After nearly thirty-six years of living in Prince George, British Columbia, we have made the difficult decision to move on — this time to Calgary, Alberta. In doing so, we are saying goodbye to a community that has been home for almost half of our lives — since the fall of 1984. Like so many who have come to Prince George, we too came thinking our time might be short. But over the years, it became evident that Prince George had so much to offer by way of opportunity. It was sizable enough to be a major center in BC, so that there was lots of room to explore and ‘stretch our wings.’ And so we did.
Blessings of life in Prince George
Our family of four children was blessed by the opportunities in education, sport, and art as well as the development of faith. My wife, Carolyn, fulfilled her educational ambition to serve the community as a teacher of young children which she did for 32 years. Together we committed ourselves to the reason for our coming, which was to lead a church congregation in fulfilling its biblical purpose to represent the Good News well in this community.
Following almost twenty years of pastoral service at the Lakewood Alliance Church, we continued living and working in Prince George. Our children graduated from high school and moved on, but evidently God had more for us to do here. Carolyn continued teaching, and I worked at the development of Second Wind Ministries. This resulted in a means of service to the community, and also to about a dozen churches as a transition pastor in western Canada.
We are extremely grateful for the privilege it has been for us to live and work here all these years. We’ve enjoyed the climate, the distinct seasons, and the natural beauty of the surrounding area. For us Prince George has been a hub for many different adventures. In our time here, the City has significantly matured as a center for commerce, health, sport, and education. And it’s been a blessing to be a part of it all. Most of all, we have enjoyed many special relationships with people, both in the church and the community. For all of these blessings we thank God and the people of Prince George!
Decision Time But, there comes a time when all these good things come to an end in one way or another. Our children have settled in other places and established families of their own (giving us eleven grandchildren). For a variety of reasons, it’s not likely that any of them will be moving back to Prince George. The biggest practical reason for our move at this time is to be closer to family for the purpose of mutually enjoying and serving one another in this fall season of our lives. Carolyn feels she has reached the end of her teaching career and I, as God leads and am needed, can serve the larger church from a new location.
But I have to say that a decision of this magnitude is not easy. It comes with mixed emotions. There is so much that we have loved about this community that makes us loathe to leave. Our roots here have been deep. And the transplant, at this mature time in our lives, means pain in the extraction and discomfort in the replanting — while seeking good soil and nourishment in another place. Even though we are moving to be closer to family, we know there will be challenges to living in a new environment. Thankfully, we know some great people in Calgary who are sure to help us feel at home. Because we are older and Calgary is large, humanly speaking, it will likely be more difficult to find our identity and role in that community.
Embarking on a New Adventure Despite the challenges of such a move at this time in our lives, we would like to think of it as an adventure concerning God’s unfolding grace in our lives. As we did in Prince George, we will continue to live our lives by faith in the promises and provisions of God’s goodness and love. As He has been faithful to His promises in the past, so we will trust Him to be faithful to them in the future. We want to enjoy the blessings of a new community, of spending time with our extended family from there, and of getting to know and serve others according to the abilities and strength God gives. In doing so, we follow the example of many others who have trusted God in their relocation experiences, whether carefully chosen or thrust upon them by some urgency.
Some decisions in life are relatively simple involving nothing more than preferences for certain kinds of food, dress, or recreation. But there are others that are rather momentous because they involve large choices in education, marriage, and career. One of the biggest decisions we all have to make in life is where to live. In the end, I believe, many of our decisions, like this one, involve God’s providence. This means coming to realize that God is involved in helping us make choices that ultimately accrue to our benefit and His glory.
Decision-making Principles That’s why it’s so important to involve God in these kinds of decisions through biblical truth and prayer. There is more to a major move, for example, than one’s decision based on finance, natural attraction, or career opportunity. Though these are normal considerations, in the end, it’s important to trust God for His direction. And, in a rather profound way, it’s possible to actually experience God’s guidance, and then His blessing for these decisions. If, in retrospect, we actually look for it, we can only conclude that there has been a “Hidden Hand” directing our way. That is what providence is all about; it’s the confidence that God directs our lives in ways that are ultimately good, even though we feel limited in our own ability to choose.
It is in this spirit that we embark on this move from Prince George to Calgary. As we have known God’s providence in the past through being guided here, and living here, so we are confident that we will experience His help and blessing in this new chapter of our lives as well. By God’s grace, we want to follow the encouraging words of Proverbs 3:5, 6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.