Back home sharing some fun Canadian stuff with our special friend Trish
Most of you know we are full time missionaries. Sarah and I have both had a desire to be missionaries from when we were young. We prayed and prayed about where God wanted us to go. We were even willing to go overseas if God wanted us to go. Of course, God knows best, and, although we were willing to go to a foreign place, he led us to Livingston, TN where we work with low income folks.
Nevertheless, our international mission desires remained with us. Although we have always loved our ministry here, we still dreamed of taking short term mission trips to other countries. When God blessed us with two autistic sons, however, we thought going to another country was impossible. A long plane ride and another culture seemed out of the picture for kids who had a hard time even grasping our own culture.
However, again God had other plans. A few years ago we were sitting at BCM International’s (our umbrella mission organization) annual conference when some fellow missionaries came up to us and asked if we would consider coming to their camp for a week to teach Bible the next summer. We immediately said “yes”! And guess where their camp is located? Yep, you probably guessed from the title of this post – Canada!
Now I know that when you think of a foreign country the first one that comes to mind usually isn’t Canada, but, still, we were traveling to another country! A place where we actually had to apply for passports! We knew that Canada would be different. After all, it has a different currency, a different government, and it even had two national languages. However, we weren’t expecting it to be as different as it actually is.
Although out of all foreign countries Canada’s culture is probably the closest one to ours, there still are some major differences and many, many minor ones. I’m not saying you’ll suffer from culture shock if you visit Canada, but there are some common things from the United States that are hard to find there and there are some things that are uniquely Canadian as well. Enough little things to make it interesting to visit, and if you stayed there a long time, you might long for some things back home that aren’t readily available.
We can’t give any personal experiences of longing for something that can’t be found in Canada since, for the past three years, we have only stayed there for one or two weeks at a time. We haven’t been away from the states long enough to miss some of the things that can’t be found – like grits, biscuits and gravy, certain candy bars and snack foods. Nor have we been there during the winter time to experience the cold. We can, however, tell you what we love about Canada and look forward to seeing/doing every year.
Mill Stream Bible Camp
The first would obviously be beautiful Mill Stream Bible Camp where we serve for one week every summer. Over the past three years we have grown to love the staff and the campers as well as the camp itself. Sarah and I have worked in Christian camping for over 25 years. Christian camping is in our blood, and we love serving at camps. We can, without a doubt, say that this is one of the best camps we have ever served at. If you live anywhere within a days drive of Omemee, Ontario, Canada, then I would encourage you to look into sending your child to Mill Stream Bible Camp or sponsoring another child to go to Mill Stream.
Another thing that we love about Canada is the food! Mind you, Canadian food isn’t all that different than food found in the United States. You can still find the same general things. However, there are a few things that are different. I mentioned some of the candy bars and snacks before, but there are main dishes and even whole restaurants in Canada that we don’t have in middle Tennessee. For example, Tim Horton’s. If you are a friend of mine on Facebook then you know we love our Tim Horton’s coffee. They are a cross between Starbuck’s and Duncan Donuts but we think they are better (and less expensive). There are some Tim Horton’s locations in the U.S.A., but for some reason it all tastes better in Canada. We think it’s the milk and cream which is pasteurized differently in Canada. We also love poutine, a French Canadian dish that is really simple – fries, cheese curds, and gravy! You can mix it up and use different sauces and gravies as well as different cheeses and even different fries.
Finally, I can’t mention Canada without talking about their scenery. They have beautiful lakes, parks, zoos and, just general beautiful outdoors! There is enough difference to make it interesting. We have been blessed to be able to visit a couple of zoos – Peterborough Zoo and Toronto Zoo – the former small and the latter huge. The town of Peterborough is beautiful in and of itself with it’s wonderful lakefront, marina’s and, of course, the world’s largest lock lift! This year we also got to visit gorgeous Victoria Beach in Cobourg, Ontario. Cobourg is a quant town with a great historic shopping area and the beach is wonderful. On Lake Ontario, Victoria Beach is beautiful, clean and fun, with a splash pad and playground for the kids, a marina and lighthouse to explore, and a food stand which serves delicious food. We got poutine of course. And the beach is right by the shopping area with the quant shops!
We could go on and on about the country to our north and it’s wonderful people. We haven’t explored much of this vast nation, but what we have explored has been fantastic. If the rest of the country is as great as Ontario, then we hope that God allows us to explore it someday as well.
Have any of you been to Canada before? What are your favorite spots? Leave us a comment and tell us about them. Maybe next year, Lord willing, we can explore them as well!