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Where Did the Time Go?

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Where did the time go? Time is just flying by! How did we get to this stage in our lives?

Are these phrases you hear yourself saying often?

Ecclesiastes 3:1 teaches, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." The interesting thing about time is whatever stage of life you are currently in, you are constantly either looking back on a memory of a time past or looking forward to a goal not yet accomplished.

Your preschool years may have been completed decades ago and have no relevance to your present season of life. Some of you reading this may have just graduated high school and may not have a single memory of your preschool years (even though they were only 15 years ago!). Others might be in the midst of parenting the most challenging and difficult 3-year-old that ever walked the planet and you just want this season to end.

You were once a preschooler. Allow yourself to sit and ponder that for a moment. Yes, there was a time in your life that you didn't know your colours or ABCs. You didn't know how to use scissors, zip up your coat, or stand in a line. You had to be taught how to share, wait your turn, and how to apologize and make it right with someone. These skills are taught at young age and then developed over the course of your life. You don't become a successful adult by accident. We require different people in our lives, in different seasons, to help mentor, teach, and encourage our growth and development.

Many of us are wrapping up our school year either as a student, teacher, or parent. If you personally don't fall into any of these categories, allow yourself to reflect on the memories you have from the different seasons of your life. Pray for those who helped bring you to your current season of life. Ecclesiastes 3:2 goes on to say, "a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted." Sometimes you are the seed being planted, other times you are harvesting the reward of your efforts. In other seasons, you are the farmer who is planting the seeds. Each of these seasons comes with its own rewards, challenges, and experiences. A wise woman once told me, "Don't will away any stage of life. Earnestly try to stay present in each season and reflect on the lessons learned and blessings that surround you daily."

As First Steps Preschool completes another school year, I am filled with many different emotions. Personally, a season is ending for our family. All of our children will be attending elementary school in September. We sang "good-bye until next time" to our preschool season. God has brought us through yet another season of life.

Whatever season of life you are in, I pray that you will find a lesson learned, reflect on blessings of provision, and know the love of our Saviour.

Posted by Katie Yakiwchuk

Swaziland (Eswatini) Missions Trip

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We would like to take a moment to share an exciting story with you. Swaziland is a small country in Southern Africa. The nation has recently changed their name to the more traditional, "Eswatini." It is a beautiful country with great diversity and a young population. They currently have the 12th lowest life expectancy of all nations in the world. One of the significant factors in this low life expectancy is HIV/AIDS. Eswatini has the highest HIV rate in the world. According to the UNAIDS 2018 data, 27.4% of the adult population is HIV positive (ages 15-49) and UNICEF records that the nation is home to over 100,000 orphans.

Luis and Maggie Chomba live outside of Mbabane, the city capital. Luis pastors a small church and was overcome by the burden of so many young children who were losing their parents to HIV/AIDS. The Chombas started taking some of these young children into their home and before long, their home had become the local "Hope House" orphanage. They house up to 40 orphaned children full time and provide meals for up to 300 other orphans and vulnerable children in their community!

In July, one of SDBC's community groups will be going to serve the Chombas and the Hope House orphans. Craig and Heather Kraft will be returning to Africa with Andrew Kraft, Caleb van Til, and Melissa Robertson to work with Luis and Maggie. "Our group wanted to finish the year with a project or mission trip that gave us an opportunity to 'love like Jesus' outside of our comfort zone."

This trip will give the team a first-hand experience of what it is like to care for others in a challenging environment. Our team has been invited to Eswatini to meet the Chombas, learn about the great challenges in their community, and to provide a little bit of help and respite for the people who serve these orphans every day.

This Sunday, the Eswatini team will be hosting a hamburger lunch in the Chapel following the service. They will be available to share about where they are going, what they hope to accomplish, and how you can partner with them. The lunch will be by donation. Donations may be made through Outreach Canada by clicking the button below. 

Posted by Craig Kraft

Serving and Sharing on Salt Spring Island

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This year will be our 22nd year of sending a group of youth and leaders over to Salt Spring Island for a week to help residents with work around their homes. This trip is a highlight of the year for many of the students in our youth group. During the final months leading up to the trip a week does not go by without someone talking about how excited they are for Salt Spring. Many memories are made while on work projects and during the activities of the week. It has been a life changing week for so many students throughout the past 21 years.

Work projects are at the forefront of this trip, and the purpose of these projects is to serve the mission of the trip. The mission of the Salt Spring trip every year is ​to see students connect, learn, and grow as disciples of Jesus. The work projects help so many people on the island but the reason this trip happens each year is to see this mission happen.

Having this mission at the centre of the trip is what makes it so special. Work projects are a very practical way that we can love like Jesus. It shows us the importance of serving others and caring for their needs. It pushes students to see that part of being a disciple is serving. Jesus said, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all" (Mark 9:35b). How do we become a servant of all? We recognize the needs of those around us and aim to help them with those needs. For example, many on the island rely on firewood for heating their homes throughout the winter. So, we will spend hours upon hours during the week chopping and stacking wood. Others need help around their garden because they are unable to keep the weeds under control anymore. So we will spend hours pulling out weeds. We want to be servants.

But, there is something much greater that happens amidst these projects. At the beginning of the trip each year, we start with something we call the "equip session." A large portion of this involves practicing our testimonies and sharing the gospel with others so that we are prepared to share with the residents of the island. It is not uncommon to end up in a conversation about the gospel with residents throughout the week. Homeowners will ask students and leaders why they come to the island each year and this opens up an opportunity to share the gospel with them.

Growing as a disciple means we serve, but it ultimately means we also share the gospel. This is our duty as believers, to "make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). The work projects are an avenue in which we are able to glorify God on Salt Spring Island through word and deed. Please be in prayer for our team as we head over to the Island from June 29th-July 6th. Pray for God to work in the lives of the students and for opportunities to share the gospel with the people of Salt Spring Island.

Posted by Kyle McDonald

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