Following God to CANADA

"Who is like the Lord our God?" (Psalm 113:5) Having relocated 2,350 some odd miles from Michigan, which was home for three years, we are now official US transplants in British Columbia, located roughly two hours north of Seattle, Washington. The 35-hour drive was brutal, but worth it to obey God. It has been a joy serving a solidly evangelical institution like Trinity Western University as their University Chaplain and Director of Student Ministries. Being in an immigrant in Canada continues to be a cool experience, but not without its challenges.

Unfortunately for us, the elevated cost-of-living is somewhat comparable to Washington, DC, where we lived for a handful of years before Michigan while I led a church. Here in our suburban enclave, 45-minutes from Vancouver, "the average house price is below $1 million for the first time in two years. " Also, a few weeks before relocating to Canada, while in Texas for a family wedding, after a painful emergency room field trip, it was uncovered that I had a kidney stone. After the morphine made no dent, whatever stronger drug the medical staff provided did the job. The stone "passed" on its own accord some days later, gratefully, however, as we were in-between medical plans (no coverage from my most immediate employer and then my new job not having begun), $8,000 of medical bills were sent our way for the 90-minute visit. The ultrasound, medicine, and care were great and I am grateful for it all, but it is more than a bummer that it costs so much when needing to pay it out-of-pocket.

Funds we receive here will off-set the adjustment to one income, covering these surprise medical bills, and helping to underwrite occasional visits back to the States. Every bit helps and is appreciated!

In his book The Christian Way of Living: An Ethics of the Ten Commandments , Klaus Bockmuehl wrote: "...we are not responsible for success, but we remain responsible for obedience. That should produce a responsible lightheartedness! What God creates out of our obedience is His own concern.”

We are in Canada only because of the sense that God desires our service here at this moment, for whatever reason(s). It reflects our simple desire to respond as Scripture suggests we should when He, the Creator, calls us, the created, to some task: "Here I am; send me." (Isaiah 6:8) We want to make the most of the opportunity. Feel free to keep up-to-date with my photographic adventures .

If you have some time, listen to my sermon from the last chapel from this fall semester: "Sleeping on the Job, " from Mark 13:32-37. You can subscribe to the podcast here .


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James Ellis III 
Holland, MI
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