Time to log on again with a roundup of the last few weeks.
Mrs. E and I plus Esther and Yann travelled to Fort William where we dropped off the latter two with their cousins on holiday. We then returned to Glasgow where we made it to a Shipmeet. From there we flew to Toronto, being very happy not to have flown from France a few days earlier or from anywhere else the following day because of the ensuing congestion.
We had 5 days in Canada but we made it seem like longer. On Day 1 we promptly left Canada via Niagara Falls. Getting into the US by car for non-US citizens is now quite an adventure. We went to Buffalo NY to sample Buffalo Wings here, catch a glimpse of the Martin House, see the location of Bruce Almighty, and generally say we had been to the US.
On Day 2 we did the downtown Toronto thing (CN tower, island trip, etc). On Day 3 we went to church, not resisting taking a look at this one not too many blocks from our hotel. Eleven years late, perhaps, but good to see the church with a real local presence (as opposed to just a conference ministry) and to be invited for lunch afterwards. We didn’t take up the offer as we were keen to make Wasaga Beach (counting this as seeing another Great Lake, having previously dealt with Michigan and got Erie in on Day 1 and Ontario on Day 2, though Canadians seem to think Georgia Bay does not count as part of Lake Huron). To our surprise the water was warm and to our frustration, for once in our lives we did not have our swimming stuff with us.
On Day 4 we visited a local probation centre followed by a prison. I couldn’t resist taking the opportunity to look inside a Canadian one and a few calls beforehand got us in touch with the right folks here. What an open place Canada is. The conclusion of this visit is that prisons are different everywhere, and also the same everywhere. In the evening we had another mini-Shipmeet.
On Day 5 we did our laundry, developed our photos, visited the Royal Ontario Museum (brief conclusion: Towneley Hall is almost as good and free) and had yet another mini-Shipmeet before flying back to Glasgow and having still another mini-Shipmeet before returning to the Highlands and thence homewards amidst the sounds of our gearbox complaining bitterly.
Much could be said about this trip but the summary has to be that God is good. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so consistently blessed in so many ways. This appears to be out of all proportion to anything spiritual I might have done, but I guess that’s the nature of grace. The trip was also the first time I’ve shed any tears in relation to what happened to us, and I hope that is a step further along the road to healing.
Arriving home, I also realised that I had quite effectively ceased to think about our recent troubles for most of our time away. Returning has brought them back into focus somewhat. Our “new” church has carried on meeting in our absence and the building still looks ok, though I am still waiting for someone to do something about the electricity. Quite a few people are still away, so it’s a little early to take the pulse of our fellowship for the coming year.
Finally, amongst the incoming mail awaiting us on our return was a letter telling us that after waiting for the best part of three years, we had acquired French nationality. We don’t yet have the standard paperwork that goes with this (a further wait of six months or so), but it’s good to know we’ve made the cut.