by - March 01, 2015

The snow is falling onto the tracks train 800 is chugging along across the Canadian countryside.  I'm on this train in car 4 seat 8D. A window seat. Sipping on coffee, listening to music and again moving at a high rate of speed while sitting completely still. I love trains. I feel a little nostalgic, a little poetic, a little like I should be wearing a petticoat under my skirt, carrying a carpet bag and going west. I'm not though. I'm wearing jeans, carrying a backpack, and heading East.

Outside the train window...

I left home only five days ago, but it seems like longer. A lot has been packed into the last few days, and my heart is so full, even if my energy is empty.  After arriving in London, Canada I walked up steps onto my first propeller airplane to fly even more north to Timmins. It was my Dad's birthday that day so my heart was beating with Thanksgiving for multiple reasons.  Timmins is the home of Shania Twain, so as songs tend to get stuck in my head I found myself humming the opening melody of Man I Feel Like A Woman over and over with the blurry image of that picture of her parents from the VHI Behind The Music special I watched about her many many years ago.  Anyone else see that? There isn't a lot going on in Timmins, but for two days I had the privilege of sharing about Hope with a group of people The Lord grew my heart for long before I arrived there.

From several different Indian reservations around northern Canada, Believers drove in over frozen lakes called ice roads to get help and Hope in reaching the emotional and spiritual needs of their people. As we are brothers and sisters in Christ, as with all of the others we've met in this past year, my people. United through one Savior, people of the cross. Their story is much like the stories of the Native American tribes that were resettled in Oklahoma. Their faces a lot like the faces of many of my family members and friends whom I love, and I was so honored to be invited through our partner here in Canada to introduce them to the resources of Hope For The Heart. When trust has been broken and destroyed we all know how hard it is to get back.  I won't try to do their story justice in my blog, but I will just say I am humbled and encouraged and inspired by their trust in The Lord and their love for the hurting.  New trust must be built, new hope must be found, and only through Jesus is that possible. Across all boundaries and borders, cultures and languages, only Jesus has that power. Our hope must be built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness....all other ground is sinking sand.   Sing it if you know it.  Only Jesus could unite us in a way we were united this week. One of my favorite parts, wherever we go, is hearing how they have been praying for the type of discipleship and counseling help we discuss. It grows my own faith and courage. God hears us friends. He moves mountains, and people to answer us. What help are you praying for? What hope are you leaning on? If you are hoping in anything that is subject to change then you may be counting on sand that could sink.  Only God is unchanging. Our ministry founder wrote a book on Hope. You can find it on the website. I've taught this topic at our last few trainings, and it is such a help to really think through what you are putting your hope in. It has been for me.

As they left to travel back home, my two friends from TWR and I found ourselves with several hours to explore Timmins...that took only about 20 mins though. So we found an antique shop where I found some things to take pictures of and the sweetest little Inuit nativity scene for the 50% off  making it ten Canadian dollars. I think they had it priced wrong. It seems of much greater value to me. Then we had a perogie pizza, and got on another propeller plane to go back to London.

On Saturday my friend Colleen drove us up to her hometown through scenes and into scenes that were so quaintly beautiful.  There were so many steeples, I wanted to cry. For the past couple of weeks I only saw the towers rising up from mosques, not un-beautiful, but definitely un-hopeful. We drove to her hometown where Amish buggies, Mennonite churches, and friendly Canadians are in an abundance.  We went to the big Market there and I had my first butter tart before attending my first Amish horse auction.  I learned new Dutch And German Mennonite words...I think, talked about Hope,  had a delicious dinner that her sweet momma prepared for us, right before I found out that I am really good at the card game Dutch Blitz. I mean I won the first three games, totally based on skill not luck. :).  I'm bringing a set of the cards home and am looking forward to introducing the game to the great state of Oklahoma (at least to my little group of Oklahomans.) My mom and Shawn Bon Jovi will be the hardest, and most rewarding ones to beat. They are bad at losing games.

This train is getting closer and closer to Toronto, my first stop. After an hour, I'll board the next train for Scarborough. Where a visit with a friend I love and some delicious Chinese lunch await me.

God is good all the time. He brings down walls, and builds up love.  He breaks chains and strengthens bonds through those of us united in him. POTC.

After a little people watching at the Toronto train station...I am loaded on my last train of the day.  Back home tomorrow.  Lord willing.

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