December 30, 2006

Urbana pt 2

Today I felt a major breakthrough, in terms of figuring out what God wanted me to do. The pieces finally started to come together, through the people I met, through scriptures, and through what I felt was God's speaking to me.

There was a speaker who said that to confirm a calling you need 3 things: Confirmation from scriptures, confirmation from the Spirit, and confirmation from friends/family. I felt that all those came together for me yesterday, through prayer, readings, and through people I interacted with.

The schedule finally allowed us for some free time and that allowed me to go into the Global Connexxions area to visit all of the mission agency booths and theological seminary booths. As I wandered through the 350+ booths, I realized something rather disheartening and yet exciting. I spoke to many mission agencies. There were tons of them, covering the globe from Asia to Africa to Europe to North and South America. Urban ministries, tribal, unreached people groups, bible translations, business as missions. There was even an army booth, and aviation ministries, engineering, english teaching, radio, even internet ministries. Out of the 200+ agencies I walked past or spoke with, there was only 1, yes ONE Native North American missions agency. Talk about a forgotten people.

I spent a good 20 minutes talking to that one agency, and accidentally conveyed the idea that we were looking for an agency to send us, which certainly isn't the case. What I was really trying to do was find some ideas as to how they handled longer-term solutions for the reserves, but instead they thought I was volunteering our team for their ministry. Talk about a big misunderstanding, but I figure that as they send me more information, I can just use that information and share it with our church.

I kind of felt that because this was my second Urbana, I wouldn't get caught up in all of the emotions and grandeur of worship. I don't think you know what it means to worship in unity until you've attended a worship session in a size as large as the Urbana venue. The sheer magnitude of it is awe-inspiring. Picture the Air Canada Centre full of 20,000 happy, jubilant Raptor fans cheering for the Raptors as they just won an NBA Championship, or similarly, a Leafs game of the same -- actually we Leaf fans have suffered enough, let's just stick with the Leafs victory and just imagine how crazy the fans were. That's kind of what it was like today in worship at Urbana, only instead of Leafs we were cheering for God, and instead of 20,000, it was 22,250.

I was noticing that it felt like all the delegates had let go of their inhibitions and were fully worshipping God with not just their voices but their arms and body language. It's like people finally let go of their inhibitions, casting all there crowns upon Him. It's an amazing thing, when everyone does it all at once.


I've been finding increasingly that Urbana's seminars are no better than Perspectives. That's not to say they're a waste of time, but the fact is, I haven't learned anything in a seminar/workshop here at Urbana that Perspectives didn't already cover.

However, the speakers during the plenary sessions have been excellent.

I started attending the "Open for Business" sessions, which is what I was registered for, but was previously completely ignoring because, well, I'm not a business person. But they have sort of recognized that people like myself, (ie: technology) also fall into the same category. Today they talked about innovative ways to help those less fortunate, and ways to minister to these countries through innovation and entrepreneurship. I thought it was pretty cool.

During this time and through constant prayer (seems like I've been doing a lot of that lately), I've actually leant the opposite direction and am now almost 80% sure that I will go to Longlac next year and not China. It's just that over the past day, God has been speaking to me about several things:

- the issue of urban development
- stuff about sustainable development
- developing long-term relationships and partnership
- First Nations people
- "keep on going" -- at one point one of the speakers asked us to stand up and say this to one another

I actually saw Richard Twiss, the speaker at Ishskwaday, lining up for seats and I felt this excitement, and then another guy spoke who was half First Nations' blood. And I guess in general, I started to think about how, everyone is focusing their attention towards reaching Muslims and Hindu's, and people suffering from AIDS. There's so many people out there that need God, but I kind of feel like the First Nations people are being left out.

Also the whole entrepreneurship thing has gotten me all excited. I think it would be pretty cool to come up with an idea and then share it with others, and then together, work on it and market it, and then either use the money we raise to help others, or invent something that would help others. I always had that kind of a dream back when I was in school.

So..for those reading, please continue to pray about my decision. Although I am now leaning towards Longlac, yesterday I was leaning towards China, so who knows right?

December 28, 2006

St. Louis

I'm in St. Louis for Urbana. St. Louis is supposed to be the most violent city in North America. You wouldn't guess it if you walked around the downtown area though.. this city is dead. It seems far too underpopulated to be a violent city. Anyway..

I've been praying that God will speak to me about which missions opportunity to take -- whether it be 2 more weeks in Longlac, or 4 weeks in China teaching english.

The two choices can be broken down into the following thoughts:

(a) 2 weeks in Longlac
- continued growth in my missions journey
- continuing what we started at Ginoogaming #77
- continuing to build friendships we forged over the past 2 years
- getting a chance to share the gospel directly to the people
- saving 2 weeks of vacation for visiting family at Christmas time

(b) 4 weeks in China
- taking a big step into my "missions career"
- first chance at ministering to Muslims, something I'm pretty excited about
- teaching english is not my forte.. and I'm somewhat reluctant to use it as an avenue to minister to people. But I realize it's a way to put your foot in the door. Still, on this note Longlac is better because we get to actually share the gospel without getting arrested. Speaking of which..
- first exposure to a country where the gospel isn't allowed
- possible start to a longer-term commitment

So that's kinda where it stands. I've been praying about this for weeks now, ever since I was invited by one of the pastors at our church to be one of 6 to go on the China trip. It's been a struggle, I know that God would be proud of me for either one, but I feel like this is a turning point and I can either start devoting everything towards the First Nations People, or I can direct my attention towards the Muslims in asia. I feel that both are good.. however I feel that the First Nations reserve thing is something that is popular and more suited for "new missionaries", kind of like a stepping stone.

Today after a plenary session sermon by Brenda Salter McNeil, I'm leaning more towards going to China. She spoke about Genesis 11 and 12, about how Abram and Terah settled in Haran even though they had intended on going to Canaan. She challenged us that we should not settle, that we should go exactly where God intends us to go, and when God opens doors we need to just go and stop making excuses.

The one thing I guess I should mention was that there was originally a major hitch for me to go to China, because it was originally a 5-week trip. I didn't have enough vacation days to go, and I was going to have to beg my boss for time off in addition to using all my remaining vacation days (including carry over). But then God answered that prayer by having the trip changed to 4 weeks.

I felt like God finally (after being silent now for quite some time) was letting me know that I don't need to be afraid of unknowns (like teaching, which is something I'm not all that comfortable with), and to just go for it.

December 25, 2006

Christmas Eve

Went to Christmas Eve service at South Hills Church. My parents church is really great.. I know I've said this before but it is really, really great. Everything from the church decorations, to the welcomers, to the worship time, prayer time, sermon.. it's all good. The whole thing is great.

Pastor Bret spoke about how Christmas is a Man's Story, about how church can often feel really feminine, but about how the story of Christmas is about a strategic strike by God in the war against Satan, and how Jesus was basically the killing blow, the nuke, etc.

The worship time was fantastic.. I don't think I've ever enjoyed singing Christmas carols/hymns this much. The worship leader Tim changed up a few of the regular songs into his own music and they sounded great. He's got a great singing voice and guitar playing is great as well, and he has great charisma for leading. I wish I could have half the ability he has.

Don't know if I mentioned this before, but my parents moved to a new house, we're in a bungalow now. Today after church we went to the old out house to clean out the pool... just something you have to do every week to get all the fallen leaves and dirt that falls in. They've been trying to sell that house for a few months now.. it's been difficult because the housing market crashed recently.

This evening we went to my parents' friends house for dinner.

These people are pretty wealthy.. I felt a little bit uncomfortable there, everything just seemed too nice. But the people there are really great people, very nice, all very strong Christians (or so I hear, from my mom). I kind of marvelled at the difference in lifestyle that I have compared to these people, all they talked about was gyms and working out, and then about their pets, and then about work. I guess that's pretty normal.. I dunno, I just felt like I had absolutely nothing in common with them.

Plus everyone knew eachother from childhood, so me and my brother were complete outsiders. It.. was just weird I guess.. and awkward.

Once every 30 minutes or so they, as my brother would put it, threw us a bone and let us say a few words in their conversations.. so in the 3-4 hours that we were there, I probably said 5-6 sentences worth.

I bought a laptop yesterday. It's a Toshiba Satellite. I like it a lot. With the whole wifi thing being big these days, this is really convenient for me. I can use it anywhere and be connected. It's really great.

I started working on my Perspectives project today. Turns out the whole thing only needs to be 5 pages long. That's not too bad at all. I've already completed Section A (it goes to E). The unreached people group I've selected are the Ojibwey First Nations people.

December 23, 2006

Shopping and Carl's Jr

For most of the shirts I bought yesterday, the following happened.

It would say at the top of the shelf "50% off lowest marked price", and then you look at the tag and $59.99 has been crossed out and someone had written $49.99, and then there are two more stickers on it, one saying $39.99, and the other saying $29.99.

I mean even if you didn't need that article of clothing, how could one resist?

So anyway, two hundred smackers later..

Yesterday we went for Carl's Jr, a fast food burger joint. OH MY GOODNESS.. these burgers were better than In-N-Out, I kid you not. Mind you they also costed twice as much.. but check this out. I had a Philly Cheese Steak burger, which is a big char-broiled beef patty topped with -- you guessed it -- philly cheese steak. The cheese was amazing, so much of it and perfectly melted. My dad ordered a double philly cheese steak, that's a regular philly cheese steak sandwich with 2 beef patties (He shared it with my mom). My brother got a guacamole bacon burger, with a "The Six Dollar Burger" patty. Oh my.. this one was so good too.. I had a bite of it, it was so great. Guacamole, huge beef patty, with bacon, cheese (this thing was like half a cm thick, real cheese not that processed crap from McD's). And then some chipotle bbq sauce below the patty. It really was something else.

And you wonder how Americans get so fat..

The fries were so-so. The medium drinks we had were like super-sized drinks from McD's, they were so big.. I could not even finish.

Carl's Jr. Give it a try when you get a chance. You won't be disappointed.

December 22, 2006


My dad has a new "word", last year he kept saying "doldrum". "What a doldrum", is what he'd say. This year the word is "dork". He has called me "dork" at least 20 times in the past 2-3 days. I dunno, I kinda liked "doldrum" better. Dork is so akt.. it's not me.

Yup, I'm back in Vegas again.

So far it's been pretty good, it's been great to see the family again, hanging out, joking and laughing. Yesterday we played TransAmerica all evening, it was pretty fun. I bought the game just before flying here so it's brand new.. it's a good clean board game without a whole lot of thinking required.

It's so not warm here. First of all my parents like to keep the temperature fairly cool, around 18C. So I'm always bundled up. Secondly there's a cold spell here so it's kinda cold. Not the most comfortable weather.. still wearing the same jackets I was wearing in Toronto.

We went to Fry's yesterday and checked out the laptops. I've determined that I cannot buy a good laptop here while spending little, and since I don't want to spend a lot, I'm gonna end up with a semi-beater of a laptop. I'm going for bare minimum for Vista.. 2gb ram and well.. that's it. 6 lbs.. it's decent. Costco is probably the best way to go. I spent about 2-3 hours researching on the web when I finally got access, using my dad's laptop.

Yesterday we had lunch at In-N-Out. I had a double-double (2x2 for those of you who remember my In-N-Out post a few months ago). I got the fries "well done" which means extra crispy, and the burger was "animal style". It was so good. So, so good. I made a video of the entire thing, and took a lot of pictures. I got pictures of the cups and fries box with the bible verses on them.

That's so cool.. the drink had John 3:16 written underneath, the fries box had Nahum 1:7, and the burger wrapper had Revelation 3:20.

Today we're heading out to Primm. Outlet mall galore!

December 19, 2006


I like hugs. I like them a lot.

December 18, 2006

3 more days

3 Days..

Three days before I make my annual trip down to the US to visit my parents. Mixed feelings this year, while I'm excited to go, I kind of feel like I'm missing out here. I think Christmas time (and New Years') is a time you spend with your friends and family, but I only get the family part. I haven't spent a Christmas in Toronto in what will be 4 years now, and having spent Easters and Thanksgivings here, I feel like I'm gonna miss out festivities, and friends. Granted most people spend these times with their families, and leaving me out in the cold. But not everyone..

That being said I'm excited to see my parents and their new home, as well as fill up my stomach with yummy foods. Oh yea, and I'm excited about Urbana, and the fact that I will see my friends again there.. which is a real bonus.

Yesterday my friend Ken got baptised. I love Baptism Sundays, getting a chance to listen to peoples' testimonies and encouragements, and their spiritual growth. It's just very exciting to me, and one of the happiest days that I look forward to every few months. I'm glad I was dragged into singing for worship, I think I actually smiled up there, even though I hate smiling "for show".. I was actually happy for real.

It's especially exciting to me when I see younger people get baptised. Young people have so much more potential I think, than we "stuck in a career" people, or "I have a wife/husband and kids" people do. There's just so many more opportunities and venues they can reach. I thought it was pretty funny when one of the girls did a "Shout-out to my mommy", and other person said "God's got my back". That was classic..

Had a nice surprise waiting for me yesterday as my brother had come home in the afternoon and we spent the evening playing Wii, eating together and catching up. I haven't seen him since Thanksgiving, so it was pretty nice to catch up, talk about school, church/fellowship and women. (The latter is a new one.. we never really talked about that stuff before. I will remain silent on this subject.. you know, the whole big brother to little brother confidentiality thingy.)

My brother switched to Comp Sci this year and has really been enjoying it and that's really exciting since I haven't seen him all that excited about anything for awhile now. Even better is he's made a few Christian friends this year and hangs out with them. I feel this'll be great for his growth.. I've always considered it a huge blessing to have accountable friends to hang out with. And he's been going to church and CCF which is also great news.

We had great fun playing Wii.. it's the first time I've played Wii with anyone so it was definitely a new experience. We played Red Steel first, which was great fun. I think the multiplayer levels are a bit too big to find eachother, but it's still pretty good. The sword thing is the best.. reminds me a lot of Halo except you're not completely dominating like you would be with the Energy Sword. Then we played Monkey Ball, which is a game I had barely touched because it's not really a single player game. We noticed that a few of the (50) mini-games really sucked and were so bad they were unplayable.

After that we watched Survivor, the finale. Yul won! Finally an asian person wins it. That was awesome.. close vote too, narrowly edged out Ozzie 5-4 in the final vote. Becky got nothing, but then again Becky DID nothing, it took her 1.5 hours to start a fire.. WITH MATCHES! Me and my brother were laughing so hard because Becky and Sundra took so long to start a fire. They had tied at Tribal Council and the tie-breaker was to start a fire with flint, to burn a rope above the fire.

I have never managed to start fire with flint, but I also never spent 39 days on a remote island with virtually all the time in the world to practice doing it. They both started out setting up the wood, but I believe they were holding their flints too high. By the time any spark hit the tinder it was already too cold to light. The Jury started growing restless, and Ozzie and Yul were falling asleep. Finally at the 30 minute mark, Jeff (the host) told them to stop, and gave them matches. I thought that was really funny.. You spend nearly 6 weeks on a remote island can can't start a fire with matches? LOL

December 15, 2006


Someone asked me why I haven't posted in so long, so here goes..

December 07, 2006

What's in a name?

I've been contemplating a name change for the blog. It's been "in the blink of an eye" for about 2 and a half years. If I can recall it was "mr. loquacious" before that, and then before that, it was just called "ebrian's blog". I've been blogging now for 6-7 years, and I think this site/concept has evolved from year to year and has been many different things for me over that time. A place to vent, voice my concerns, rant, preach, and of course, a place for me to make a complete idiot of myself over a girl.

I was thinking that perhaps 2007 could be a mark of it moving into yet another direction. Currently, I'm leaning towards naming it after my voxtropolis site (labelled as "spiritual walk" over yonder right-hand menu), moving my posts either to that site, or moving back here (which would probably be a whole lot easier since there's only about 5 posts over there. That site is called "Check Your Pulse".
Off and on this has been a theme for me over the past few months, and something I'd like to get into more over the next year. Of me gauging what gets me excited, my struggles, and kind of this I do for You and You do for me report -- things that really get my heart thumpin'.

"In The Blink Of An Eye" came from a song by Mercy Me, and focused on the little things in life and how life is too short to waste. "Check Your Pulse" comes from John Mayer's song "Great Indoors", full applicable lyrics here:

Check your pulse
It's proof that you're not
Listening to
The call your life's
Been issuing you

It's a similar theme but delves a little deeper into life's calling. Anyway, I love these words because it's a reminder for me to live my life to the utmost fullest to glorify Him.

Boney M

I hitched a ride with the young'uns, a.k.a. Allan, Fiona and Mils on the way to lunch on Sunday. Al and Fi were asking me about this band called "Boney M" and a song called "Mary's Boy Child". I knew the song, but not the band. This morning I went on youtube to check them out. Turns out (as I'm sure many of you know), they're a really old band, circa 1970s. That surprised me a bit considering it was the young'uns who were telling me about them.

You know what, it just occurred to me now that maybe they brought it up to me because they actually think I'm so old that I'd remember them. *sigh*

Boney M actually isn't too bad. I remember some of these songs like "Born To Be Alive" and "Rasputin".

December 05, 2006

It's real simple

"For every action there is a reaction."

Action: The New Jersey Nets managed to score just 75 points against the Dallas Mavericks.
Reaction: The Toronto Raptors are tied for 1st place in the Atlantic Division.


Read 'em and weep all you bandwagon jumping Raptor fans out there. The Raptors are the real deal!

Go Raptors Go!

December 04, 2006


Here's a funny little quip Bigjon told me a couple days ago. Now if you know BJ then you are also aware of his many "bad" jokes, but I thought this one was pretty good:

"Why does learning by osmosis not work? Because the concentration of the book doesn't change!"



So I went to the final wedding of the year, Mike and Serena tied the knot on Saturday. I don't really know Mike all that well except that everyone says he's a very helpful and generous person.

I always wonder what people would say about me, at a wedding or funeral. I could imagine people stammering and stuttering to come up with something positive to say about me:

"Oh Brian.. Brian Brian Brian.. he is/was so.. umm.. yea.. and he was always.. umm.. right.. soo.. how bout the weather these days, huh?"

I've known Serena longer.

Aside: I find it funny when I go to weddings, and you line up, and wait. Finally you get to the front of the line, and someone asks you "Bride or groom?". I mean does it really matter that much? Why do you have to sit on a certain side, do you really spend that much time talking to the persons you sit beside?

"Hi.. so, how do you know the groom?"
"The groom? Um.. well I don't really.. I'm friends with the bride."
"What? Are you serious?? SECURITY! THIS MAN IS ON THE WRONG SIDE!"

So anyway, I know Serena through Lon. Serena even came to a camping trip with my old church Milliken, along with Lon and Yvonne, and Jason. Which was really fun in those days because here we had the core of my Ottawa friends and my Toronto friends. I think I met Serena when she came to Ottawa to visit. I also remember going over to Lon's place in Hamilton for dinner, after Lon kept raving about how great Karen's cooking was, but instead I was treated with an ENTIRE meal of LIVER cooked by Serena, all because they thought they weren't getting enough iron. I mean COME ON.. what are the odds that you go to try Karen's cooking and you get an entire meal of liver.

Anyway, I remember that being the best liver I've ever had, so I guess that means Mike's in good hands if he ever needs iron.

The red wine at the reception was yummy. It reminded me of the Maria Christina I bought last year to cook with and also drink with cheese. I remember drinking almost an entire bottle of this hodge-podge wine while watching Sideways. Anyway, I had several. I had 2 before the meal on an empty stomach, which was great because it made the rest of the evening pretty fun. Not that alcohol makes everything fun.. but well, let's face it -- it does.

Weddings are always great, and it's always amazing to see two people connect in such a way that they would decide to devote the rest of their lives to eachother.


Btw, a big congratulations to my good friends Lon and Yvonne for the birth of their baby girl.