If Karen and I look back on our life together—
I think that we can say that we are prone to making rather large changes in a somewhat impulsive manner. For instance, there was the matter of getting engaged in the first place. About 40 years ago, we were in the middle of an argument, and Karen pointed out that my student visa would run out at the end of August. I would have to return to Canada, and I wouldn't see her anymore. There was about a five-minute silence in the conversation (which was noteworthy), and then to my surprise, I asked her to marry me.
And to my further surprise, she said yes.
After getting married, we set up shop in Calgary, Alberta Canada and spent about a year saving one wage and living off the other. We decided to take a multiple-month trip to Africa to visit the place where Karen grew up. This of course meant leaving our jobs and, upon returning home, starting all over again. Only when we did come home, Karen was pregnant with our oldest daughter Jennifer. I was in a little bit of a panic about finding a job to support this developing family, and the Lord provided a teaching/coaching position at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. I had not applied. They came to me.
I left the coaching job for a variety of reasons and spent a difficult 8 years working as a sales rep for Smith, Kline and French. Then a new teaching position was offered to me out of the blue by Prairie Bible College in Alberta. And despite the huge pay cut, we decided to go to Prairie. There we learned about raising a family in a house trailer with 2 inches of insulation between us and the outside. Even electric tape didn't prevent the plumbing from freezing when the wind was out of the northwest and the temperatures were at about -40°C. To add to the discomfort, we had a furnace that sounded like a Saturn V rocket when it was on. In the winter, that was most of the time.
After 10 years at Prairie Bible College, LeTourneau University unexpectedly contacted us and wanted to know if I would be interested in coming to northeast Texas to teach aviation science. We said yes and left on the 1600-mile journey to Texas the day after our eldest daughter married Bob Jardine. That was the craziest weekend of our lives together.
Now we are about to do this major change thing again. We will be finished at LeTourneau University on June 30th. We're heading back to Canada to start full time work on a project that was born out of the research Karen is doing in East Africa for children with disabilities. It is called the Assistive Technology Catalyst Project or AT Catalyst for short.
I am finding myself needing to keep a couple of verses from scripture in mind. One is from the Old Testament and fits nicely with my age group. The other more familiar verse comes from the New Testament:
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. —Isaiah 46:4
And another more familiar comment that Christ made to his disciples:
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? —Matthew 6:25
So here we are, learning the lesson again.
As mentioned before, we appreciate your following along with us as we go through this change in our lives. It seems in some ways a little more difficult, as we have set some roots down deep in the red clay of northeast Texas. On the other side of the pro-con ledger will be the proximity to our kids and grandchildren. In addition to that will be the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people who need the help.
Please pray for the AT Catalyst Project. Karen and I want to honor those who have been supporting this effort by doing a good job for them and to provide good service to those who need wheelchair services. We need wisdom on how to step forward in time with all that is beginning to happen so that people isolated by disability can move from isolation to true hope.
Also, please pray about your part in all of this. We still need financial partners who will help us do our job. The web addresses below will provide you information about how to become involved. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We'd love to hear from you.
Phil and Karen