poitu varam

THE CHRONICLES OF A FLEDGLING MISSIONARY CALLED JOLLYBEGGAR "i still gaze fondly at all of the pictures, drink ginger beer, bunch my food, listen to punjabi dj tunes, play my dholki, wear my sarong (around the house only because in canada it is still really uncommon for a man to wear a wraparound skirt in public) and speak way too much of the differences between east and west..."

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


months later, i sit in my office on a snowy day, still thinking about my other home.

much going on
much to tell
much to treasure.

just days after i had returned to canada, a friend of mine walked into the church carrying a simple keyboard instrument. she went to the office of the pastor of youth and said 'i no longer play this- can you find a use for it?' just the day before, i had been sharing with my colleague the story of jesuthas' keyboard being taken by the tsunami...

the children banded together in the months that followed my trip to raise money for a place where mohamed and his congregation could meet together as one group (as opposed to doing church in his taxi.) they raised enough money for one and a half months' rent.

these two responses were already taking place before we even had a plan. pretty cool.

and today, exactly six months after my last day there, my best friend leaves for sri lanka. because he is lead pastor of our church, his visit carries with it great significance for this congregation at this time.

much has taken place in the last six months, as we have continued to further explore what a missional partnership can be. there are budget moneys in place to become further involved missionally in both our immediate community and our global village. in response to a series of modules on involvement in the global church, there are plans underway to send a team of four to serve at the kabool lanka pastors' retreat this coming august. there is even ginger beer being sold at the church coffee bar sundays after service!

as a church-planting church, the desire is in our congregational dna to see new churches be raised up by the hand of God. the news of the free methodist movement taking place in sri lanka was both challenging and affirming- it rewired our whole concept of how God might want to use us in his greater work... planting a church in canada or resourcing a church plant in sri lanka- what is the difference really? even my own sons have both expressed an interest in going to be part of what God is doing there, in addition to their service here in the local church.

so my pastor and friend takes with him a keyboard and some photographs of smiling kids holding up a happy gilmore cheque. more importantly, he takes the love of a bunch of people that have been waiting for years to become involved in something bigger than a church bubble into the next chapter, bearing witness to the love of Jesus to the ends of the earth the way we read in the eighth verse of acts 1.

so play the game of existence to the end of the beginning (lennon/mccartney)

Monday, February 06, 2006

final, for now

august 22: monday: day 13
having been up late writing what would no doubt be the first of many letters/epistles to lazarus and mohamed, i found the alarm's intrusion to some decent REM sleep at 4:30 a bit on the early side. still, it had been very easy for me to get up and go the whole time we were in sri lanka... hopefully the same would be said about morning in canada after this big flight!

at the airport, colleen and i ended up separated from dan, al, eustace and sylvia (ben and ruby stayed back to continue the work at the ministry centre for a couple more weeks). walking together and checking bags together, we were asked whether we were 'together' or not. we both found it kinda funny that, just because we were both mildly fair-haired, blue-eyed north american-looking travellers of comparable age, we were probably together. i guess more couples travel than i thought.

anyway, they wouldn't allow me to take my dolkie as carry on- i was quite fearful about that. however, it was beyond anything that i could control, so i entrusted its care to God and the good people of sri lankan airways.

always amazing how something has to be beyond our control before we can give it up.

we almost did not make the plane, as customs and security seemed to take forever. all i could think of was possibly being required to spend more time in sri lanka while we sorted out the details... perhaps having to spend another day and leave the following morning. (although it would be a little spooky without dan and al, ben and ruby were still here so i was not far from new familiarity. as it turned out, there was, of course, nothing to worry about- ah whatever... due process exists to protect us all.

what with lengthy flights and time zone changes and lengthy lay-overs and the like, the 'day' that began with getting out of bed at 4:30 a.m. sri lanka time on august 22nd would end at getting back into bed for a nap at 4:30 p.m. saskatchewan time on august 23rd... but would be a full 48-hour day by the clock.

yet sitting on sri lankan airways, flight 505 above the arabian sea, reflecting rather than projecting, i kept thinking i heard jey's cell phone going off.
no such luck.

i must not bite the hand that feeds.
the west lovingly sent me out...
to the west i must lovingly return-
for now

poitu varam, version 1.2, completed online 020606