There have been many times that I’ve been glad to see home, thrilled to be in my own bed and see my kids and just be in my own house.
But the most vivid time is the last time. And that was last night.
After 14 hours of travel time both driving and flying, the combined mission team from Augusta Heights Baptist and Inman FBC hit home about 10:30 last night. And yes, it is good to be home!
This does not reflect at all on the kind of trip that we had. It was outstanding, enlightening, and in many ways fascinating. I’ve listed some “facts” about Canada here–and this is a loose use of that word. These “facts” are from my own observations as much as they are from any stat sheet.
Here are a few of the interesting things about Canada, including their particular “brand” of Christianity:
10. Canada looks a lot like the United States. It’s not. Looks are a little deceiving. The people and the culture are very different in many ways, particularly in regards to the South.
9. Canada has a bit of an inferiority complex. It shouldn’t. It’s just fine being what it is.
The people of Ottawa seem to feel inferior because they are not as big as Toronto. The people in Quebec seem to feel inferior because they are French. The people in Canada seem to feel inferior because they are not the United States. Some (not all, but some) felt the need to point out the flaws of America in our presence.
There really is no need for this. Canada is a wonderful place in and of itself, as are those individual locations within the country. This should be more than enough to make Canadian citizens proud.
8. Canadians speak French & English; but in Quebec, they speak ONLY French! As soon as we crossed into Quebec, everything changed to straight French. French Canadians are still hanging on to some bitterness about being “conquered” by the English. Of course, we never hang on to history in the southern United States, do we???
7. Recycling is a mission: Our northern neighbors aren’t recycling out of mere obligation. It is a way of life for them. I felt pretty weak that I throw some paper and cans in a bin and call that recycling.
Canadians recycle everything, everywhere. Our rooms at Algonquin College had recycle bins. Every trash can in the city was accompanied by recycle bins. The city of Ottawa is now recycling food, napkins, etc. and reselling it as compost.
This is one thing that I would very much like to import from the north. Perhaps we could picket Disney, Wal-Mart and Target to put up recycle bins (hey, they’ve been picketed for everything else already…)
6. Ottawa is about the size of Charlotte, but the people resemble New York City. The cultural diversity around Ottawa was staggering. It is not at all unusual to see varying nationalities and to hear a variety of languages spoken.
5. The Canadian church has a lot of diversity: Well, at least the one that we attended did.
It is often said that 11am on Sunday is the most segregated hour in America. That’s certainly not the case at Bromley Road Baptist in Ottawa. We encountered many nationalities with many native languages, all worshipping and engaging in fellowship under the same roof.
Congratulations to Bromley Road and other Christians in Canada who have moved beyond some barriers that still hinder the church in America. (If you disagree, check this out: http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20120730/NEWS/207300323/Crystal-Springs-pastor-Mississippi-church-storm-after-turning-away-black-couple-s-wedding).
Let’s also give credit where credit is due: Some churches in America are making a serious effort to move beyond such issues. Check out the blog tomorrow for more on that.
4. Canadian churches are also struggling: Much like American churches, the Christians in Canada are battling to discover what it means to be “church” in a postmodern world.
3. Canadians take Leviticus 19:33-34 to heart: It says, “When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
Matthew House is a Canadian ministry to refugees from other nations. We helped there every day of our trip. Can you believe that the community around Matthew House voted to host a ministry to refugees over a children’s ministry?
And this is an a supposedly “secular” nation.
2. Homelessness is a worldwide problem: I wished that we had some homeless bags to hand out in Ottawa. The shelters were very close to the tourist areas, and it was obvious that this problem is much bigger than any nationality.
1. There is excellent work being done by CBF Missionaries in Canada. We spent our week working with Mark and Kim Wyatt, who have been involved in starting Matthew House branches from Toronto to Montreal. Their method of doing missions and engaging people truly fits the nation where they are called to work and the postmodern generations that they are attempting to reach.
We are fortunate to support Cooperative Baptist Fellowship missionaries with this kind of “clout” in Canada–and thanks to them for offering us a great week!
To learn more about the Matthew House mission and Christianity in Canada, check out these books:
-The Above Ground Railroad: The Story of Matthew House by Joey Clifton
–Foreign to Familiar by Sarah Lanier
Both of these books will soon be available in the church library at Augusta Heights Baptist.