Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Victorian Anniversary

 Nine Years...

           Today, in my devotional time, the verse that spoke to me out of my daily reading was, "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6:9) As I meditated on it's relevance to my own walk, I suddenly noticed the date at the top of my journal entry, March 13, 2012. My mind suddenly flashed back to another day, another time, when it all was just beginning.....       

          On March 13, 2003 we boarded a plane bound for Victoria, BC, expecting to spend the next five days touring and praying over the city. Several months prior, Cameron had spoken to me of a growing desire to pray for Victoria, which he had mentioned only once before. During our time at Calvary Chapel Bible College back in 2000, Cameron's father was living in Victoria, managing the MacDonald House, Cridge's Adult Traumatized Male Care Facility. In a phone conversation with his newly born-again son, Cam's father unexpectedly asked Cameron to pray about coming up to Victoria to plant a church. A bit taken back, Cam agreed to pray for a new church plant. Two years later, we were married and managing a Christian radio station in the States when the Lord pressed Victoria on Cameron's heart. Together we began to pray for the city and seek the Lord's will for us. I recall asking Cam one day, "Is God calling you to pastor a church in Victoria?" Cam said, "I honestly don't know." We decided to visit Victoria on a prayer trip and asked the Lord for provision to buy airline tickets. Exactly 24 hours later, Cam's older brother called us offering two free tickets to anywhere in North America. So, on March 13, we stepped off the plane at the Victoria International Airport and began what has been the most exciting adventure of our lives.

         Two days into our visit, we were certain of the Lord's leading and went to the Immigration Centre to look into a residency application for me, as Cameron had possessed Legal Resident Status since he was nine months old. During our appointment, we were informed that due to a retroactive law passed in his absence, his status was in jeopardy. He would only be allowed to maintain Residency if he remained in Canada. Having prayed about it, we believed this was the Lord's hand in regards to timing, and I returned home alone to pack up our house and run the station until a new manager could be hired. As Cam likes to say, "With five days underwear...", he began a home and job search in earnest. By the time I arrived with our things, assisted by Cam's father, Cam had a job as a Pedi-cab driver, giving tours of the downtown waterfront via pay-per-minute passenger tricycle, and had rented an under-height basement suite in the Shelbourne area. We were thrilled to be here.

          For the next four years, we grew in the Lord and in family size, while serving in worship and youth ministry, the youth prison, and an elderly home. During that time, our faith was constantly stretched and tested, as we trusted the Lord for provision through several years of financial hardship, and now look back with great amazement and joy at all He accomplished in us and for us. Like his father, Cameron eventually found work with The Cridge, as the Activity Coordinator for Cridge Village Assisted Living Centre. During this time, the Lord continued to stir Cameron's heart about the ministry, and during the Canadian Calvary Chapel Conference in 2005, he clearly heard the call of the Lord to pastor. Two years later, in 2007, Cameron was ordained by Pastor Ed Hickey of Calvary Chapel Sunshine Coast and Pastor Brian Brodersen of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.
          He accepted his first pastorate of a new church plant in North Saanich, called Acacia Christian Fellowship, where he functioned as the teaching pastor for three years. With a big vision and a heart for outreach, Cameron often held additional services, Bible studies, outreaches, and prayer meetings on the surrounding Gulf Islands, as well as in different communities on Vancouver Island. He held several large conferences at the Fair Grounds open to all the churches on the islands, and a number of smaller events as well. It was a busy season in our lives, and the Lord continued to add to our family. As of spring 2010, we had four beautiful children, all five and under! Those were challenging days for us, trying to figure out the balance of ministry and family life.  We learned a lot during our time serving at Acacia, and made many lasting friendships that we are so blessed to still have.

         The fall of 2010 brought changes for us, as Cam accepted the offer to serve at Calvary Chapel Sunshine Coast, assisting Pastor Ed Hickey. After an incredible year of learning with a wonderful group of people, we returned to Victoria purposed to wait upon the Lord and make ourselves available to Him for what He desired to do. We began by simply teaching our own children and holding services as a family in our home. Then in September 2011, we were led to open our home for Sunday morning services as a new church plant we called simply, "Church Victoria."  The Lord added to our church family and we are now in our sixth month meeting together as a body. In December, we took up public residence in the Wellesley building on Blanshard, and in late January, we became affiliated with Calvary Chapel, a fellowship of like-minded churches with a focus on expository teaching of the Bible and God's grace. Our church body is blessed to include a number of those precious relationships formed during our first years of ministry, and a number of new ones, equally precious.

          We are immensely humbled and feel so privileged to be called to serve the Lord in this city that we love. In looking back on these past nine years, there have been so many things we have learned through the trials and triumphs granted to us by the same Hand, that we could never doubt the Lord's leading in all areas of our lives. He is so faithful to guide two willing, but weak, individuals into His perfect plan for both their own lives and this city. March 13th, 2012 marks our ninth anniversary on this mission field given to us by God, and with it we can but glorify the One who does all things well! May He receive the more glory each passing year as we continue on in this work He has given us by His grace. "Oh magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together!" (Psalm 34:3).

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