggles and barriers will they need to overcome? How will God provide? I learn so much from each one as we share life together. I'm also gratified (and more committed than ever) to think of the programs we've recently put in place to help each one: Goal-Setting and Hosting.

One of the major needs a resident has is finding long term housing at the close of their time at Welcome Home. Would you pray with me for a "housing expert" who could come alongside each resident in their 10th month with us, connecting them to the possibilities in KW? And, if you're interested in becoming that person, let me know!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Standing Ovations

I've never really been in the presence of a "Great One", have you?

I wonder if I'd know what to do- much as I wonder whether to shake hands or kiss a cheek when greeting one of my new refugee friends...

This past weekend, at the Leading Women 2008 Conference, something repeatedly happened that was totally unscripted (imagine trying to script "now everyone will...":) and has rarely happened at the previous 4 conferences- all of us spontaneously vaulted to our feet and burst into applause!

What caused such a reaction? That's what I've been pondering.

One could attribute it to decorum and good training. It did start when we were introduced to Mississauga's Mayor Hazel McCallion and at 87 years of age, her fiesty spirit does warrant recognition. But to what would you attribute all the other eruptions?

I think it had to do with our theme: DARE. We were in the presence of 'great ones' who dared in ways that demanded a physical response to the emotions welling up within us. The living stories of Bibiana, Karyn (500 rejection letters?!), Kaarina, Wendy, Joyce (just to name a few) ignited something in us- perhaps a culture of courage?

But, I think it was much more than that. I believe we were in the presence of THE GREAT ONE. It was His presence and greatness that we saw in each other's lives, and THAT demanded a physical response. As the songwriter declares, "I stand in awe of You!" God looked amazing in the lives of the Great Women that shared their stories and their lives with us at Leading Women 2008.

May it continue to cause us to leap to our feet exclaiming, "How great is our God!" and send us out to ignite a culture of courage as we follow Him.