Friday, September 29, 2017

Nothing Wrong with a Little Nostalgia

Hands Down the slaphappiest game ever
featuring the colorful exciting SLAM-O-MATIC!

Between the meetings and church gatherings of this past week, we have also had the great fun of connecting with dear friends in and around Toronto. During our evenings, we have been blessed by great times of sharing food, conversation, and laughter. 

Our family loves to play all sorts of card and board games, but this week we've been treated to some classic competition with some vintage tabletop games. Our friends Donna and Dave Jervis have an eclectic collection of some real greats, from Hands Down to Ratrace.

Dave and Aaron after a high-rolling night 
playing the 1974 boardgame, Ratrace.
Rat race: A madcap game of social climbing
Dave and Donna's collection really brought us back to some childhood favourites as we shared together memories of the games we all played growing up. In our neighbourhoods, every family had a closet with a deep stack of board games like Life, Risk, Stratego, Operation, Clue, Pay Day, Aggravation, Perfection, Stock Ticker, and the list goes on. Games were always a big part of our childhood holidays and get-togethers.

Ava was especially good at the quick reflex game of hands down. She had attended John English Elementary School earlier today with our friend Heather Smith in Mimico. It was a little scary to walk into a new classroom (the first class was completely in French) and meet so many new people, but Ava jumped in and had a great day. We talked a lot about the differences of being a student in Canada and in Kenya. Ava certainly misses her friends in Nairobi, but she is embracing homeschooling on the road with mom and dad. Every day there is something new to learn and experience. Beating the grown-ups in a card game is not a bad way to end a big day.

Donna and Erica at the 541 Exchange, Hamilton
Triominoes at the kitchen table
Pulling out classic games like Triominoes, brought us back to memories of summer vacations and playing games with our Maritime relatives where cards and crokinole were regular parts of our family gatherings. It is wonderful to hear how table games are on a resurgence in Canada. Even Tristan is a part of a board game group at Acadia where new friends are getting together each week to play.

Tristan and our resident Werewolf, Eli Gardner
We also love playing newer games. The spooky, One Night, was a blast with our friends Adrian, Nicole, Eli, and Grace. 

Playing One Night Ultimate Werewolf with the Gardner family
Gary and Carla Nelson
Speaking of nostalgia, we also appreciate the opportunity to reminisce about our early days with CBM and great experiences with our friends the Craigs, Chaises, and Nelsons. We are grateful for being a part of the international work that Canadian Baptists have invested in for more than 140 years.

Our time in Toronto has flown by. We are looking forward to connecting with our friends Terry and Heather Smith tonight and then with the Church at the Centre in Fallingbrook this Sunday before we travel North for CBM strategic meetings with the other continental team leaders. 

Thank you for your prayers. 

Sam and Cindy Chaise
Checking out Donna's Halloween Store with Ava

Monday, September 25, 2017

Many hands

Erica presenting at Glen Acres Baptist Church
Kitchener Waterloo, Ontario

Travelling through Southern Ontario, we have been blessed by our time with churches and friends that are committed to the good work that we share in together as Canadian Baptists. From helping newly arrived refugee families in Canada to providing pastoral care and support to people in need, the Canadian churches that we have visited are passionate about living generously for the good of their communities. 

In Kitchener Waterloo, we had the pleasure of meeting with representatives from women's groups from the South Central Association of the Canadian Baptist of Ontario and Quebec. Along with their local initiatives, these groups are strongly involved in international ministry supporting and participating in projects that are making a difference in communities in Africa, India, and Latin America. We appreciated the opportunity to give updates, tell stories, and answer questions about our shared work.

Visiting with new friends at First Baptist Guelph 

On Sunday, we participated in worship at First Baptist Church, Guelph. We are very thankful for the welcome we received and for the evident desire of people to share in the ministry happening in Africa. 

People often ask us about how they can get involved in the global work of CBM. There are many ways that we see individuals and churches participating, including financial support through becoming a "partner in mission" with our family or engaging other important programs. Volunteering through a short term mission opportunity or an educational program like Praxis. Mobilizing others in your church or community to learn, advocate, and pray for international missions.

We are also excited to see the emergence of the 323 Collective, an opportunity for artisans in Canada and the Global South to share the creative passions to improve the lives of the vulnerable and marginalized.

323 Collective
Handmade. For Good.

The 323 Collective is a new program that Canadian Baptist Ministries will be launching this October. More than an online store, the 323 Collective comes out of Colossians 3:23 which encourages us to use our vocation as an expression of our love for God -- "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord."

There are a couple of really amazing things that are taking shape through this program. First, it provides a marketplace for groups involved in microenterprise development. Erica and our friend, Brenda Halk, have been working together to connect Canadian Churches with self-help group ministries in Kenya where women are improving their household income and access to education through beautiful handmade scarves. Scarved purchased through the 323 Collective directly benefit these women.

Brenda Halk sharing about the 323 Collective

Secondly, the 323 Collective provides a platform for Canadian artisans to donate their in-kind gifts to support the CBM program of their choice. When launches next month, people will be able to purchase handmade mittens made by Muriel Bent of Middleton, Nova Scotia. The proceeds  from Muriel's mittens are being used to support important work in India where CBM is helping girls attend school and rural farmers to improve food security.

We hope to share more about the 323 Collective as it comes online this October. We are excited to see how God might use the talents and giftedness of artists and craftspeople to bless and strengthen people around the world.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

On the road in Ontario

Toronto, Ontario

Our Canadian home assignment has gotten off to a big start. We are thankful for the wonderful times that we've shared with family and friends in Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritime provinces. 

A big thank you to all of the churches that have welcomed us with such gracious hospitality. Over the last few weeks, we've appreciated times with many congregations in New Minas, Salisbury, O'Leary, North Burlington, Lakefield, Campbellford, and Smith Falls. 

This next week takes us to Waterloo, Guelph, Mississauga, Hamilton, and Scarborough. We will then be traveling to Lake Muskoka for a CBM Leadership Retreat, before returning to Charlottetown for Thanksgiving.

Erica modeling scarves for a new Canadian Baptist Ministries
program that will be launched later this fall.

Over the past two weeks, we've also had a few opportunities to connect with our colleagues at the CBM offices in Mississauga. Along with work, we've enjoyed some great laughter and times of catching up. 

Ava has been homeschooling every day with mommy. There have been lots of fun social studies to accompany math, reading, and language arts. Today she presented to us her research on Blue Jays.

Both Tristan and Emma are doing well. Thanks to Facetime, we have been talking to them both pretty much every day. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Up and Coming

On the Road in Ontario and Atlantic Canada!

We are excited to be visiting with churches and supporters of Canadian Baptist Ministries throughout the next four months. 

Here is a quick look at some of our up and coming speaking times for September and October 2017. You are very welcome to drop in for times of worship and sharing!

Sunday, September 10 at 9:15 am and 11:00 am

September 15-17

Sunday, September 17 at 10:00 am

Sunday, September 17 at 11:00 am

Sunday, September 17 at 6:00 pm

September 18, Evening potluck and service

Glen Acres Baptist Church, Waterloo, Ontario
September 23, South Central Women's Breakfast at 9 am

Sunday, September 24 at 10:00 am

MacNeill Baptist Church, Hamilton, Ontario
September 26 at 7:30 pm

Fallingbrook Heights Baptist, The Church at the Centre
Scarborough, Ontario 
Sunday, October 1 at 10:30 am

First Baptist Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Sunday, October 8 at 9:30 am 11:00 am

Hillside Baptist Church Men's Retreat, Moncton, New Brunswick
October 13

October 14 missions brunch gathering

Hillside Baptist Church Women's Gathering
October 14 evening gathering

Hillside Baptist Church, New Brunswick
Sunday, October 15 at 9:00 and 11:00 am

Lancaster Baptist Church, Saint John, New Brunswick
October 17 at 1:30 pm for the Women's Missionary Society 

RiverCross Church, Saint John, New Brunswick
October 17 evening gathering

October 21 Colchester Pictou Association Gathering 9:30 am

Sunday, October 22 at 11:00 am

October 22 evening supper and service

October 23 at 7:00 pm

Canadian Baptist Ministries, Mississauga, Ontario
October 27 and 28 Board Meetings

Geary Baptist Church, New Brunswick
October 28 at 7:00 pm

Douglas Baptist Church, New Brunswick
Sunday, October 29 at 10:30 am

Brunswick Street Baptist Church, Fredericton, New Brunswick
October 29 York Association Meetings at 6:00 pm

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Freshman

Tristan settling in at Acadia University
Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Erica and Tristan in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

On Saturday, we moved Tristan into residence at Acadia University where he is beginning his undergraduate studies in theatre. Over the past week, we've appreciated wonderful times of celebration with our family and friends in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. From bonfires in Kentville, to barbecues in Moncton, and cake in Brackley Tristan has received a great welcome!

Hanging out with uncle Troy, Tyler and Colton in Riverview, New Brunswick

During our time in New Brunswick, Tristan worked with the Oasis Kids program during the annual assembly of Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada. During this week, we've also appreciated times with the Salusbury and O'Leary Baptist Churches. It has been a great start to our Canadian Home Assignment.

Aaron and Tristan in Brackley, Prince Edward Island
Auntie Autumn and TK
Ava's wildflower bouquet
Exploring Brackley
Hiking the beautiful trails of Brackley
Making our own bridge
Aaron with our niece, Arizona.
Visiting with our Island family
TK with Opal, Elliot, and Dublin
Hanging out with Grampy, uncle Justin, and aunties Amanda and Autumn.
Grampy and Grammy seeing Tristan off
Tristan saying goodbye on PEI

Over this week, we will be helping Tristan as he gets all of the little things checked off his re-entry list. From registering with Medicare and a mobile plan, to setting up bank accounts and a mail box, it is a long list. We will also be sharing at the New Minas Baptist Church on Sunday, before we travel back to Charlottetown to pick up Ava for our journey to Ontario where we will be on a speaking itnerary until Thanksgiving. 

All moved in!