My Patch

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I was thinking the other day, about travel times and visiting and community and deep stuff like that. I was thinking about it because I was in the north part of my patch for a meeting, drove home, and then received an urgent call from someone in the south part of my patch. I ended up being on the road for over two hours that day, just connecting with people from our church.

So I set out to map my patch, and Google Maps makes this pretty easy.


Turns out My Patch is 1,367.2 km² in total area, and is 182.24 km in circumference. So it would take about two hours to drive around.

This is pretty cool. It answers questions like why am I tired from visiting a couple of people, or why does it take me most of a day for a couple of visits in different areas.

When I look at the land this way, it just really helps me understand myself, and my church much better. Especially when I remember that my last patch was 25.41 km² in area.

So today, with only two meetings and one visit, and two hours on the road, I'm tired.  I can look at this and not beat myself up. All things considered, we did pretty good.

I like my patch. Now before winter I need to upgrade the car for one with low kms. That's my next project.

August 17, 1985

I can't believe it's been thirty years already.

Randall &  Lauralea

I remember she looked beautiful.
I remember I couldn't stop smiling.
I remember that my face hurt from all that smiling.
I remember it was such a good day.

Married thirty years today

Life with Lauralea has been pretty amazing.
I'm thankful to God for her, and for knowing me well enough that He knew what kind of a soul I needed to journey through this life with.

She is constant reminder to me, that God loves me.
And now here's to another thirty years.

P.S. Here are some of the original wedding day photos.

He restores my soul

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Cool rainy late summer morning

It's +9C, a cool rainy, restful day out there.  I would consider it the perfect day.

I know, there are friends of mine who will be freezing today. I mean you no ill will but you had your days this week. Now it's a day for the moody, the brooding, the cozy low sky lovers, like me.

It has been a busy week here in the field. Work has been full, there are many to care for out here. And Lauralea and I have been working on something for a month or so, pretty hard at it physically and emotionally I guess. And yesterday that all came to naught. So we are pulling ourselves back together, tending our wounds, and getting on with the business of life. This day helps us.

She's at home baking a cake for a Barn party tomorrow, with the windows open, the fireplace on, and ClassicFM on the radio. And I am in the office with my windows wide open, the trees rustling in the breeze, the smell of rain in the air, working on the service for tomorrow.

Yes, this day helps us. It restores our soul.
Our cup is full, and God is good.

Wanna know what in the world a pastor does on a Thursday?

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My Thursday...

8:30 am. Answering emails. I discover that our music leader is unavailable for this Sundays worship service. Hmm, need music leader. Email a few people.

9:00 am. Spiritual Direction with a pastor who is on stress leave from their church because of community relationships. Painful beyond words.

9:50 am. Impromptu meeting with the chair of the trustees and the treasurer. A good meeting with good people but could have stressful implications.

10:15 am. Starting to select music for Sunday. Planning on leading the music myself as all the leaders are unreachable. Sunday morning could end up being the Randall Friesen Hour. Never a great idea, but I'm willing.

10:30 am. Start working on the message for Sunday.

Norah Skype
11:30 am. My granddaughter Norah is skyping me. Of course I'm answering.

12:00 noonish. Head outside because I hear a car. There is a man getting into his Buick and driving off at the front of the church. Hmm whats up. It looks like our church sign has been repainted by a random stranger! What in the world?

12:30 pm. Vintage Car tour group arrives to use our yard as a lunch stop area. Pretty cool. Delora our admin person and I welcome them and after a picnic lunch Delora gives them a tour of the church and our photos of old cars parked in the church parking lot. They leave a small donation (Nice of them) and head off back down the road.

1:00 pm. I head home for lunch. Lauralea is away today so I prepare food and eat alone. Halfway through I don't feel so good and I end up throwing it all up. I start over.

2:00 pm. Back at the office putting Sunday into place. Make and return phone calls.

Church Sign
3:00 pm. Following up on word I received earlier in the day that one of our people is suddenly in the hospital. I head off to town to check up on him.

4:00 pm. Do a few more hospital visits. Some elderly are struggling. Praying with them all.

4:30 pm. Stop to reply to txts from church people about things in their lives. Things they are going through. Get the prayer chain going for the person I came to see, who's going to surgery.

5:00 pm. Start for home for supper. Got word that our house guest, a pastor who is doing some work in the area, is going to be late for supper. That buys me a bit of time to get home before he does.

Old Car Tour Picnic
6:00 pm. Our house guest is going to be really late. Lauralea and I eat supper.

7:00 pm. Writing this while the Edmonton, Montreal football game is on.

8:00 pm. Headed over to feed the neighbours VanderCats while the family is away. What practical jokes shall I set up in their house...

And now you know what this pastor was doing this Thursday.
It was a good day. Well except for the barfing part. :)

Mocking Death

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Today I've been sitting with people who have received bad news. Their physical lives on this blue orb will change. The test results were not great.

We read together Psalm 23, the Psalm about life and how our good and loving shepherd cares for us. It was comforting, and the eyes were glistening as they face another hard challenge.

But faith was there too in those moist eyes. Faith and hope, and love. Tested already through fires aplenty in this life.

We joked and were free to be ourselves without judgement, because really, when you've stared death in the eye and the best it can do is temporarily threaten your bones and blood and skin, it can be mocked.

It can be mocked because it is powerless to destroy the real you. Your spirit, your loves, your joys, the real you.

We know of one who has faced death even as we do these days. But he died and a few days later he came back to life through that door. He did it to put death in its proper place. Beneath his feet.

So that today followers of his can have hope in him and his experience with death. That he had power over death and he's more than willing to share that with all those he knows.

His name is Jesus, the Christ. And he's looking to know you better. All of life's perspectives change when you get to know him personally, intimately.

It was he who said;
"The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life."

So consider his claims, and his promises. Pursue him. Do whatever you need to do to know him better.

Mocking death is only one of the benefits of knowing him, and being known by him.