Tony and I started our pastoral ministry in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Tony was the assistant pastor at the Smiths Falls Free Methodist Church. Roy Kenny was the senior pastor at the time, and we learned a lot from him during the almost two years we served there before planting a church at Kanata. During our time in Merrickville and the Smiths Falls area, we met lots of Christians and led others to the Lord, so it seemed important to us to make one trip down to see those who are serving in the Smith’s Falls church today. Last Sunday (Aug. 14), we did just that. The pastor, Angel Valentin, was the man who spoke the day that our son Schuyler gave his heart to the Lord Jesus. When he saw us in the congregation, he invited us up to give a short testimony about our work in Italy and other parts of Europe.
The preacher that day was Randy Williams , brother-in-law to Stewart Crozier (who was among the founders of our church plant in Kanata). We were also able to greet Stewart’s two sisters Leah and Carolyn and his mother Dorothy, who lives in the Smiths Falls area. It was wonderful to see how much the church has grown over the years, with many new faces and families that we don’t know. But among the familiar faces we did recognize were Dave Arbo and his daughter Emily (who is a children’s pastor there), Olive Urquhart, Jeff and Susan Davis, Barb Smail, Muriel Ayling’s sister Linda, and Jim and Rose Evoy (who helped finance our tent that we used for evangelistic services around Ontario and Quebec).
Barb Smail, an early convert to the Lord in that area, invited us to join her for lunch at Gerbos, a well known restaurant in downtown Smiths Falls. Coincidentally, it was at Gerbos that we met Barb in 1978, where she worked as a waitress. It took several years of seed sowing and persistent loving challenge to see Barb give her heart to the Lord. But since making that decision, she has solidly served Him and has been used by Him to touch many other lives. As we sat and chatted in that corner table in the restaurant Tony and I were encouraged to hear her share how faithfully God has led her and sustained her during some really difficult circumstances. Today she is working part time with a Downs syndrome person and witnesses wherever she can to the life-transforming work of the Gospel. As we drove back to Ottawa, we rejoiced in the work of God that forever changes human hearts, and we thanked Him for letting us play a role in seeing that happen in rural Ontario.
Sunday evening, we had the privilege of joining A. and J. M at a fabulous Italian restaurant on Bronson called Caprese. I enjoyed getting to know them better while we had great pasta dishes made without gluten (something J. needs to avoid). Even the dessert was outstanding. They are currently attending Chapel Ridge F.M. Church and are interested in doing some mission work in France during her year-long maternity leave from her Canadian government job early next year. They are expecting their first child in January. A. and J. accompanied Tony to Italy a few years ago (Scroll back and you can read the blogs minus their names).