We Are Going to the Far North

Before I show you one more knitted stitch, before I talk about Christmas knitting, or cooking, or cheese, or bread, or theological navel-gazing reflection, or any of the other things you usually read about on here, I need to tell you something.

In about two weeks, we are going to northern Canada.

Why, you ask, on God’s beautiful earth, would we travel to the far north in the depths of winter? The short answer: because we are considering a job there.

If you want the long answer, you should read our support letter. That is the official skinny: the wheres and wherefores, the whens and the what-we-needs.

This is the less-official skinny.

It all started in October – on Halloween, as it happened. The Suffragan bishop of the Diocese of the Arctic (of the Anglican Church of Canada) and two of his priests were visiting Trinity School for Ministry (where Jared and I got our MDiv degrees and Jared still works), and they hosted a lunch where they talked about what they are up to.

(I will be really honest: the lunch was pizza, and the organizer went to the trouble of getting a little gluten-free pizza I could have. This was extremely sweet, and highly motivating.)

We left that meeting feeling… strangely compelled. It seemed like a stretch, of course, but hey, we are talking about visiting Ethiopia for an exploratory trip to work with these awesome people. This couldn’t be harder than that. Probably.

So we started following up. We emailed the priests we talked to, and ended up facebook friends with said bishop. We watched a little documentary about when he moved there, what the people are like, and a skidoo (read: snowmobile) trip he took to visit one of his parishes. We had a couple skype conversations with said bishop, the diocesan bishop, and the cathedral dean. We mentioned it to our pastor, to friends, mentors, family, and asked them to pray about it for us.

Every single conversation we left feeling more compelled. And less strangely.

Again, we describe why in our support letter, and I won’t repost that all here. I will say it had very little to do with the fact that I could still knit, and it would be useful. (Though that fact was brought up by just about everyone who knows me.) Lots of people do crafts up there, and there is tons to learn about native Inuit arts, many of which involve fiber.

I even found out that you can buy yarn in the town we’ll be visiting. You can bet I’ll be reporting back on this. (Not that I don’t have enough stash to last me five years.)

Confluence, man. Confluence of priestly calling, missional passion, musical ability, anthropology degree, affection for linguistics, rural (if unusual) lifestyle … and the ability to just be in one little place for a nice long while and minister to the people in the town where we lived. And, like the proverbial icing on the proverbial cake – just when you thought God might be calling you to give up icing forever and you were becoming reconciled to the idea of a life with wonderful cake but only trace amounts of icing – I could still do fun fibery things.

So, we’re psyched. Mega psyched.

Of course, it has made the last few weeks, already insane with the holidays, more insane than ever. We’ve been mostly in support-raising mode, and now are getting into the mode of planning proper. Tickets will get purchased in the next couple of days, after which there’s really no going back.

About the money stuff: We can’t afford the plane tickets ourselves, so we’ve been reaching out to our friends and family for help. They (and some of you are reading this) have already been generous, and others of you are already considering donations of your own. We super appreciate every penny. And just as much, we super appreciate every faithful prayer. So even if you aren’t in a position to give right now, if you want to support us by praying for us, please do pop over to the fundraising page to subscribe to updates. (I promise, that’s the last time I’ll link to it. In this post. Heheh.)

And if you seriously don’t want to commit to either of those things right now, I get that too. Prayers don’t cost money, but they cost time and memory and thought, and I know as much as anyone that those are limited resources. You gotta do what Jesus is asking you to do. Heck, if you made it this far in this post without falling over from exhaustion, you have my sincere appreciation.

So that’s the Other Stuff going on. There will still be knit stitches here aplenty; I have no shame in sharing the mundanities of my life with you. (And the gluten reintroduction experiments have been accelerated; I want to know if I can handle pretty normal stuff before I get in that plane!)

Do you have questions? Concerns? Wild exclamations of excitement or joy or trepidation? Please post them in the comments! I’d love to do a Q&A post about the trip, though who knows how many answers I’d have.

6 thoughts on “We Are Going to the Far North

  1. what is the staple food? what will you do for recreation/entertainment (aside from knit?) how are the childcare practices different from your normal? what do you mean when you say your musical talents will be needed? you also mention linguistics- what language(s) are the church services in? what language will you do your grocery shopping in? how many other expatriates are there nearby?


  2. So glad that the support is coming in! I am sending mine too – just have to get beyond the post-Christmas cash flow problem. And I am praying for you and Jared. What an exciting adventure, with a spiritual purpose! I would have loved to have an opportunity like this. May the Lord bless your going abundantly!


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