Tuesday, December 31, 2013

the church library: part 1

In our old church building the library, aka the dungeon, was located in the basement of basements. Although it was filled with wonderful books, the horrid location of the library did not allow everyone to enjoy it.
With two flights of stairs to go down before entering the library, the people who had a hard time getting into the library were:
-those who were in wheelchairs
-those who walked with a walker
-those who carried an infant carrier, a diaper bag slung on the shoulder, and a purse and a toddler in the other arm
-those who suffered from claustrophobia
-those who were allergic to the musty and moldy smells (and that was not from the books)
- and those who walked with a cane entered the library at their own risk

With an increasing church membership (especially among the little ones), this library was not only inaccessible for many, but crowded. The little three and four year olds loved to sprawl out on the floor and read while their older siblings were in Sunday School. It certainly was a cute sight:)

~ The Old Library ~


Moving into the NEW and much bigger library of our new church.
Next blog post: pictures and layout of our new library and how it works.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Drop Box - A Story of Saving Lives

As Brian Ivie, a university student, boarded the plane bound for Seoul, South Korea, little did he know that his life was about to change - and his eternity.
 Ivie had read about a South Korean Pastor named Lee Jong-rak in the Los Angels Times who was busy saving the lives of unwanted, physically and mentally handicaped babies that were left to die along the cold sidewalks of Seoul. After raising $20,000 Ivie and a team of ten others made arrangements to meet Lee and document his ministry.
Twenty-six years ago, Pastor Lee's first born son was born severely deformed and this caused Pastor Lee to question God's goodness. He wondered what good can come from his son. Pastor Lee began to visit other disabled children and before he knew it, Pastor Lee and his wife lovingly took in two more orphaned disabled children. Through out the next years, eleven more disabled children came to live in their home. Pastor Lee shared, "Some of those kids would hurt themselves. Most would scream and wail...but when you're with them, you're called to remember that none of us are easy to love. That all of us kick and scream, and yet God died for us."
Pastor Lee's small four room home functioned as an orphanage, and a church, and yet he felt called to do more. He installed a drop box into his home where unwed mothers, mothers of physically and mentally handicapped babies could place their babies.
The drop box was designed with a thick towel covering the bottom,and lights and heating to keep the baby comfortable. There is a bell on the outside to ring when the baby is placed there to alert Pastor Lee and his wife. A sign by the drop box reads, "This is a facility for the protection of life. If you can't take care of your disabled babies, don't throw them away or leave them in the street. Bring them here to a place of safety and protection."

Mothers have placed their babies in the box at all hours; some with notes attached to the baby: "Sorry, sorry, and I love you my son. Mom loves you more than anything else."

Ivie and his film crew grew close to Pastor Lee's family while living with him. Lee's loving care was contagious and Ivie would look around and think of the burden it would be for this fifty-nine year old man to care for close to 20 disabled children. And then he would look at Lee and see him grinning from ear to ear. While these babies' lives were being saved, Ivie's soul was saved. He became a Christian while making the film. He said, " I saw all those kids come through this drop box with deformities and disabilities, and eventually - like a heaven flash - I realized that I was one of those kids too; that I have a crooked soul, and God is a father who loves me still."
Ivie won an award with his film and received $101,000 which he said that he would use to continue telling important stories. In Ivie's acceptance speech he spoke about relying on God for every breath that we take and that is what he learned from the orphans.

Here is a link to the three minute trailer called "The Drop Box"

Pastor Lee. You will never read this, but you are a man of inspiration. We can see your loving care to these children and know that you cherish them. Your selflessness is apparent, spending all of  your time devoted to caring and serving. Now that our family knows about you, you will be in our prayers. Thank you for your example!

-I first read about Pastor Lee in a World magazine and then searched the web for more information-

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 18, 1962

December 18, 1962. It was a dark and blustery winter evening as Jilt and his wife Jacoba stood at the end of the driveway of their small war time home, waiting for a chance to cross the road. They had plans to spend the evening at their church celebrating Christmas with friends, singing and enjoying one anothers' company. Being actively involved in the church community was not something new for Jilt and Jacoba. Before they immigrated to Canada, Jilt had served as a deacon in their church in Holland and now here in Canada he was an elder. Although being immigrants in a new country for the past eight years was challenging Jilt and Jacoba had the pleasure of witnessing their daughters and son marry. They joyfully welcomed grandchildren into their lives. Their youngest son, Garry still remained at home and Jilt kept busy with his upholstery business.

Jilt and Jacoba in their younger years.

On December 18, as Jilt and Jacoba crossed the road dressed in their warm winter clothes, a car came barreling around the corner. With the smell of alcohol on his breath, William C. aged 38 headed straight for Jilt and Jacoba throwing them on to the roof of his car and then tossing them into the air. Jacoba, just two months shy of turning 60, died upon impact and Jilt, 66, died of his injuries two hours later in the hospital.

Their son, Garry, was playing the organ in the living room of their home when he heard the screeching of brakes and then a loud thud. Instantly he knew that it was his parents.
Jilt and Jacoba's children were called and told that a terrible accident had taken place and to rush to the hospital. Tragically they never saw their parents alive again.

(Jacoba and Jilt are on the right - two years before their death)

The next morning, the newspaper headline read, "City Couple Killed By Car."
The family, in their shock and grief, made calls to their friends and family in Holland, wrote obituary notices, and decided on funeral arrangements.
My dad had just turned eight when his grandparents were killed and although he remembered his grandparents small, little home, with the organ taking up most of the space in the living room; he also remembered spending time there, the rabbits that his grandfather raised, and the upholstery business in the back shop. My dad said that he will never forget the phone call of that night, watching his parents' shocked faces and then the rush to leave for the hospital.
1Thessalonians 4:13-18 was written on the obituary notices and what a blessing it was for Jilt and Jacoba's children to know that those who die believing that Jesus died and rose again will always be with the Lord. They were able to comfort one another with this (vs 18).

Reading the old newspaper articles from 1962 and asking my grandparents questions about the accident has made me reflective and has challenged me.
*I was reminded that life on earth is a journey and we will leave behind a legacy. How we live now, the decisions we make, the words we speak, and our actions determine what kind of legacy we will leave.
*We often say, "the Lord willing." On that winter evening, Jilt and Jacoba closed the  front door of their home and a few moments later they were taken from this earth.
*This accident occurred exactly one week before Christmas Day. While the Christmas season may be "merry and bright" for us - not everyone is celebrating. Those around us may be in a hard place in their lives and we need to come along side them and be understanding and sympathetic.

Tonight, Adam and I look forward to celebrating Christ's birth in our church. Exactly fifty-one years ago, so did my great grandparents. Last night my grandfather said to me that generations come and go, but one thing remains - God is faithful and He is good!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

a new kind of cookie

Our boys, also known as the Voortman Cookie Taste Testers, gave their hearty stamp of approval on a new kind of cookie that Voortmans wanted to try out - a cookies n' creme wafer. This past summer when they performed their taste test, they rated this new wafer as "the best ever, unbelievable, and beyond delicious."
This week my dad came over with the first packaged "cookies n' creme" wafer to show the boys. The boys were totally excited and thrilled that they were part of this new kind of cookie.
That evening while the boys were making lunches for the next day, I over heard one boy say to the other, "I am so excited to bring this new wafer to school. Do you know how much stuff I can get if I trade this one wafer?!"

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

ordinary days make up the passage of time

Nate and Andrew

Caleb and Andrew

At tight I fall into bed exhausted but thankful that it has been an ordinary day. There have been some bumps and bruises, bickering and problems to resolve, BUT, we are all still alive and the house is still standing in the midst of it all. Now, the challenge is to dig deeper and  not only be thankful for the big things, but to be content and thankful in the small ordinary things, the mundane, the routines of daily living, the same days repeated over and over again.
Each ordinary day is a gift and enjoy them because they make up the passage of time!
"Embrace this gift for the day. The life of faith is lived one day at a time and it has to be lived not always looked forward to -  as though the "real" living were around the next corner. It is for today we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow."  Elisabeth Elliot