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It is October 5, 2018, day 13. I am writing a bit each day about my thoughts, motivations, ideas and dreams. Today/tonight I am writing a bit about a mission/learning trip I am on this week in Tijuana and San Diego. My first time to Tijuana was 25 years ago. I came on a mission trip with YWAM. We built a home, did some dramas and I even did a Tamborine dance (it will cost you $50 to see that picture).

Tonight, 25 years later, I’m sitting in TJ on a immersion trip learning about immigration, DACA, and reflecting on the first time I was here. I love this country, both the beauty and the brokenness. I have learned so much from Mexico and I am excited to learn more in the next two days.

Today we went to the border wall, on the US side. We heard about immigration, both the facts and the stories. Then, we went over the border to a center that houses men and women who have been deported. I sat across the table from Roberto, a man who just got deported today. He leaves behind his wife and four children. He was not legal in the USA, but was working to provide for his family, and trying to be a good husband and father. He was pulled over for a traffic violation, checked for his status and deported (this was his story).

I was humbled to hear the heartbreaking stories of these men tonight. These men have made mistakes, and were living undocumented in the USA, but still, it is so sad to see them alone, in a country that they don’t know and living in a shelter. The people of the Casa del Migrante center love so well, they look a lot like Jesus. I am excited to go back tomorrow to learn more.

Peace

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It is October 1, 2018, day 9 of sharing. I am writing a bit every few days about my thoughts, motivations, ideas and dreams. This past weekend we had some friends staying with us that we have known for the past 23 years. Some of you reading this are not even that old, but this will be good for you all the same. Last night we were sitting around eating Raclette (cheese, potatoes, bacon and pickles of all kinds), we were not trying to be healthy, thats for sure. We were laughing about past memories, sharing deep thoughts and wounds and giving and receiving from each other. It wasn’t just the adults thought, our children were with us, laughing and getting slightly embarrassed at mom and dads stories.
We have only hung out with these girls a handful of times over the past 20 years, but when we do it is deep, beautiful and life giving. Our kids call them Auntie as they are truly family. This happened because we are vulnerable with each other, and we are there for each other when there is a need or crisis. Our family is blessed to have friends like this from around the world. Friends who are like family to Amy and I, but also to our kids.
All of us can have these types of relationships. They take time, although some relationships like this seem to happen overnight. Take a few minutes right now to think about who that person is in your life. Someone you don’t see regularly, but when you do, you pick up right were you left off. Give that person a call, send them an email, or SMS them telling them how much you appreciate them, asking if they are ok and even setting a time to get together. Then, make it happen. Friendship is a gift, having a friend and being a friend. Spend time building and cultivating relationships, because in the words of the great scholar Ferris Bueller “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

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It is September 29, 2018, day eight of sharing. I am writing a bit each day about my thoughts, motivations, ideas and dreams. Today I am writing about refugees, specifically ones that I have relationships with. As some of you know, I started meeting refugee families in San Diego just over two years ago. Before that, I had seen images of refugees on the news that were both heartbreaking and overwhelming, like the image here of Alan Kurdi. Alan was three when he lost his life . He was on a boat to safety, a boat that came under heavy waves moments after it left Turkeys shores in August 2015. This image haunted me for a long time, and still does today. Its an image that motivates me to action, and motivates me to empathy.

It was one year later that I met my first Syrian family. I was asked to drive a few boy’s from a nearby city to a “Welcome to San Diego” party that some of us were throwing for the Syrian community. I had butterflies in my stomach when I pulled up to the apartment where these Syrian families were staying. They hopped into my car, put on some Arabic pop music and off we went. We headed to the beach in San Diego where we were throwing the party, over 100 Syrians attended.

Since then I have met many Syrian families. I now have Syrian uncles, aunties, brothers and sisters. We have celebrated together, camped together, had emotional conversations together and grown in strong relationship. It has been an honor to have these Syrian brothers and sisters in my life, one that I see as a gift to me from God.

Three times a month my family and I meet with a small group of Syrian boys and a few people that volunteer with me. We are currently going through the fruits of the spirit that Jesus taught about in Matthew. We have short times of conversation, followed by times of fun, food and a bit of craziness. I am committed to these boy’s, and their families. I have learned so much from them, and hopefully they learn bit from me as well. This youth group is more than just a few people who hang out, It is a representation of equality and Gods heart. Male, female, brown, white, Irish/Canadian, American and Syrian all in relationship with each other. The reason we hang out is simple, its to create a safe space that these boy’s can be themselves, and have adults in their lives (other than their parents or teachers) who care for them and are committed to their success.

Some of you asked how you can be involved, well to be honest we need your financial support. Each week costs approx. $60. We meet three times a week, so that is around $175 a month. Would you be willing to sponsor a month of our gatherings? This goes towards gas, food, events (We went to their first ever movie in the USA last week), birthday gifts, and parties. You can give through Steps of Justice, the non-profit I run. If you can’t do a month, could you sponsor a week? We won’t send you pictures, we won’t put your name on our shirt (we still need to make youth group shirts, if you know of a good designer), but we will have an amazing time, and you will be participating in that for sure.

Alright, thanks for taking some time to read today. Have a great rest of your weekend, and feel free to share this.

Peace

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It is September 28, 2018, day seven. I am writing a bit each day about my thoughts, motivations, ideas and dreams. Today, I want to share about the art of saying sorry. It’s not just a Canadian thing, I truly believe it’s a God thing. James 1:19 in the Bible say’s “let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak , slow to anger…” I also believe we should be quick to say sorry.

Empathy is putting yourself in another shoes, feeling for them, hurting with them, standing with them. When someone is hurting, the word sorry can ease a lot of their pain. Saying sorry for something you did, intentionally or accidentally. Saying sorry for something that you had nothing to do with, or saying sorry just because there are no other words that can ease someones pain.

Saying sorry is not a form of weakness, I believe it is actually a sign of strength and humility. If we truly are created equal by God, both male and female, then we should be caring for people and walking in a place of humility towards one another, not pride. Saying sorry is a huge part of that.

I try to be quick to say sorry. I am quick to say sorry when I get overly frustrated with my kids, when I see one of my friends, or family in emotional or physical pain, or even when I bump into someone accidentally. It defuses intense and potentially dangerous situations, heals friendships and mends broken relationships. That one word of “sorry” has more power than we know. We need to use it more, more often than the words “its your fault” or even the act of silence.

Cheers.

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It is September 26, 2018, day six. I am writing a bit each day about my thoughts, motivations, ideas and dreams. Today I want to share a bit about morning routine, specifically my routine since its what I know. I am not a morning person, at least I wasn’t before I had a good morning routine. I have a great wife and three amazing daughters. I love spending time with them, but I also love time alone. I have found that the only time I have alone is either at night before bed, or in the morning before everyone wakes up. Amy stays up late, so the night is out, which leaves the morning.

Disclamer, my morning routine is going to seem tame in comparison to Mark Wahlbergs, so just judge me, haha. My alarm on my phone goes off at 5:15, and my Fitbit goes off at 5:20. I aim to get my feet on the ground by 5:30, but usually Im up by 5:40. I used to make coffee first thing, but for the past few days I have been doing that later. I go downstairs, light some candles and spend about 15 minutes or so in silent prayer, falling in and out of sleep. Then, I read about 5 or 6 chapters in the Bible, currently reading through Matthew, or I go though the Celtic Daily Prayer, which I have been doing for the past 12 years.  After that, it is usually 6:30, and the sun is starting to show. I make some coffee, see post here, and try to get things sorted for the day, including going over some to do list items, checking email and cruising through some news and social media stuff.

I love how quiet and still it is in the morning. It is a discipline to get up, but one that I find very rewarding. I need more disciplines in my life, and this is one that is very tangible and measurable. I don’t always get some mind-blowing word, sometimes I just pray, read and drink coffee, but its my routine and I love it. I also only do this Monday through Friday, as Saturday and Sunday are great day’s to sleep in.

If you have a good morning routine, I would love to hear it, regardless of what it is. Its always good to learn from each other.

Peace

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