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Hope amid the heartbreaking reality – The DropBox Movie

DropboxA new movie is set to release the first week of March, and I was honoured to be able to view an advanced copy, thanks to Graf-Martin Communications, Focus on the Family, and Kindred Image.

Each year, hundreds of babies are abandoned on the streets of Seoul, South Korea.  Some have been discarded immediately upon birth by young, unwed mothers who can’t face the shame their family will heap upon them.  Others have disabilities that the mother feels she just can’t cope with.  It’s a staggering and heart breaking reality.

We meet a church pastor, Pastor Lee Jong-rak and his family to hear about how his deeply caring heart is saving lives.  Because of the shame attached to most of the circumstances around the birth and subsequent abandoning of these babies – he knew that if he could have a way that a child could be safely brought to his home, while keeping the anonymity of the mother, he might just be able to save lives.

A dropbox was installed at their home.  It has an alarm wired, so that when an infant is placed inside it, the whole house is alerted, and his son’s description of what it does to the family is poignant.  Pastor Lee and his wife have two natural children, but they have adopted 15 of the hundreds of children that have come to them, each with their own challenges, and each whom have come through the dropbox.

I am not a documentary fan, nor do I enjoy films with sub-titles – as much of this film has.  However, the story is so compelling, that I was completely drawn in, and soon forgot that I was reading the dialogue.  The commitment to the children that Pastor Lee, his family and the troop of volunteers have is inspiring, and challenging.

Theirs is a story of inspiration and well deserving to be heard and seen.  Pastor Lee and the filmmakers bring a voice to those who have none, and put faces to those that society would have forgotten.  If you are able to get to a theatre March 4th or 5th, take time to see this fine movie.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Great Bible character + a favourite author = a joy to read.

esther coverEsther, by Angela Hunt, published by Bethany House.

Esther has always been my favourite Bible personality. What young girl doesn’t live a story of the commoner getting to become queen! And then to have her save an entire nation…Disney could learn a thing or two about heroes.

So, imagine my excitement when Angela Hunt, one of my all time favourite authors published this rebelling of Esther’s story. Told with depth of character and setting, we hear this account from the voices of those most intimately involved.

Providing fresh insights (love the reasoning behind Vashti’s refusal to the queen, and her later plots) to the stories behind the story. Hadassah, as she grows into knowing her place in the palace, and learns to love her husband is shown to us as the captivating girl she must have been. Captivating enough to win the King’s heart.

One of only 2 books of Scripture, (the Song of Solomon is the other), Angela has very clearly woven God’s hand through the entire story, and highlights the truth of the faith that Esther was raised to honour.  It is his faith in the One True God that prevents Mordecai from bowing to Hama, and it is the ritual of fasting that Esther and all of the Jewish people in the kingdom engage in preparation for her request to the king.

This was a book to savour, I intentionally took my time in reading the story, not wanting to leave the palace too soon.

I am grateful to Graf-Martin Communications, via the Nuts About Books and Bethany House for providing this opportunity for me to complete an independent review of this book.

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in book reviews

 

Like a Flower in Bloom – Book Review

I am not a typical Christian fiction reader.  I am not a fan of the Historical romance, but being a voracious reader, and knowing I was heading away on a beach holiday – I was happy to receive this advanced reading copy compliments of Bethany House Publishing.

On its journey of a story, I was engaged with a young woman I greatly identified with.  Miss Withersby is an independent young woman, who is not entirely thrilled with the expectations and limitations placed on her by Society.  She is passionate about all things Ranunculus, and entirely happy and content to be her father’s assistant – drawing and writing his botany books.

Her father though, becomes convinced that all this must end, as it is time she find herself a husband.  She sets off to do just that, but planning to find someone so unsuitable, her father will never agree.  Under the tutelage of a friend, the two begin their scheme, but when it involved 2 very different men who share our ladies’ interest, things get interesting.

When life shows it has a different agenda, and even though she can’t see it, the very man her father hired to release her from her duties at home, becomes a familiar and somewhat comfortable, thorn in her side.

I found the botany references, and our heroine’s passion to detail very familiar and engaging.  I was pleased that this book didn’t follow the typical formula for romance novels, having a twist at the end that I hadn’t anticipated.  A refreshing find, and enjoyable way to spend a holiday afternoon.

This review is an independent opinion, with the book being provided through Graf-Martin Communications by Bethany House Publishing.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2015 in book reviews

 

Merry Christmas to me!

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I have been dreading the arrival of the Christmas season for more than 6 months. As we prepare to celebrate the first coming of Jesus – I am also very aware that this is the first Christmas without my mom. Christmas was mom’s very favourite holiday. She loved to bake, decorate every room in the house, entertain and celebrate her Saviour’s birth. It’s a little hollow this year, as we don’t have her excitement about our time together.  Yet, I can’t imagine how excited she is to be at the Birthday party!!

I knew that this year, I needed to have something new be a part of my Season. A way to make new traditions, and find new ways to share in the Holiday, creating memories outside of the traditions that mom was such an integral part of. But, time marches on, and planning looked like it wasn’t going to happen. I wanted to participate in something that would make a difference in more people’s world other than ours, or in the bank accounts of retailers. Little did I know that experience would be handed to me in a very real way.  One of the things that we agreed to, was that we weren’t buying gifts for each other.  It’s actually refreshing to not see a tree overwhelmed with paper and bows laying underneath it.

Six short weeks ago, I started a new job. I’m working for Prison Fellowship Canada as their Executive Administrator. My days are never the same, and it feels wonderful to be able to support those who do the day to day ministry with inmates and their families. Prison Fellowship may be better known to you through their Angel Tree program – either the Christmas or Camping branch of that, and I came on board at the office just as the Christmas program was swinging into high gear.

As part of the list of making this program be it’s best, Head Office sends out gifts to those children in communities where we don’t have individuals or churches to partner with us.  You see, across Canada, from Coast – Coast – Coast, we have inmates request gifts for their children.  Each year, that number is roughly 2500 children, aged 0-18.  Our office sent out just over 100 gifts this year (a dramatically less number than last year thanks to generous people, and exceptional organizers).

After the applications were entered into our database, and the families matched to those who would purchase and send the gifts on the inmate’s behalf, I was asked to contact the homes of the remaining children.  As happy I was to be able to help in the process, little did I know what was in store for me.

The phone calls began, many in very remote parts of our very large province, my phone calls were met with suprise, suspicion, and in most cases humility.  One grandma that I called couldn’t believe that participating in this program wouldn’t cost her anything.  A grandpa was so relieved to have gifts coming for his granddaughters, because he couldn’t get going having buried his wife in September.  One very young mom, with 7 kids from 3 different partners (all requesting to be part of Angel Tree), started to cry when I told her who we were, and what we wanted to be doing.  Just as we were on the phone, I had the joy of hearing her glee as Santa unexpected showed up at her door as well.   How fun!  I love that kind of thing, and I found my Christmas getting better and better.

Then, I had the joy of shopping for those gifts that had been requested or suggested.  It’s been a long time since there have been littles in my family, and not have my own to buy for, I loved it!  Then, just to make it better, I got to wrap them too.  Really, it just was fantastic.

Here’s the gift.  I had no idea that this kind of ministry, was just what my healing heart was in need of.  The joy in the phone calls, the honour of praying for each child as I purchased and wrapped the gifts, and the knowledge that I had just a small part in making the whole process come together was more than anything under the tree could have brought me.

Mom would have loved to hear about all the experiences in those phone calls.  I don’t know if she’s able to keep track of things down here, now that she’s a full time Worshipper in the Throne Room. But, I’m pretty sure if she knows what God has led me into – she’d be thrilled.

This year, I hope I’ve started a new tradition – loving on people, just because my workplace and I love Jesus.  Such a gift!

May you and yours know the joy of selfless sharing just because you love Jesus this year.  As we celebrate that moment when God broke into history, just to show us himself more fully – may you be blessed with the Peace that comes from know just how much He loves you.

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Posted by on December 22, 2014 in News and Updates

 

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Burning Questions from RZIM – a review

I have always enjoyed anything that comes from the Ravi Zacharias Ministries. He and the ministry that bears his name are fine presenters of the evidence for the truth of Christianity, and the Scriptures.

I was excited by the opportunity to review their newest resource. A 6 session, small group study asking the “Burning Questions”. Presented in DVD format, with an accompanying website for resources, it has everything a small group leader would need to walk their group through these issues. The downloadable guide, which is only available after having signed up for the newsletter, breaks the session into “chewable” segments, and has questions to guide reflection throughout the segment.

Hosted by Andy Bannister, Canadian Director of RZIM – he seeks out the expertise of leaders and leading thinkers from 5 of the World’s main religions: Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Atheism and Christianity. The opening session sets the tone for the remainder of the sessions, exploring the issue of God’s existence. He then follows with Science, Evil, Truth, Biblical accuracy and Jesus.

In excellent interview formats, Andy engages well, and respectfully with all of his guests. There is no defensiveness in any of the answers, which is helpful. (on a very personal note, one of his guests, I have personally seen in a setting where his religion was not the majority – and his presentation was offensive to his hosts at best. It was a much better presentation he gave in this setting.)

I watched this with a particular population of seekers in mind, and found myself realizing that most of the material would not be accessible to them. I would recommend this for a deeply thinking, even critically thinking gathering of seekers. Even a setting with those who would desire to share their understanding of the world in a educated, yet pluralistic setting. The Christian and Biblically sound responses to the other religions are excellent. But realistically, beyond a conversation that someone without a university level education (perhaps even not without a graduate level) would have.

I wonder if the extended conversations with those who don’t share a Christian worldview might be confusing for those who are seekers, or even skeptics. I can see this resource being useful in World religions class, or for a group who is interested in Apologetics.

I am grateful to Graf-Martin Communications for providing this copy for my independent review.

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2014 in book reviews

 

Taking Paul’s advice

fallThe Apostle Paul loved to write letters.  In fact most of our New Testament comes from God’s inspiration through his pen.  Paul wrote as if he was right in the room with those he was communicating with.  He patted them on the back when it was deserved, and he wasn’t afraid to kick them in the butt when it was deserved too.

Paul, along with about 100 partners in ministry started many churches.  And the legacy of that continues today.  One of his challenges, that is so easily taken out of context – just by changing one little word – can be found in the letter to the people who were Jesus followers in Thessalonica.  Many very well meaning people will quote the 8th verse of the the 5th chapter as “give thanks FOR all circumstances”, but it actually reads “give thanks IN all circumstances”.  Quite the difference, isn’t it.  It’s much more human to be able to find something to be thankful for IN whatever we find ourselves in, but to be thankful for whatever we are in is much harder.  I don’t think God wants us to ever miss our humanity.

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving.  A time to gather with our families and friends, to enjoy the fruits of the harvest, and reflect on the good things that the past year held for us.  Some folks even go around the table stating what they are thankful for before they begin the feast.

This year is a Thanksgiving I have been praying would be many years yet in it’s arrival. It’s the first year without my mom at the table. Mom, you see, was quite the hostess. She loved dinners when every pot in the kitchen had been used, and the table was full of dishes and people, and the air very loud with conversation. Over the last number of years, that celebration was much smaller, but she still loved to gather at the table with family, and friends alike. Last year, she wasn’t up to travelling – so we took thanksgiving dinner to them. Jeff bar-b-qued the turkey breast, and I took all the fixings.

I’m so glad we did that – and had I known then, what I know now, I would have made a much bigger deal about it. I would have relished her joy at having busyness in her kitchen, and savoured every bit of laughter that she shared that day. So, this year’s celebration will be different, but a celebration all the same.

You see, the rest of the passage where Paul says to give thanks also says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Even prayer-stained hallelujahs are still hallelujahs. God woke me up this morning, He didn’t have to do that, and because He gives me the gift of another day – I will say thanks. My dad is still able to drive to our place, and he is looking forward to having this weekend with us- and I will say thanks. I get to spend this holiday with my beloved, and have the joy of hearing him preach the Word – and I will say thanks. We have all the food (and more) that we need, a lovely home, each other, warmth, good health, the love of those around us, and opportunities beyond measure – and I will say thanks.

Am I happily anticipating this first year’s gathering without mom – not for a moment. But, I know where she is, and that she is at the foot of her Saviour in perpetual worship, no longer sick or hurting- and I will say thanks. For a life well-lived, and a love well-shared, and a faith well-passed along.

May your thanksgiving be IN all things, no matter where life finds you this year. Know that God loves you more than you can ever imagine. That’s worth saying “Thank You” for.

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Posted by on October 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

A Great Cloud of Witnesses

ImageToday has always been an important one on our family’s calendar, and for the first time in my life – I don’t feel like celebrating.  Mom would have turned 85 today, but just 3 short weeks ago we said our final goodbyes.  I miss her more than I ever thought I could miss anyone.  I guess you are never ready not have your mom in your life.

Before she died, she was honoured to be working on a talk to give to her ladies group at her church.  She had been asked to speak at their mother’s day gathering.  For a couple of months she worked on her presentation – complete with complimentary scripture.  Her focus that day was the rich faith heritage that she grew up with.  She has been missing her mom terribly, and reflected on just what Grandma Hayton’s faith meant in her life.

To honour her birthday – I want to share her words with you here…

 

My Mom – Barb Tubb, for May 6th 2014. 

First: a question- did you love your Mom as a child? Of course! Did you love your mom as a teenager? Yes! But did you like her? My mom and I loved each other, but we didn’t like each other from my 13th birthday to my 19th year. I was very amazed at 19 how smart MOM had become in those few years. NOT ME – HER. 

As I grew older, I began to pay attention to her and realized how much she gave of herself in Christ’s name, her family and to others who needed her. As I look back I remember so much about her – she’s been my Christian heroine for so many years! How I miss her. 

Mom was born in 1894 in Arkona, ON into a very Christ-centered Baptist Church attending family. As a child I grew up in the midst of 11 deacons, 6 ministers, and 6 missionaries. Every Sunday, if weather was good, our whole family gathered in Grandma and Grandpa’s yard under the big maple trees for fellowship and dinner. Great times of singing, laughter and worship. When the name of Dr. Shields began to be in the conversation, things began to change. “The Split of the Baptist church” was almost here. Ministers could argue nicely. Sadly, some people were missing after a while at our gatherings. The Convention Church remained and the Fellowship Church was born. 

After a farm accident in which my dad lost the power part of his right leg and was unable to farm, we moved to London where dad worked for “The Weights and Measures Department”. We went to Wortley Road Baptist Church.  Church was our life, Sunday mornings,(Mom was going to tell a story about Uncle Harold, but I have no idea what it was –Dad) Sunday School in the afternoon and Sunday Night Worship. Men and Women’s Groups, Bible study, children’s groups, drama time, family times. In my life, I was either at Church, at home and school or skating. 

My mom and dad were lay missionaries at the Indian reserve near Delaware. Mom was a nurse, and worked part time for the Public Health. They went to the reserve every other Saturday and we kids went also. Mom taught woodworking, making repairs, etc. At 3 pm was Bible study. Dad in his spare time helped Dr. Jury look for artifacts along the Thames. Sometimes we kids went. Dad was made and honourary Cheif. They mad him a full length Turkey Feather headdress. The Pow Wow was exciting 

Mom became very ill with cancer when I was 5 and spent the next 5 years in and out of hospital at St. Joseph’s. We kids couldn’t go in to see her. Dad would wheel her to the sunporch on the south corner and we’d talk to her. The first time I saw the sun porch being pulled down I cried. So many memories!  In between her times in the Hospital, she was always busy with us, of course and working as a nurse for helping the needy as a public health nurse. 

In the 30’s and 40’s, “Manor Park” was the area the other side of Warncliffe, between Bruce and Langarth and the Coves. Mom and Aunt Pearl spent many times there helping with Hygiene and eradicating things like lice and Impetago. They also taught sewing, knitting and patching clothes and how to live in a new country. I can still se mom and Pearl climbing into the old Ford car, each with a basket full of medicines, Lice combs, washcloths, cleaning products, Bandages and tables of potassium permanganet, (the cure all for all things). Mom’s favourite statement – “it’s no shame to be poor, stay clean in body and spirit” 

Our house was like a refuge home from the mailman stopping for hot tea in winter, or cool lemonade in summer (on the front verandah, of course). Our farm relatives would send home with us in the smmer, exta vegs. Dad and Mom distributed them to the needy. People in distress came also in the flood of 37, we – like so many – others took in families for over a week, until they could go home. We 3 kids weren’t happy and we gave up our beds and slept on the floor. Many people came for help. At first as young kids we resented it at times. As we grew up we too became involved. All of this she did between her times of illness.  Of course, we had nannys when she was ill. But when she was well -oh my.   Saturday was baking time. All the kids around knew this. Dozen of cookies were eaten, but not before Bible time. No sitting for cookies till Bible stories were told, oh, how it worked. Mom could make David and Joseph and other stories come alive. 

In 1939, our parents had decided to go back to England – Dad’s home. Trunks were bought and filled the living room. In September Grandpa Hayton phoned. “Don’t come, Germany’s acting up. It will be over soon!!” In 1941 Dad was invited to come to Fort Erie to teach woodworking at Fleet Aircraft. So we went by train. It was just after Easter, and we were in spring clothes. At Fort Erie, we got off to snow as high as rooftops. I tried to get back on the train – no way.  During the war, houseing was scarce in Fort Erie. So we ended up at a house in nearby called Erie Beach. After a while we met nice people and discovered there were two houses where people didn’t live up to Baptist standards. 

The “good” people met at our house for House Church, Bible Study and began to plan to build a Baptist Church.  Mom began to worry about the young girls at “Nellies” The house of ill repute, mom called it. Mom would go out of her way to talk to the girls about Jesus and forgiveness. Many of the girls, Dad and Mom would take back to their homes in Buffalo. Sometimes, they let the girls sleep in their spare room. Mom, at 4’ 9” was small, but mighty! Nellie, the “lady” of the house would spit at mom whenever she saw her.

When Dad died at 60, Mom moved into an apartment, and became Mom to them all, and again her house was like a refuge place. Cancer was discovered again in here 80’s, after so many years of remission. 24 hour care was needed. At the residence, she became Mom again to 4 younger people who had had strokes. She taught remedial reading at the school across the road and WORE SLACKS FOR THE FIRST TIME (she also won a bowling trophy!)  Mom was a blessing for Jesus. She took a stroke at 85. So many people we didn’t even know came to say Good-bye. “your mom did this for me” The nurese from the home came and shared teaars with us and stories. Friend, old neighbours, all with stories and all ended with “What your mom gave to us, in Jesus’ name”.

 Psalm 78, Timothy 1:3-10a, Deuteronomy 6:1-9

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Posted by on May 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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