Sunday, December 25, 2005

For unto us...

Merry Christmas, all. I figured I'd do a cheap update here in Blogland, by cutting and pasting a recent email that I sent out to friends and family. I just couldn't be bothered to type it all out again, and change some of the wording. Enjoy. Or, if you've already read it in your inbox in its email form, stay tuned for further tales of travel and a God-driven life...

It’s true. Although some (including myself) can’t believe it, a year has already passed since I left Toronto for Korea.

Skipping around Pyongchon, teaching the little kiddies (one of whom has written me since my departure to tell me: “I am sad now that you left my bosom ”), shopping at stores that specialize in petite sizes, traveling the country on weekends, and hanging out with some of the best people in the world is how I spent most of 2005. Korea was good to me in many ways,
including emotionally and spiritually, and it will be a time in my life that I will look fondly on in years to come.

After my contract was finished, and the good-bye parties had all run out, I boarded a plane from Korea to Tokyo, then had a stop-over in Tokyo for eight hours, was bumped from economy to business class from Tokyo to Honolulu (“Champagne or orange juice, miss?” “Champagne, of course…”), then flew to Maui where I spent six days with friends on the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) base in Paia. The weather was scrumptious and I was able to see a lot of the island, including a day of “surfing” (let’s just say, I’m better apt to wax poetic than wax a surfboard…) at Launiopoko Beach, a drive up Haleakala Mountain, and a motorbike tour of the East Maui Mountains on the way to Lahina. If you haven’t had a chance or excuse to go to Hawaii yet, make one. You won’t be disappointed.

From the 30 degree weather (that’s about 86 Fahrenheit for you others out there) in Hawaii, I flew out of Honolulu to Minneapolis, from Minneapolis to Detroit, and from Detroit to snow-covered Toronto. Once jetlag had subsided and my equilibrium had returned to normal I was able to venture out and meet up with friends that I had not seen in over a year. Much coffee was drunk. Many hours were consumed with chatter. Traipsing around downtown helped me to re-orient myself with the city that I love. Who knew that the Marché
changed its name? Why are there so many new condos along the Lakeshore? Does H&M look out of place on Bloor to anyone else? And where DID all this snow come from?

I was also able to visit the various places of ministry that I had worked with prior to Korea and was interested to see that both the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (TACF) and The Meeting House have started locations in the downtown core. Tehillah is still up and running, as is Freedomize and there seems to be a heightened desire to direct attention to the city of
Toronto proper as opposed to the suburbs – where many ministries have benefited from tactical “beachheads”. This latest move towards the inner city has not been overlooked by the fledgling YWAM Toronto base, which is where I have recently begun as a staff member.

The YWAM base director, Anderson, and his wife, Cynthia, came over from Barbados with their two kids and started the base out of a hotel in Port Credit, Mississauga. When I went to meet with them last week they shared with me their vision to have me working downtown; amusingly, I foresee myself drawing on my knowledge and training in event coordinating (from the year spent with the Television Bureau of Canada before I went to Korea) in this new “downtown facilitator” role. Seems as if there has been precise purpose in many of the choices I have made along the road…some of which I have considered to be arbitrary until now. I heard it best said recently: “God is magic.”

Mid-January I will be leaving for Amsterdam with Anderson and someone from The Dam Youth Drop-In in Mississauga, to see how inner city projects are carried out on the YWAM base there. From Amsterdam I plan to travel through the U.K. to meet with various people and ministries – both YWAM affiliated and not – as part of a “self-inflicted internship”. My desire is to pick the brains of people who have been serving in missions for much longer than I have, to learn of the pitfalls, to gain perspective, to glean wisdom, and to humbly ask for prayer and advice. Starting from the south, I hope to hit:
• the Brighton base (where they specialize in 24/7 Prayer, pubs/clubs ministry, and outreaches to the homeless)
• Brighton & Hove, Christian Outreach Center (C.O.C.)
• Holmsted Manor base, Sussex (the YWAM base where I did my Discipleship
Training School in 2000)
• Higher Vibe ministries in London
• King’s Lodge base, Warwickshire
• York base, York
• Seamill base, Ayrshire
• Edinburgh, for a family friend’s 40th birthday (and also a visit to the base in Leith where I did a theater evangelism course in the summer of 2000, after my DTS)

I am expecting to be back in Toronto at the beginning of March and move into the hotel base community in Port Credit. I’ll be serving wherever they need me, gaining clarity about what needs to be done in Toronto, and enjoying some much needed bonding time with the other YWAM Toronto staff members. My memory of sleeping on the couch at the girl staff house in Paia, Maui and hanging out with them is still so fresh and comforting in my mind that I am
looking forward to my time in Port Credit with a particular fervor. If God opens doors that no man can open, I’ll be moving into the city core in the fall of 2006 along with other YWAM staff members who have a particular calling for the downtown area. Ongoing prayer concerning confirmation, revelation, and provision will no doubt occupy my/our time until then.

If you’re still reading, then I commend you for your tenacity. Extra bonus points will be given to anyone who can recite, my memory, the update in its entirety.

• To those who find themselves living in Great Britain: Send me an email and I’ll do my best to pay you a visit while I’m over.

• To those who find themselves (still) in Korea: I ROVE YOU GUYS. I miss you all excruciatingly and can’t wait until we’re in closer proximity to each other.

• To those in Maui: You have no idea how lucky living in paradise really is until you’re suddenly…ankle-deep in snow. I am very fond of your island and miss your relaxed way of life.

• To those in Toronto: Stay tuned for a local email regarding a new *gasp* cell phone number for yours truly. Yes, it must be a mark of the apocalypse. Until then, 416-698-8176 is my parents’ number where I will be until January 12th.

• To those in various other locations around the globe: If you have a few hours to kill (this took about one and a half), send me updates of your own because I’m always curious to hear what you’re up to.

And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because theSpirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
(Romans 8:27)

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight.


andrew said...

total cop-out sarah. this blog entry officially sucks.

Sarah-Aubrey said...

Just because you were part of the elite that received the email first hand does not give you the right to exclude others from this intricate and riveting update...

Shame on you.

andrew said...

you're right. again. damn. my apologies to you and your readership. the above outburst was clearly uncalled for.

Andrea said...

Yes, I read this already, but I'm just glad that you're still using your blog.
I miss you!!!!

Kiki said...

well i for one am very upset that i not only didn't get a personal email, nor an email at all for that matter and to make matters worse, you left korea before i could get there... my heart will never mend.

robtegelberg said...

dude i havent seen or heard from you in years... are you dead? well rock on sista.

Forty_Two said...

In truth, most blog entries are pretty bad. I've tried to keep things interesting over at A Weapon of Mass Disturbance though. Take my moral dilemma test and see how you do.