Wednesday, November 29, 2017

World AIDS Day

The Guardians of Hope is Canadian Baptist Ministries 
international response to HIV and AIDS.

On this Friday, December 1, people around the world will remember those who have been affected by HIV and AIDS. Many schools, churches, and community organizations will dedicate time to raising awareness about AIDS and the global spread of the HIV virus. 

UNAIDS estimates that over one million people died of AIDS related illness in 2016. Currently, there are nearly 37 million people living with HIV and AIDS around the world.

The 2017 World AIDS Day will explore the challenges people face in exercising their right to health. There are free resources available online for anyone interested in raising awareness and getting involved.

As Canadian Baptists, we are working with partner churches in Africa and India to respond to the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS and to support caregivers that are providing for AIDS orphans. This program is called the Guardians of Hope

Since 2004, the Guardians of Hope have been mobilized in churches and communities where HIV/AIDS has brought fear, poverty, and death. Together with these local groups, we are bringing hope and providing support, education, and help.

Please consider how you can be a part of bringing hope to the world this Christmas and visit where Canadian Baptists are working together to share the transforming love of Christ which touches every dimension of life. 

You can give the gift of hope this year by 
providing education for vulnerable children.

Monday, November 27, 2017

A History Full of Hope in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Dartmouth one of Canada's oldest cities on the East coast. 

This past weekend, Aaron spoke about the ministry of Canadian Baptists in Africa with congregations from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. We are grateful to the congregations of the Bethel Baptist and Stevens Road Baptist Churches for hosting these events.
On Sunday morning, as the congregation gathered at Stevens Road Baptist Church, I was struck by a sign painted at the front of the sanctuary "A History Full of Hope". As we have been talking about the hope of the church in Africa, it has been so rich to encounter the living hope of churches in Canada. Each congregation that we have connected with over the past three months has a unique story of how they are responding to the brokeness and needs of their communities with compassion and faith.
Dartmouth was settled in 1750, a year after neighbouring Halifax on the opposite side of the harbour. Baptist churches were first formed here 185 years ago. The Reverend Richard Preston, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1818 as a freed slave from Virginia, established the first black congregation in 1832. He would later form the African Baptist Association. Other baptist churches, such as First Baptist Dartmouth, were formed in 1843.

Each of these congregations gathered together with a common conviction that they, and their communities, would be a part of God's redemptive story. Together they have served both locally and globally as people of faith.

Canada is not free of the brokenness of poverty, conflict, or despair, but we are encouraged that across Canada congregations are moving out beyond the walls of their sanctuaries to bear witness to the hope of Christ in word and deed. 

Aaron with Rev. John Smith and Rev. Vance Arbeau, 
Bethel United Baptist Church, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Today, a vibrant community of churches make up the ecumenical people of Dartmouth. These churches are active in responding to the social and spiritual needs of their neighbours in tangible ways. From caring for shut-ins and the elderly to standing up for issues of social justice, churches are on the front line of bringing hope to the hopeless.

At the heart of the Gospel, we are called to approach the world of our time with hope. Ultimately, this is about responding to the unknown with faith rather than fear -- Holding in our hearts the transforming love and power of Christ.

Please use these links to learn more about the work of Canadian Baptist Ministries and the Canadian Baptist of Atlantic Canada

Aaron with CBM alumni, Shirley Freckelton
It was a particular delight to meet, inperson, Shirley Freckelton. She had served with CBM for thirteen years in India, before she joined the first group of Canadian Baptist missionaries that came to work in Kenya with the African Christian Church and Schools throughout the 1970s. In Kenya, the legacy of Shirley's ministry continues to live on in the ACC&S Women in Action movement which she had given leadership.
Stevens Road Baptist Church

On Sunday morning, Aaron was hosted by Rev. Christopher Drew and the congregation of Stevens Road Baptist. It was exciting to see the diverse activities that the church is leading to bless the people of its community through intergenerational ministries.

Here are a few more pictures from this past weekend.

So wonderful to connect with our friend Cheryl Ann Beals
director of clergy formation and health for the CBAC.

Great to see our friend Natasha Bowlby

Friday, November 24, 2017

Nairobi Bound

Erica and Ava departed for Kenya this evening from Halifax.

Since August, we have had such a rich time connecting with friends and supporters of Canadian Baptist Ministries work in Africa. It has not been easy being so far from our daughter Emma. The uncertainty around the Kenyan election has been a challenge as well. We are grateful for the peace of knowing that we can trust a God of perfect love. 

Tonight, Erica and Ava left for Kenya. They will touch down in London for a few hours and then on to Nairobi, where they are excited to be reunited with Emma. 

As an International American school, Rosslyn celebrates the American Thanksgiving holiday. This will give Erica and Ava a few extra days to get over jetlag before Ava jumps back into school with her friends.

Erica saying goodbye to TK.

It felt very weird for Tristan and I (Aaron) to be left waving at the Halifax airport as the girls disappeared to their gate. Unlike our previous home assignments, we had to plan this longer Canadian itinerary in stages. As Erica returns to Nairobi to settle Ava back into school and wrap up year-end programming responsibilities, I will complete the final four weeks of speaking before travelling back with Tristan once he finishes his University exams.

We are all looking forward to celebrating Christmas together in Nairobi.

Ava very proud of her completed birdhouse project

The Harbour House feels very quiet tonight as Tristan and I stoke the wood stove and get ready for bed. Ava's singing, cartwheeling, and dancing, no longer reverberate throughout the house. Her little adding machine and play store also remain silent. In her absence, she has left us little stacks of home-made money, a handmade birdhouse, a wooden unicorn toy, and lots of heartfelt notes. 

Looking back, these past weeks have been a wonderful time of reconnecting with life and friendships in Eastern Canada. The salt air, crisp mornings, and lingering sunsets have been so wonderful. Earlier in the week, Ava even experienced flurries and made her first snowballs... which she promptly threw at her dad. 

Along with the beauty and fun of living in Nova Scotia, we also have been blessed to visits with churches from O'leary, Prince Edward Island, to Fredericton, New Brunswick. This past Sunday, we had the pleasure of worshipping with the Middleton Baptist Church, Nova Scotia.

This coming weekend, Aaron will be in Dartmouth at Bethel Baptist Church at 6:00 pm on Saturday, November 25, and at Stevens Road Baptist at 10:00 am on Sunday morning.

For all that God has blessed us with, we say, "Thank you!"

Saturday, November 11, 2017

We will Remember Them

Ava and Grammie earlier this past week at Harbour House,
Halls Harbour, Nova Scotia.

It was well below zero degrees in Dartmouth this morning, as Erica left on her flight to Ontario. She will be speaking tonight in Sarnia for the Middlesex/Lambton/Huron Baptist Association gathering, and on Sunday at Forrest Baptist Church.

Ava and I are bracing for a chilly Remembrance Day, as we are in Halifax this weekend, speaking at West End Baptist Church on Sunday morning.

This is Ava's first Remembrance Day in Canada. As part of this past week's homeschooling, she learned about why we wear bright red poppies and the significance of November 11th for Canadians and members of the Commonwealth. 

During a ceremony at Acadia, we joined in a time of reflection and silence to honour the sacrifice of the men and women that have given their lives in service. Rev. Dr. Harry Gardner shared his personal connection with Remembrance Day, his father a first World War veteran. Reading Laurence Binton's "For the Fallen", he shared:
"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them."
Working with refugees and churches living in areas of conflict, we know how devastating it is to live in times when peace is broken and nations are torn apart by war. We do not take for granted the sacrifices made on our behalf.

This past week, we had great opportunities to meet with friends and supports that came to visit with us in the Annapolis Valley. We also appreciate the opportunity to speak at the Acadia Divinity College chapel about the work of Canadian Baptist Ministries in Africa.

It was also a delight to have my mother, Marie Kenny, join us along with some friends that stayed with us at Harbour House. Grammie had a lot of fun combing the beaches for sea glass with Ava and hearing stories from Tristan about his experiences during this first semester at the University.

As our time in Canada draws to an end, we are so grateful for these times of together.

Tristan and Grammie at Cutten House, Wolfville.
Grammie teaching Ava to knit her first wool scarf.
Visiting our friends Daryl MacKenzie and Andrew Myers,
at Just Us Coffee, Wolfville.

We have a full week ahead, including preaching next Sunday at Middleton Baptist Church.
Wishing you grace and peace this Remembrance Day.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

It is curtains for him

Bay of Fundy lobster in Halls Harbour, Nova Scotia

We have had such a great start to November here in Nova Scotia. This past week, we have been connecting with friends and supporters from the Annapolis Valley and the South Shore. We are excited to be sharing with the faculty and students of the Acadia Divinity College tomorrow, Wednesday, November 8th.

Tonight we are enjoying our harbour home perched on windswept cliffs of this rustic fishing village. The tide clock hanging in the kitchen marks the rhythms of the dramatic tidal shift that swells and retreats into and out of the Bay of Fundy lifting lobster boats from the pebbled shore over forty feet into their briny waves. 

There is something nostalgic about this place. The salt air and buoy lined cottages draw us back to childhood memories of visiting the small ports of Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island. We are so thankful for the opportunity to share with Ava a taste of our Maritime heritage.

Harbour House, Halls Harbour, Nova Scotia
Halls Harbour at low tide on a Monday night
Darrell Bustin speaking at Centreville Baptist, Nova Scotia
This past weekend, Aaron, and our colleagues Darrell Bustin and Randy Stanton spoke at the Eastern Valley Association meetings at Centreville Baptist Church. On Sunday, Bridgwater and Western Shore Baptist Churches hosted us to speak about the ministry of CBM in Africa.
Travelling on the South Shore of Nova Scotia
Our good friend Joel Wentzell and Aaron at Western Shore Baptist Church
Mahone Bay friends with us at Western Shore Baptist Church
Ava, Nancy, and Erica at Sunken Lake, visiting Nancy's quilting 
ministry for girls at New Minas Baptist Church
Erica with our good friends Catherine and Luwanna
Back on Prince Edward Island
Halloween in Brackley, Prince Edward Island
Grampy and Grammie with their first Trick-or-Treater
Happy Halloween!
A huge highlight for Ava was being able to experience a Canadian Haloween with all of her cousins living on Prince Edward Island. She was the pirate villain, Uma, from Disney's Descendants.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Praxis: CBM's Best Kept Secret!

Our first experience with CBM's PRAXIS program 
in Kenya, way back in 2008.

We find it amazing that so few people in our Canadian Baptist churches and seminaries seem to know about the Praxis global discipleship program. Chances are that you are in that category of people who haven't heard about what seems to us to be CBM's best-kept secret.

Praxis is an opportunity for emerging Christian leaders in masters and doctoral level studies to experience and reflect upon the mission of God in the world by traveling to visit with CBM partners around the world. 

Since moving to Africa to serve with CBM in 2006, we have hosted two different Praxis groups with our Kenyan and Rwandan partners. Each time, we have found praxis to be a transforming experience.

Dr. Lois Mitchel leading the 2017 Praxis team to Bolivia

In conjunction with our denominational seminaries, CBM is presently receiving applications for the 2018 PRAXIS Global Discipleship scholarship program that will be returning to Bolivia, on May 2-18, 2018. 

Applications are due by November 21, 2017.

This scholarship program is available upon application to a select group of CBM affiliated students enrolled in an accredited theological school and pursuing graduate-level seminary studies (at a Masters or Doctoral level). 

Each scholarship, estimated at $5500, provides the opportunity for the accepted participant to engage in missiological reflection on a significant issue related to Gospel and Culture in a global context.

In Bolivia, the participants will be hosted by the Bolivian Baptist Union and will have the opportunity, alongside Bolivian participants, to study, reflect and see practical examples of Integral Mission being implemented through the local church. 

The theme of this year's course is "Integral Mission and Creation Care". Dr. Lois Mitchell, the professor of record, will travel with the participants and will lead in this reflection. 

If you are interested or perhaps know of someone who would be, please follow this link and Learn More Here. Or contact Adrian Gardner at 1.905.821.3533.