Friday, January 20, 2012

Professional Development Days

Today is Dave’s birthday and I think the best present that he will receive came from the school board. It is a professional development day for the boys, so he gets to spend the day with his kids. He rarely gets a day off so I am trying to cover the other business that needs to happen before we head out this weekend and let him enjoy his day. Maybe he’ll take the boys tobogganing for the first time this winter. If you are in the neighbourhood feel free to stop by for some cake later on tonight.

I have always loved professional development days. As a kid they meant a break from the regular routine of school and an extra day to sleep in. As a teacher, they meant an opportunity to sharpen my skills and interact with colleagues as well as a bit of a breather from the routine. The other thing that I appreciated about PA days as a teacher is that they are usually planned for you. Someone else decides when they will occur and most often what will be on the agenda. As a church leader, I am responsible for my own professional development which can provide its own challenges. It is great when I am in Canada and have access to conferences and seminars like the church planting congress that we went to last November. However, it can be a little more challenging when we are in Niger. I recently read a book that was lent to us, Leading on Empty. In which the author recommends a monthly spiritual retreat day (among other things) during which time a person does a number of things to reconnect with God, reflect on priorities, ministry and passion –basically to become more intentional and accountable in your relationship with God, your personal life and your work. Isn’t that what we all need?

Please pray for me that I would be able to make time for this valuable activity. You can also pray for my health—I am struggling with a cold that turned into a sinus infection this week. It has really done a good job of draining my energy.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Minstry Centre in Niamey: New Endeavour for 2012

Happy New Year everyone!
I know that I am a little late for this greeting, but it is still January so I think it counts. I hope that everyone of you had such an amazing holiday that you didn't have a free moment to look at our blog (because I was too busy to update) or that you enjoyed finally getting caught up on our old blogs.

But now for the latest news!

Some of you may remember an older blog that I wrote about buying property for a ministry centre for the church that looked something like this.

The week before we left Niger it looked like this.

The day before we left Niger it looked like this!
This was the result of a gift from the estate of John Sigsworth and some money that came through the FM church in Canada.

But ideally we would like to have it look something like this:
This building would serve many purposes:
  • to provide us with the opportunity to continue to reach out in the neighbourhood that we have developed contacts in 
  • a place to continue our kids ministry and develop other minstries that might help to meet the needs of the community
  • a leadership training centre for church leaders
  • guest house and living space for us and those that may come to help us (or have need)
  • offices for the administration of the FM church as it grows
  • possibly provide a gathering place for another FM church
The possiblities go on and on, but I confess that the building project seems overwhelming. Not just the amount of money that would need to come together for it to happen but also the incredible amount of details that go into a project of this sort. It is all too much for me (especially because I have no background in construction), but the good thing is that those are the kind of projects that God specializes in -- the kind where we have to acknowledge that we can't do it without Him and He gets all of the glory.
Will you pray with me that if it is God's will that everything will come together for this building and that He will be glorified not only in how it happens but by all that goes on there?