Thursday 31 December 2009

A Decade

I'm sitting here at Mountain Bean; just finished some reading with a nice hot coffee. Working through the Mennonite Brethren Confession of Faith- w/ Commentary and Pastor Application.  Yeah, heavy reading- preparing for my ordination ...  gonna be a bit of work over the next 6 months or so....
This all got me thinking though... would I have seen any of this coming a decade ago? I'm not sure quite honestly, and I thought it might be fun to look back on where I was at the beginning of the decade (and the millenium.)

Well let's see: In December 1999 I lived at home and I was just beginning my second year of employment at Youth for Christ. At that point it was already shaping up to be a very rough season in the office and I was having trouble imagining the prospect of continuing for another year.  At the same time however, I felt God's hand guiding me to stay so strongly that I realized leaving wasn't an option.  As God would have it, things were resolved sometime in the spring- and in some ways I guess I never really looked back. In the fall of 2008 I celebrated 10 years at YFC... and although it is now in a much more limited capacity due to my other responsibilities, I am still there.

In the fall of 1999 I had just purchased my new 2000 Neon.  I was pretty proud of that car, and the standard "you own a neon" jokes didn't really kick in until 2002.  That neon took me through the mountains numerous times on trips to BC to visit family, and it's grand finale ended up being a trip to Nashville a couple of years ago where freeway speeds (not legal but necessary to not cause an accident) approached 140kmh.  The fact the old crate held up always impressed me; enough so that I was actually quite sad when I crashed it a couple of months later while driving down Pembina to watch boxing at the casino.

A decade ago I remember stringing phone cable through the ceiling of the YFC office, allowing our different offices to be connected to the "internet" via dialup.  It was pretty exciting technology at the time, and we were all on the verge of starting to get our own email addresses.  As well, the Cedarwood web page was entering it's first revision after being launched the year before.  I can't really count how many revisions we've been through now, but Facebook has pretty much taken over anyway as our main form of communication.  Surprise surprise.

2000 was the year that I ended up moving out of my parents house into that brave new world of roommates and personal responsibility.  The 3 story house on Maryland, in which my roommate Rob and I shared the bottom floor is now a burned out shell- was sad to hear it has become a bit of a drug den later on and then was heavily damaged by fire.  It was a great apartment for that year we lived there- even when the furnace quit in the middle of winter and we could barely live there for a few days.

It's funny to think, but in 2000 I did not yet even know many of the friends I now hold very dear to me - especially many of the kids I know through Cedarwood and Church that I am blessed to have the privilege to care for and mentor.  At the same time, the year 2000 brought my first real personal loss as a friend and mentor- a young man named Brent who I came to know that summer passed away after a brave battle with Leukemia, and I quickly began to understand the sacrifice that comes with caring for people.  In the past decade I've experienced different kinds of loss with the kids I've cared for- one by suicide, but some by simple loss of contact.  Some are doing well, and some I still pray for daily because I know they are not.  I've also been blessed however with amazing friendships that have lasted the test of time regardless of where they are or what they are doing- and I realize every day that it's something to truly celebrate.

I enter this new decade embracing a whole new adventure.  I'm still trying to grasp this title of "Pastor" and what it really means.  I guess a very simple way of looking at it is that God has blessed me with the ability to continue to do what I have been doing, with the only real change being a title to go with my role and the blessing of actually serving the church family I love so much in an official fashion.  The friendships will continue- there will be hurt, there will be joy, and there will be loss- but through it all I trust God's promise that He will continue to guide me as He always has.

Happy New Year.

-Pastor Ben.

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