If you've been through any kind of transition - from a new relationship, having a baby, or starting a new ministry, you know that there are phenomenal amounts of changes in a short time. Instead of feeling like a super highway carved out into a straight line, it's more like a crazy switchback road in the mountains, like this wind-around road leading into Osoyoos from Anarchist Mountain into the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.
Or perhaps your transition is like unnavigated stairs, and you feel you're not landing on the steps, but rather the vertical part. These basement stairs were captured here in a damaged black and white film photograph. Perhaps you feel as battered as these stairs - just slowly navigating each step, but making it. You're a survivor.
Then there are the moves. Tony grew up in a military family and was in the Royal Navy himself, so he knows frequent moves. He's lived in four homes in Ottawa alone. For me, it's been fewer. I first moved at age ten from one Etobicoke neighbourhood to another. Then I moved into residence at Tyndale Seminary - but that was different - most of my things were still at my parents' home. Next was my move to Ottawa, when I accepted Tony's proposal. My next move was something that I thought would last longer: six months in the BC Kootenays, working as a creative writer and producer for a radio station group. That was when I came to love the mountains! When it didn't work out, Tony flew out to help me move back to Ontario.
In 2016, we downsized from a semi-detached house into a condo apartment, while also preparing for an Iris Global Harvest Mission School. We cut down our belongings in record time - although I kept less than half my books, my art, and most of our huge music collection. Now in 2017, that downsize is even more severe. I've been digitizing huge boxes of printed photos for nearly a year, as well as buying digital versions of books I still want. Others are being either given away or placed in boxes with different friends in lieu of storage. We are to rent our lovely two bedroom condo (any long-term renters need furnished accomodation?) while we head to South Africa, and the race is on to continue sorting, throwing out, and storing less than we had.
We're also phasing out of many of our Ottawa ministries and involvements, although we will be connected in some way with a few of them, such as LIFT TV, IPLF, Good News Christian Ministries, Alpha Canada, and our churches (St Paul's Anglican Kanata, Kingdom Culture, Catch the Fire Ottawa and Blackburn Hamlet Community Church). We've said goodbye to our CKCU 93.1 FM show "Window of Opportunity" (on July 28th) and plan to be on sabbatical from "Over My Head" after mid October. We will be on sabbatical from Ottawa prison ministry, and more. Transition is difficult, but change is part of life.
On the good side, we're thankful for the friends who have agreed to take a couple of boxes, and of our especially good friend Lynn, who has a lot of my art work. Even my family weren't able to take in anything, apart from family photos that I can no longer keep.
So why are we doing this? While we are sorting the past and present, we look towards the future. We are heading to Worcester, Western Cape in South Africa. We'll work with the Iris Western Cape base between Worcester and Robertson in the beautiful wine-growing Breede River Valley. We have so many good tasks to do, as well as difficult ones, but we're excited.
While the downsize has been a challenge (although easier than it was in 2016), we were accepted by Iris Ministries Canada with open arms. We had road bumps gathering our needed documents to apply for our visas - but we persevered. Then we applied for our visitor visas at the South African High Commission, and were given favour. We were treated kindly, with respect and were honoured with our visas within 24 hours! This is extreme grace, since normally it can take eight weeks to receive a visa!
We have our tickets, and leave Ottawa on November 8th.... And even though we see an end in sight - it's a new beginning. Some of what's to come is known, some completely new. And that's how a journey of faith is. When we are willing to trust Jesus and follow his lead, we can go anywhere he leads us. In our case, it's South Africa.
Still, like preparing for a baby (see our dreams page for the baby dream), it takes preparation. If you are a prayer person, please pray for us as we finalize details and finish the downsize and our fundraising all at the same time. God's got this. He'll get us there. Thanks for reading (and praying). If you'd like to pray for us, please drop us a note on the contact page. If you'd like to financially support us, please go to the giving page - the tabs are right up on the top of the website.
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)
From the heart of Ottawa - to the heart of Western Cape -
Our steamer trunks! We'll meet them in Cape Town. They're not long enough to hold Tony's keyboard, so he'll just play guitar for three years...
Tony and Laurie-Ann Copple (usually Laurie-Ann)
L-A's devotional blog
TONY'S DEVOTIONAL BLOG
Tony's south african journal
TONY'S POST MISSION JOURNAL