Pastor Mike?

Random thought for the week: I see myself as the entrepreneurial type – action oriented, results, individual pursuits, can do attitude, independent, quick to discern, etc. I don’t often think of myself as a pastor. Recently I have been confronted with needs & issues which require me to – listen, wait, draw out, helping someone in need – to name a few postures. Generally, being a pastor to people. It is a stretching and frustrating journey as I wait for results (even the word ‘results’ betrays my nature!). I think it best to operate in our strengths as God made us for something. That said, I do see the benefit of being stretched and growing in our areas of weakness.

Goodbyes

We have said goodbye to too many people the past few months. This week is even harder. Last month, a member of our Mosaic community got married and then moved to Singapore. Two days ago Carol and I said farewell to Stuart a friend that was reuniting with his family in Australia. These friends are travelling to places we may never go to; and they may never come back here. Tomorrow we say farewell to our friend Mridu, who is from Nepal & has been living with us for 8 months. She however will be studying at Harvard for 3 years. There is a possibility we will see her again. All of these goodbyes are making me long for stability in relationships. Aside from selfish motivations, there is the mutual benefit we receive as we share in all things – caring for one another, learning from one another, and being united in the Spirit (to name a few). I never thought about this aspect of being in a community here – our focus has been on growth/development of a church and you tend to view leaving as a detriment. However, if we have truly been living in the Spirit and a spiritual community, these people will have grown up in the Lord and they go on prepared to plant the seed’s of Christ love elsewhere. Goodbyes then can be seen as throwing seeds into the air to take root elsewhere.

Home Again

Carol has returned home after visiting her father for his 80th birthday. I’m not one to get homesick as I am a fairly independent person and a phone call can pacify me. However, I missed her alot and the past month I have really been homesick for my family in the USA. It doesn’t help that I have a 20th high school reunion, family reunion, family home being sold, and I listened to John Denver and James Taylor for the past few weeks. Memories of my past kept flooding my mind and also regrets I have or regrets I will have if I don’t say some goodbyes and make some effort to reconnect. In 6 years I have been to the USA 4 times now so Ireally shouldn’t be that homesick (IMO). But I cannot deny it so I’ve booked tickets to visit family and friends from June 19-24th!

Like A Sad Song (by John Denver)

Usually in the morning I’m filled with sweet belonging and everything is beautiful to see.
Even when it’s raining, the sound of heaven singing is simply joyful music to me.
But sometimes I feel like a sad song, like I’m all alone without you.

So many different places, a million smiling faces, life is so incredible to me.
Especially to be near you and how it is to touch you, oh, paradise was made for you and me.
Sometimes I feel like a sad song, like I’m all alone without you.

I know that life goes on just perfectly and everything is just the way that it should be.
Still there are times when my heart feels like breaking and anywhere is where I’d rather be.
Oh, and in the nighttime, I know that it’s the right time to hold you close and say I love you so.
To have someone to share with and someone I can care with
and that is why I wanted you to know.
Sometimes I feel like a sad song, like I’m all alone without you, without you.

In the home stretch?

We are entering a really busy month. I’m still trying to figure out if we are ‘in the home stretch’ or just starting the journey.

  1. We have introduced in Mosaic the concept of the ‘promise’ – a commitment to particular practices that will help Mosaic live out its vision. Commitment is more easily adopted in secular groups (teams, organizations, etc.) but when it comes to the church, people tend to want preference and consumption without sacrifice or participation. We need to go further in helping people see the biblical basis for commitment or covenanting. I see this as  matter of aligning our head & hearts with what God wants for our community. That isn’t always easy to correct our preferences, traditions, habits, etc. and align them with what God calls us to. That is discipleship though.
  2. We have two sets of guests arriving – Dan & Bert. One set are friends who will be here for a week. One will stay on until May. We also have my sister in law and niece coming. They’ll be here to help with our kids while Carol and I are away for 5 days at a conference in Portugal (we’ve also been able to tack on 4 days in Paris – for FREE!!!).
  3. This week will also be heavy with conversations about our future (I’ll post in a couple weeks in detail) and the reason for Dan & Bert’s visit. It is the beginning steps of a longer and more settled future for us.
  4. We are starting lent and this elads up to Easter…school breaks…etc. It is always a packed time.

However, I am tending toward the positive with all this. It is good stuff, healthy, exciting and I see it as the culmination of things that started long ago (2000 years ago for one event!). I see it as both the home stretch and the start of a new chapter.

Why?

Christmas day some new friends joined us. They are from Pakistan and so the news of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s assination takes on new meaning. Christmas day we spoke of the politics in Pakistan, the culture, the traditions. I mentioned how around the table we can know one another in a special way – the same way Jesus and his disciples came to know one another.

This news makes me sad and we mourn for their loss as this touches deep into their hearts, and thus ours. Why does this happen? 

International Christmas

I’m posting early as it is going to get busy. I almost finished our shopping, our tree is decorated, Sophie has her party today (she is Mary in the play), and the kids get out at 230pm and then have off for 2 weeks.

Our Christmas meal is shaping up to be an ‘international’ feast. Along with Carol’s sister’s family, we have a Pakistani family, a Congolese/French family, a Nepali friend, and possibly a Danish friend. This means we cannot have ham (Muslim culture) nor beef (Nepali/Hindu culture). We wouldn’t do beef anyway so we will be having turkey, chicken, and I’d like to try a salmon filet. There will be international people so I’m hopeful we will also have international foods 🙂

The next day we head over to our English neighbours for Boxing Day – the term originates in Victorian era Britain, for the day after Christmas, when the rich would box up gifts and bring them to the poor, and also to their own servants. It will be a full few days in addition to our Mosaic gathering on the 23rd and the one we host at our flat on the 30th. I’m glad the kids are off, we have a roof over our heads, and that God is blessing us with these wonderful friends.

If you remember please pray for Ruth a community member and Sheila, the mother of Peter another community member.

Have a Happy Christmas and great Hogmanay!

Mike for the family

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Goodbye

Yesterday at our Mosaic gathering we said goodbye to a family we have known for a little over 2 years. The Crockett Family is from Australia and today they board a plane to head back to their homeland. For the past 2 years we have taken turns walking the kids too and from school. This year I collected their 2 kids and Margaret walked ours to school. It is through this link that we became friends and journeyed in life together. Saying goodbye is one of the hardest things about living here; many people come from all over the world to work here and are here only for a short while. We have been blessed to get to know them and we will miss their friendship. Here is a photo of Lily & their youngest daughter Megan – it says it all.

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