Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Unexpected retreat

Take rest- a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.  ~Ovid

These past weeks were quite unplanned for us. As some of you heard, but many did not, we made a quick trip to Canada. I am sorry that we did not meet with many of you. In my heart I wanted to see so many friends, visit the churches we love and talk to people. But that was not the point of the trip. We took a time of purposeful retreat and we hid away. Outside of our family, we saw very few people. Not that we don’t love you all, but we needed a time of rest and spiritual retreat and refreshment.

So much of our work in Niger involves being deeply invested in the lives of the people around us. When these people are dirt poor and experience suffering and pain, famine and war, divorce and the death of a child, we walk these roads through life with them and support them the best we can. We are learning how to not take these “traumas” as our own. We were again reminded by our National Office that high functioning people who are really involved are at higher risk for burnout and compassion fatigue. Or “chronic secondary trauma” as they call it. So we are on the road to learn how to manage that reality. We are not the type to pull back and avoid the hardships of the life here in Niger but obviously we need to find the way to manage our own capacity to cope as well! We need our own times of rest and retreat to be able to continue to function at a high level, and that break is really hard to get in Niger. Thank you for your prayers and support in this!

Special thanks go out to Judy Wiebe, Briac Defobbis and Kathy Klassen. Without your significant support and help, this trip would not have been possible or as rejuvenating as it was. We love you guys! And thanks to all the others who supported us, lent us vehicles, sat and prayed and listened and took us for meals, etc. And obviously our families- thank you for the joy of just being together!


A beautiful sight of farmland below us. Good to be home!

_MG_0374First we went to Toronto for 8 days where our National Office is located. We spent time with a few friends and our National team of people. We came away really encouraged and supported with lots of good perspective, support and times of prayer. Thank you to Kathy who welcomed us into her home and took such great care of us and for sharing her puppy Charlie with our kids!


Then we went to Three Hills, Alberta to be with Paul’s family. We had a weekend with all the kids and grandkids present! What a fun time to reconnect, meet our two new nephews and play together. (Emmett was sick and didn’t make it into this photo)


I got to spend a lot of time with my sister in law Amy this trip, which was wonderful since she is usually off working somewhere else. I loved hanging out with her!


We got lots of geocaching in as well


And of course, we loved the canola fields! One of my favourite things is the fields of Alberta in the summer, especially the bright yellow canola fields. I went for walks there several times and took lots of photos!




We spent a fun day with good friends at the Zoo.


I also got to surprise my best friend of over 20 years. Her husband lined up a day free of anything else for her and the family. When she walked upstairs, she saw us standing there and started screaming! Bennett said “why is she screaming? Does she think we are monsters?” Such a wonderful gift of a day to talk all day long and catch up and just enjoy each other’s presence! I also got to meet her new baby boy!


And the surprises didn’t end there! Even my parents didn’t know that Chantelle and the kids were coming! They thought just Paul was going to be home for a break (which had been the original plan before things changed). So we didn’t tell them! You can see the sheer shock on Grandma’s face when she opens the door to Bennett and Arielle and I ! What a great surprise! It is so rare in life nowadays that you can give surprises of sheer joy, so we jumped at the opportunity!


My brother and his family were already planning to be up in Red Deer, so we didn’t tell them either! Here is the Grandparents with all the Grandkids.



Arielle enjoying the lake (photo courtesy of Michelle)


Chad and Michelle and their kids


The boys had a blast playing together too. As they get older the common ground grows!



A new family photo


So now we are home in Niger, with fresh energy and lower stress levels to get back to work! And a good thing too since we have two short term teams coming, training meetings, and the Fall launch of the Girls at Risk school coming up! Paul is teaching an industrial arts class at the International School and also starting to work with his apprentices. We only have one more year before furlough and the year is looking really exciting and full, and time will fly by!

There are many more photos on our Facebook album, so feel free to head over to Chantelle’s profile and check them out.


Dave said...

Wonderful pictures! Looks like you guys had a great time with family. Praying that your time of rest and refreshment recharges your batteries for months to come.

Judy said...

Onward and upward! Glad you got such a wonderful opportunity to recharge and see family!

Freya said...

SO happy for you! I can feel the joy coming from everyone's smiles. Praying that you are refreshed and equipped for what's next!

Anonymous said...

So glad to see you getting some much needed rest! Wish I could pop over for an evening chilling on the deck with you guys and Becks, weird because it really doesn't feel that far away. Anywho, much love from B.C.
P.S. Love the family picture, you all look stunning!

Jamie Jo said...

After reading your comment on my IRL blog, I thought I'd hop over and see what you have to say. I LOVE your photos and your blog! Wow. I've been to Three Hills (when my son was at Prairie), so I could picture where you were. Fun getting to know you this morning.

Kerri said...

I am so glad to hear that you guys had a wonderful time of resting, relaxing and recharging for the tasks ahead of you. We will continue to pray for strength for all that this new year has in store for you guys.

Take care,