Thursday, January 7, 2010


December brought a welcome break from travel. Early in the month we went to Trinity Christian Centre in Dresden, which is just up the road. I had filled the pulpit there a couple times about 11 ½ years ago. So it was nice to reconnect with old acquaintances, and share part of our story with them.

Next we had planned to travel to Bracebridge for a Christmas banquet on Friday night, a small men’s gathering Saturday morning, and then preach at Ryde Centennial at Hausey’s Rapids on Sunday. But that part of Ontario got socked with over a metre of snow in the space of three days. So, between their really bad weather (the banquet was even postponed), road closures, and our feeling a bit under the weather, we reluctantly decided not to attempt the trip. Cheryl Cooper reminded us that we should laugh lots, because that’s what God does when He hears our plans!

But staying home for the weekend afforded us an opportunity to attend Charlemont and go Christmas carolling with the Charlemont folks after church. That was a real treat, singing for some of our elderly saints, including a cousin of Dean’s father in her 102nd year, who was on her deathbed. She has since passed on. What a privilege to be part of that, and to bring a bit of blessing and cheer into the lives of others!

The rest of December was filled mostly with writing heartfelt thank you notes, setting up a new database to keep in touch with all our supporters and friends (big job!), the race to get our Christmas Letter out, starting to learn the Chichewa language, and Christmas celebrations. We were privileged to enjoy the Christmas Eve service with the Trinity congregation in Dresden, after which we took a tour of Dresden’s Christmas lights, and then had a bit of Christmas at home.

Christmas morning brought a nasty surprise. Neither the church nor the parsonage had any water! We figured we’d be fine “camping” without water for awhile, and decided not to let it ruin our Christmas. But “Babcock Christmas” was scheduled for the next day at the church’s fellowship hall. So we reluctantly called Bill Cornish, who left his family Christmas to see if he could fix the water. Now, you need to understand that our water comes from a well that is up the road on the side of a field. The pump is in a small pump house out there, and the wind was driving a cold horizontal rain right through our clothes. After many attempts over three different visits, and the pump not keeping its prime, Bill decided that the help of an expert was in order. Babcock Christmas was moved to another location, Church was cancelled on the 27th due to lack of water, and our water was finally restored on the 28th. I told Bill that he deserved to be sainted. We also need to thank Dave Huey, who came over on Boxing Day to lend a hand, and on two other occasions. (For our American Friends, “Boxing Day” is the British and Canadian name of the official holiday on Dec. 26). We had a good laugh, though, joking that this was a “dry run” for Malawi, where we’ll need to get used to interruptions in water supply and power outages being a regular occurrence. (Nevertheless, we were very happy to have running water again!). And, just in case you’re wondering, the system needed a foot valve at the bottom of a pipe way down in the well, which is why the pump was losing its prime.

And Christmas was wonderful – both our own family Christmas, and Babcock Christmas with our relatives. We weren’t able to travel to see Dean’s parents for a number of reasons, but are hoping for a visit later this year.

As 2009 has drawn to a close, we want to thank everyone who has shared our journey in any way. You have helped to make 2009 an outstanding year in our lives!

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