|Brooks Christian Reformed Church|
Almost twelve years ago Chris and I took a chance, and moved out of our comfort zone to a small town in a rural Alberta. We arrived with high hopes, and one year old baby. While there we had a second, and we both were apprentices to the lovely people we came to know and love. There I learned to garden, sew, can, quilt and knit. Chris learned a lot of what it means to be a pastor there, he has fantastic people to work with and we were loved well by them. We walked our girls all over town, and we cemented ourselves as a family, building traditions and practices we still keep.
Almost seven years ago, Chris accepted a call from Rochester Christian Refomed Church. When we then moved three weeks later. The move to Rochester was a great one for us a family but we never have stopped loving, praying for and thinking about our first congregation.
It was so wonderful to be able to walk into Brooks CRC, and see the familiar faces and hug old friends. It was a blessing to catch up on all the stuff that doesn't make it to Facebook (both the hurts and blessings). We sort of hoped to meet the new pastor there, but were thrilled to spot on of Chris's old seminary buddies, an university chaplain in Calgary was the guest preacher. It let us enjoy signing with our former congregation without even a hint of awkwardness. They are his take care of now, but we still love them.
Our girls did well with the difficult dance of having lots and lots of people know who they are. While this is a common thing for pastor's kids this was the first time they had ever experienced having a church full of people know them without being able to recognize them back. They roamed the church, pulling up the faint memories of having spent their babyhood & pre-school years there. After church we drove by our old house. It looks like it is being used as multi-family home now, and our front garden was sadly neglected. We decided not to intrude and just drove by. We pointed out landmarks to our girls, the parks they played in, the spots they used to visit.
We the spent the afternoon with some of the families that we had been the closest to while in Brooks. We caught on their news. The girls had a chance to play with old friends.
Both Chris and I had a emotional day. For Chris sitting in church and hugging people in the church basement brought up the feeling for me is was saying goodbye again.
It was a gift to be able to come back, and let them know how much we still think of them and how precious they are to us, even as we love our home and church in Rochester.