Sunday, April 26, 2015

Waiting and Transitions

Part of me doesn't know how to begin this post and part of me is filled with so many different emotions, I could write a novel. I know there are many who were shocked to learn this week that I will be leaving Canada at the end of May. For those who have been walking closely with me, it came as no surprise.

For the past couple of years, I have wondered if God might have something else for me. I have really been missing being able to be in children's ministry more full-time. It is what "fills my cup".  When I did try to work 40 hours/week and serve in my church in children's ministry, I basically hit burn-out and had to give up much. Over time, I knew God was releasing me - at some point - from my role with the Canadian National Baptist Convention as the assistant for the Missions division and leader of Missions education and promotion for our churches across Canada. For most of last year, I was praying lots about what God was saying about my life and future. Did He still want me in Canada in a different role? Over the course of time, I knew He was releasing me from Canada. The whole serving in Canada thing in the first place just kinda happened...the whole releasing me from Canada just kinda happened. It's kinda hard to explain it...

Also, I have sensed for a while that it is time to live closer to family. It's just something that needs to happen at this point in our lives and I know God is saying it's ok for me to do that. I'm grateful for my family's support. They have supported me through my initial calling to study in seminary here, and my ministry roles across this great country, though there were times they did not understand why I was doing what I was doing. Through the course of everything, I have not really sought out any new ministry role. I was just waiting to see what God was saying about my future. There was one possibility for ministry that I thought I might have, but it was not meant to be.

A couple weeks ago, I made some decisions about my future and I have a peace about it. Due to the course of events in my life the past few years and even months, I feel it is time for me to take a mini-sabbatical. My last day with the CNBC will be May 22. Crazy to think that this time next month, I will have wrapped up my time there after 6 1/2 years. I will take the last week of May to finalize things for my move south. My stuff will be shipped and I'll fly. I'm still finalizing my exact leave date. I will stay with my parents in Mississippi for a time as they have room for me.  I'll spend the summer with family and friends, volunteering in different ministries, and just resting in whatever way God would have me to. I may need to get a part-time job seeing I'll have to be paying for healthcare! I really have no idea what God has past a couple of months but I know He will show me in time. I'll be getting my resume out soon enough.  Some have asked me if I am excited about this new journey I'll be on. I'm not quite there yet cause I have tons to do between now and when I leave!! I am relieved to have a plan.

Last Saturday, I attended a Lifeway VBS training. I learned that the theme verse for this year is: "Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21. This is the verse I am claiming for this next season of life. God has used this verse to help confirm that my decision is what I am to do...that He goes before me...and that He has a plan. I will know in time. I am to trust Him.

This week has been one filled with all sorts of emotions as I have shared with more people what is going on with me. Canada has been home for most of my adult life. It is what I have known. I have an incredible support system here. Without the prayers of many, the support of many...near and far...and of course, by God's grace, I could not have made it through the past couple of years and months.  God has allowed me to be a part of so many different ministries and meet so many people. I am overwhelmed by His goodness and faithfulness. I am sad because I will be leaving so many dear friends who are like family to me. I am looking forward to being with family more. I will continue to be a HUGE mobilizer for missions in Canada and just maybe get to come back on mission trips myself! I will continue to love missionaries and support them however I can. Because of my role with the Convention, this passion has grown even more.  I will leave a HUGE part of my heart here...

As I have much to do in the next weeks, I would ask that you pray for me and the many details surrounding my move:

  • I am training someone at work to take on some of what I have been doing. Pray for transitions at CNBC. 
  • Decisions about moving my stuff, sorting, packing, etc 
  • my car sells quickly 
  • all the "see ya laters" I am making 
  • financial resources as it's not cheap to make an international move 
  • leaving Canada 
  • getting settled into life back in the southern US 
  • for the new ministry role God has for me 
  • my family 
  • my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health 

Thank you for your prayers and support during this season of my life! It means so much to me! I will try to post as I have more to share.

"So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10. This is the verse for the next few weeks in my grade 3/4 Sunday School class! Ok, God, I know, I know...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Newest CNBC International Workers

It's been way too long since I have blogged. Sure didn't mean to go a whole year without sharing what's been going on in my world. I have no idea who reads this or if folks even really care. But it is an avenue that allows me to share about my ministry in Canada and life here and for me to possibly go back and remember those things.
I wanted to share about my dear friends who are our newest 'international workers' that the Canadian National Baptist Convention (CNBC) appointed and commissioned this summer. Definitely the highlight of my year as God allowed me to be a part of this process with them and that special evening! Working with those special friends who serve overseas is the highlight of my "job". We have a unique partnership with the International Mission Board (IMB) that allows us to appoint our own international workers, IMB doing the training and logistical/field support with our churches providing the salaries through the Cooperative Program and International Mission Offering/Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. We currently have 5 units on the field. The Parra family lived in Cochrane while Cesar attended seminary. He and Mary worked for the CNBC. We ended up at the same church, The Pathway Church, in Calgary as Cesar served as associate pastor in Evangelism. I had the privilege of teaching daughter Rebecca in Sunday School and serving with Mary in children's ministry. Cesar has been in Spain for a week, seeing his visa came before the rest of the family. He went to look for them a house and schooling for the kids. Mary got news yesterday that her and the children's visas came through! PTL! We have been praying for this since July! We know it's all in God's timing. Should you be interested in receiving their updates, just let me know and I will have them include you. Pray for Mary and the children as they prepare to leave Toronto and go to Spain and as Cesar continues on with getting things done in Spain. Pray for continued open doors in Spain for people to hear the Gospel and accept Jesus. Follow them at:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

moving to cochrane

yep, I'm moving again...but this time, it's really "just up the road" where our seminary and office are...and where I spent the first few years of this journey. I've lived in the basement suite of the Shelton home since moving back to Calgary in October 2008. I didn't really expect to be here "this long" as I thought this might be a short term thing until I found something in Cochrane. But my little home grew on me and so has the Shelton crew. They have been the family to me during this season of my life and I am forever grateful. I'm sure we'll continue to have visits and meals together...And of course, I will continue to see Bob and Debbie at work!

Bob and Debbie decided to downsize a few months ago but the move came quicker than any of us expected. I'll be moving my things out this Saturday into the garage and basement of a seminary owned 2 bedroom off-campus condo. The condo is being renovated so I'll stay in seminary guest housing until I head south for Christmas and fully move into the condo in the new year. I'm glad it's working out for me to rent the condo. I know I will enjoy my new place, though it will be much bigger than what I've gotten used to having. Plenty of room for family and friends to visit! I will not miss the 20 minute commute into Cochrane, especially in the winter and that big hill we have to travel down. Most of you know I am not a morning person, so I know living in Cochrane will be better for me in getting to work a bit before 8AM :) I have loved the town of Cochrane since the first time I visited in summer 1996. Just the size town for me, yet close enough to the big city...and of course, the Rockies!

The timing is crazy with moving. We are super busy and a bit overwhelmed at work and a few days ago, I got a cold so that is no fun. I'm glad it's a 4 day work week!

I ask you to pray for me as I continue to pack and move on Saturday with the help of a few friends. Please also pray for my physical health and that I will be healed from this cold and God will continue to give me the strength I need. Pray for me in this transition time and all that comes with moving. Pray also for Bob and Debbie and daughter Abbie and her husband Cam (who have been living in the house since late spring) as they all move next week. We will all be in Cochrane in different places.

If you want my new mailing address, just email me or FB me and I can send that to you. I won't have a landline, so will continue to have the same cell number.

Signing off from the community of Tuscany in Calgary...

Monday, October 10, 2011

the adventures of a three-year old

Looking back through pictures, I realized that I forgot to blog about this...
So when I was back in the US for the first few months of the year, I split my time between my parents in south MS and my sister's near Nashville. On one of the last trips to my sister's, I was cleaning out the car to repack it with all my stuff and head back to my parents' place. My sister was in the middle of moving boxes from their front dining room. My three year old nephew, Knox, was playing out in the front yard by himself, but I was in and out of the house so kept a watch on him. Christy was able to also keep a look out on him from the dining room windows. It was a beautiful sunny day with lots of leaves on the ground. We noticed Knox playing in the leaves but didn't think much of it. Well, on a trip outside to the car, here is what I found:

Little Man Knox was playing with the leaves alright! And we thought we were watching him, but of course you can take your eyes of a kid for just a few minutes...

I didn't do anything but holler inside: "Christy, come look what your son has done!" Christy and I thought all this was hilarious and we were laughing so hard. We knew we had to let Knox know that you don't do that to the inside of a car, which was hard when you are laughing. Christy let him know, but he was oblivious and went on doing whatever he was playing with. She felt bad that he had gotten my car dirty, but I was just glad I hadn't packed everything yet. As I write, I now remember that I even found small sticks in the hubcaps! I also recall how we both said that we needed that laugh that day...Christy and I managed to get the car cleaned, though I think I still was finding leaves in my car a few weeks later!

oh the memories!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Reflecting on Ten Years

(Be prepared for a lengthy reflection...)

Has it really been over ten years since I moved to Canada to study at seminary? Has it really been almost ten years when I began a focus on children's ministry as a seminary intern and then carried on full-time after I graduated? Have I really been friends with so many incredible people (some for 10 years) here who have become like family to me? Has it really been almost three years since I began my "job" with the CNBC? Have I really had six addresses in ten years?! (I just realized that today...and that I'll be adding another address to that list as I look for a place in Cochrane.) Where have the years gone?

Since mid-August, I've been reflecting on all this, as that was the time of year I moved to the seminary hill. Never would I have thought I would plant my life here, especially since I thought that after graduation, I would move back to the US and be a children's minister in a church. In the spring of 2001, I was close to the end of my second year of teaching and I felt the Holy Spirit telling me that I wouldn't be teaching in the fall. I soon realized God was saying "fully surrender your life to me". I surrenedered to full-time ministry and really, the rest is history! I found my journal from spring 2001, when I knew God was calling me to study at Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary. I made a preview visit and here's an entry: "Lord, I am in awe at things You've shown me on this trip and people You've brought into my life in just over 24 hours. I know you want me here - in August! There's no doubt and I pray You'll prepare me and others...I am in awe at what You're doing right now and that I've finally, I guess, said 'yes', I'm to be here...I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is it, but won't believe it until I'm here!" In August of that year: "Lord, I am just in awe of how providing You are and unworthy I am!" (I saw God meeting financial needs in big ways.) I just felt led to share those things here. I am sure that if I sat down and read my journals, there's ton more entries like that of how I was in awe of God and how He has provided.

When I reflect over my time in Canada, it's probably those things I think of the most ~ how the Father never ceases to amaze me and how He has been so Faithful and such a Provider for me. Words almost can't express...
I think of my time in seminary and the incredible friends I had while there, including faculty and staff. There are a number of those people I get to see on a regular basis since I work at the Convention office, which is on the same property of the seminary. Many of my seminary classmates are spread across Canada and we get to connect in various ways. God blessed me with the opportunity to serve as children's minister at Mountain View Christian Fellowship in Calgary and Community Baptist Church in PEI. The people who made up those congregations while I was there were wonderful and will always hold a special place in my heart. You allowed me to lead your children's ministry and entrusted your children to me. I am forever grateful. If someone would have told me that I would be serving with the Canadian National Baptist Convention as the national missions ministry leader, I would have thought they were crazy. Only God could have orchestrated that. I'm thankful that my boss, Salt Jones, listened to the Father when He put my name on Salt's heart about the missions ministry leader position. It is an honor and privilege to "work" where I do. I get to interact with missionaries on a daily basis (some weeks), help churches be on mission and know what mission resources are out there, and watch others join God in His activity in Canada and around the world!
It's also a joy to be a part of The Pathway Church in Calgary. We are a growing church where I am involved in the children's ministry (surprise, surprise) and I continue to seek God in His leading for what my exact role is to be. It's cool to see God at work in our church and its people and be a part of this family.

I wanted to include pictures of the past 10 years, but how does one do that? I don't think I could ever chose the right ones. I decided that I will keep it simple and just use this one:
I also know I must use it because of what the Canada flag means to me. The US flag means something to me because it's the flag of my home country. The Canadian flag means something to me because it's the flag of the country that has become home to me and the place that God has called me to. It means even more to me since I recently became a Canadian Permanent Resident! I think it's pretty cool that the residency process came to completion just after I was in Canada for 10 years. Wow!

I don't take it lightly that God has placed me here. I know I haven't always been about what He wants me to be about because I let life get in the way. It's not always easy being here, away from my family where snow can be on the ground for nine straight months and temps way below freezing! But God is good through it all, has been so Faithful to me and Provided for me in ways that are too long to list. I don't know why He chose me to be in Canada, nor do I fully need to know. I just know that I would not have experienced Him (I don't think) like I would if I was not here. I've learned much and continue to learn much about myself and the Lord. I've been able to experience different cultures and different churches. And for almost 3 years, I've been able to help others be on mission! That warms my heart...
While doing summer missions in 1996, I came with a group from Montana to Cochrane to volunteer at the seminary and help with VBS at Bow Valley Baptist Church having no idea God would have me back five years later. I spent the summer of 1998 near Vancouver, BC, at Royal Heights Baptist Church. It was then that I "fell in love with Canadians" and wondered if God might have me back in Canada. One never knows what God will do as a result of a mission trip!

"Thank You, Father, for being Faithful and a Friend...You have been with me each step of the way. I could never thank you enough. May I be found faithful. I love you, Lord."

Psalm 46:10
Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Listening to the Rain

Wow, it's been over a month since I last blogged. I'm not so good at this...

As I write, it's raining. It's been raining off and on since Sunday and lots today. Parts of the city are under a 'flood watch' of sorts. It doesn't rain here a whole lot, so the sound of the rain is kinda nice. As a missionary friend wrote in their newsletter, rain cleans things off, make things grow, and more...just like Jesus does in our lives! Though we are ready for spring to really arrive here, I don't mind the rain so much because the grass is getting greener and the flowers will really start blooming! I do pray for no flooding along the river areas. There's been enough of that in other parts of Alberta, Canada, the US, and the world!

Jesus does clean us up, help us grow, and so much more! I couldn't imagine my life without Him! What has the Lord been doing in your life lately?

Our convention of churches is into day 33 of our 50 Days of Fasting and Praying. This is a focused time where churches and individuals have been asked to pray for the lost of Canada, this country, more churches planted, more name it! Booklets/devotionals written by Tom Blackaby were printed in English, French, Korean, and Chinese and mailed out. It can also be accessed at (I so meant to write about this sooner!) I know God is doing, and will do, big things as a result of this joint effort! Our staff prays together on work days at 9:30. It's been a neat time together as we seek God's face, wisdom, and look to Him. CNBC churches, what is going saying in your congregations?

As for what God has been saying to me? More of a burden to pray for those who don't know Him...those I know by name and just the lost in general. To lift up our hurting churches and ask for more workers for the harvest field (CNBC vision to plant 1000 churches by 2020 and we are at 270)...and to really seek Him in what my ministry role is to be at my church---I've taken on too much.

Today's devotional hit home, "...Part of fasting and praying is to put other people out of our mind altogether and focus on God...If you are having trouble focusing on God because you are too worried about the people around you, what they think, what they are or are not doing, then you must ask God to focus your mind and heart on Him and trust everyone else into His hands. This time is about you alone before God alone. Let God alone be your whole desire, nothing more and nothing less."

Pray with me as I seek for specific answers and that I will trust Him for all things.

It's a busy season for our convention as we plan for the annual meeting July 5-7 in Calgary. Remember us! It's also a busy time as churches prepare for summer outreach events. Pray for The Pathway Church and all we are planning to do this summer. Pray that I will have a calmness in my responsibilities with the CNBC and Pathway.

May you see God at work around you and join Him in it!

Monday, April 18, 2011

God is in Control

Knowing God is in control became even more real to me on Saturday night.

I was driving home at dark after a great welcome back party at the Eagleson's (stay tuned for that post). It had been light snowing all day with just above freezing temps and had gotten worse as the night went on. Not even ten minutes from home, on Crowchild Trail, I noticed some cars stopped on the left side of the road, next to the concrete barriers by the transit tracks. I knew I better slow down as I figured it was a fender-bender. Well, I stepped on the brakes and could not stop as I had hit black ice! I then started steering, which I now know why I've been told you can't brake and steer at the same time! It all happened so fast and the next thing I know, I'm headed towards the concrete sounded horrible when I hit it! My car finally stopped with the back of the car "facing" the concrete barrier. I first thought that maybe it had quit running, but then realized it and me were okay. I knew I better get my car out of the way, so I pulled over, facing the opposite direction of traffic, turned the hazards on and thanked God I was okay. I dreaded getting out to see the damage. I just knew my bumper would be hanging off of the car I've just had over a year. When getting out, I almost slipped as it was icy. After inspecting the car, I couldn't believe that the damage really wasn't that bad and only on the driver's side bumper...

AND that I did not collide with another vehicle nor anyone hit me! That in itself is a sheer miracle on one of the busiest roads in Calgary! Cars were driving by me pretty slow at this point and one couple did check to see if I was alright. (God bless them!!) I drove pretty slow on my way home and was so thankful to pull into the garage safe and sound. I still shiver a bit when I think of how it sounded when I hit that barrier and to think of what could have happened.

What else became even more real to me? Jeremiah 29:10-11 "...I'll show up and take care of you as I have promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing, I have it all planned out--plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." (the Message) That verse and many others have been what I have clinged to these past 4 months...God isn't finished with me in Calgary, with the CNBC, in Canada, nor with my life!

When I got home, it was too late Central time to call my parents, so I called my brother Doug. His family and I attend the same church. Doug is like the big brother I never had and he's claimed me as the sister he's always wanted :) He prayed with me and I so needed that. I'm so thankful for his family. It was him that said, "Jesus Take the Wheel" I only think it appropriate to include that song/video here.