Monday, September 5, 2011

How Awesome Was Your Long Weekend?

For many Canadians, the long weekend begins a day early, so Welcome Home’s jaunt to Grand Bend last Thursday counts.  
Other than a nice reprieve for our staff team, there were two most awesome things about our beach day. 

The first is something I noticed with my children too: the beach is a great “equalizer”.  You see, we house men and women from many countries, with many different languages, religions and cultures. So, it’s not always a given that they love each other or even care to relate to each other (does any family??).  One of our goals is to prayerfully create a sense of family, and it sure happened on this day!  Like a doting mom, I smiled to myself as an Iraqi woman and an Eritrean woman chatted with each other during our trip there.  When everyone threw themselves into water fights, foot races, sand castle creations, and learning to swim, I knew our mission for the day was accomplished.  
New words for the day:  wave, sand dune, sand bar
New sights: a Great Lake – “it looks like the ocean!”
Eritrean way to make a sand castle- build a well-packed dome over your foot, slide your foot out and you have an instant cave!

When we arrived, M immediately plopped herself down in the surf at the shoreline with a great big grin on her face.  I asked, “Did you do this when you were a child?” and she responded, “No, I was afraid of water then.”

That’s the other most amazing thing about this day.  
When we were camping at Guelph Lake in the beginning of July, a number of our friends were afraid to get in the water, with stories of family members who drowned during their flight to safety.  I saw this same fear when we first arrived today, partly because the heavy fog didn’t give the lake a very friendly look.  By the end of the brilliantly sunny afternoon, everyone was floating around with noodles and surf boards, imitating each other by trying to kick their legs and even attempting the “noodle stroke”.  I ended up being the swimming instructor, sharing my goggles and using what I’d observed during my children’s swimming lessons to encourage comfort and mastery in the water.  

As I said to M, “But you’re not afraid now, because you’re a refugee.  You are full of courage!”  She agreed.

How awesome was your long weekend?