This is our second blog in over three weeks of Montreal-ness. We still don't speak French, but are understanding much more thanks to constant drowning, immersion--we love it! We're definitely settling into our routines now, getting to know our roommates a little more (not always a good thing), and the city! This city, however, is quite vast and our present exploration of it has only scratched the surface. So much! I've never lived in a big city like Montreal, LA, New York, Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco, etc. but I'm convinced this one's the coolest; in other words, I like what I've seen so far. Actually today in class our teacher asked us about our observations of the city so far; he said to list two or three. I wrote down that the recycling here is amazing (it seems everybody recycles everything), that there's a rich religious history (hugely amazing churches on nearly every corner, although almost all are empty), and a vivacious arts scene (the main difference being that in Montreal arts are not bonus, they're mandatory, essential, indispensable). These are just a few of the things Lauren, Dennis Michael, and I have noticed about our new stomping grounds.
School has been great so far. The first week we talked about Genesis 1, 2, and 3. Our teacher, Pierre Lebel, the director of the school, emphasized the fact that we were and still are made in God's image, and that this is our fundamental characteristic as human beings. It's not our fallen state and brokenness, but our identity as image-bearers of God.
Last week (our second week) we had a non-teaching week which gives us time to look into some of our areas of interest, and I was able to discover some very promising things. First of all, I feel strongly that my music will play an important role in my ministry. The ideal situation entails me being able to share my music at the multiple, multiple venues available, all the while making connections and establishing relationships with other musicians doing the same. I'm also looking into resources for/on contemplative prayer and meditation, something I've been interested in for quite some time. There are many other things available; thus, at this point, the sky is the limit and I'm excited to reach it!
This week (a teaching week) we'll be studying how our faith can be made relevant in a big city context. Our teacher, Glenn Smith, has his doctorate in Urban Missiology (I like that word.) and has been working in Montreal for forty years. It's nice to be taught by people so enmeshed in the city and attuned to its heart beat.
So, the adventures will continue, and we are very excited to experience all of them. Lauren, Dennis, and I are learning so much every day in so many ways. We feel truly blessed to be out here (and sometimes stressed).
Love you guys,
Monday, October 6, 2008
We have arrived! It's hard to believe that this is it: that the seed that was planted last January, over 9 months ago, has developed into this reality we are living today. I had no idea what was ahead of us when Denny came home that 'winter' evening, placed his hand on my still-flat tummy, and announced that 'we' were headed to Canada. So here we are, Denny, Dennis Michael, and I, alone in a big city with a metro for transportation, an apartment shared with three non-English speakers (and one bathroom!), and a very, very cold winter ahead of us. I will be honest and share that the night we arrived, after climbing the steepest staircase known to man with baby carrier (and baby) in hand to reach our apartment, I burst into tears. I was completely overwhelmed by the thought of exposing my precious newborn to heavy traffic, old, squeaky wood floors, and a harsh winter air. My fear of every unknown and uncontrollable was blinding any faith within me. Not only was I alone here, but this school wasn't even for me, right? What was I going to do while Denny stayed busy pursuing his passions and learning how to change the world? As the snow piles up, will I just be sitting indoors awaiting Denny's return for the evening? Thankfully, I married a man who was able to see through my supermom act and discern that I was not well. "He took my shoulders and He shook my face" (in the words of a Sufjan song) when Denny reminded me that I was the girl who dreamed of far-off lands and considered the life of a long-term missionary before we were married. Not only was this my dream, but I am not alone here. While Denny will be busy with this school that is helping him develop his passions, our prime purpose on this adventure is to grow together as a family serving the Lord. I am not alone. Last January, the Lord spoke. He was with us then, nudging us onward, and He is still with us now, with me now. Denny is doing this YWAM school, and will mature and learn a great deal from it, but what I somehow forgot along the way was that our God does not just work in schools or organizations. There is a purpose for me, and for Dennis Michael: to support Denny, yes, but far beyond that. This is our journey and I can now confidently say that God has already begun a good work here in Montreal, in the Flanagans, in me.