as we end the sabbatical, i thought it'd be important to log some of the key events in these last nine months.

march 2011 - after a few months of prayer and discernment, min and i would decide to move on from inter-varsity after completing the second of two three-year commitments. my time with inter-varsity was a true blessing and much of who i am and how i think about and practice ministry is the result of that community and being a part of that mission.

we didn't know exactly what we would be going into and where we would be doing it, but we knew that we were ready to jump into that next adventure together. no matter how difficult or uncertain the path.

also in march, we would discover that min was pregnant for the first time! we were elated and though it raised all kinds of questions about where we wanted to the raise the baby and how we were going to time things, we received the news as a blessing and were thrilled to start this next stage of life as a family.

may 2011 - one of my final projects with inter-varsity was overseeing the vancouver urban partnership, a project that was near and dear to my heart. i wasn't as intimately involved this year was but still very much a part of the planning process and ready to help the team debrief at the end. little did i know that this project would also result in one of the most tragic and painful experiences in my ministry life.

a week before the debrief retreat, min and i went in for a routine pre-natal appointment when we discovered that the fetus did not have a heartbeat. the news floored us. min was definitely more acutely affected by this event as her body had been undergoing major changes in the past two months. i felt it, but more from a distance as the pregnancy was only just becoming concrete in my head and heart. a few days later, min would miscarry.

after a few days of recovery and sitting with the loss, min went back to work and we both decided that it would be okay for me to go on the debrief retreat as originally planned. i went, and without going into all the details, it was at the retreat where a ubc international student and inter-varsity member, felix would drown in a tragic swimming accident. the events surrounding the death were benign and nobody is at fault, but his loss is a reality. his keen mind and infectious personality are daily missed by all of us who knew him.

the days spent dealing with the crisis, planning the memorial and hosting his family from kenya and across north america were a blur. everything seemed to resolve, however and it almost felt like after the initial crisis and the excellent care we received afterwards that life would return to normal.

june 2011 - for the majority of 2011 i was busy planning and coordinating a national conference for our inter-varsity staff. i was pretty excited about what we had come up with and even though i was leaving staff, i thought it would be an excellent note to leave on. unfortunately, because of the events in may, i had to hand over my directing duties to the staff that were working with me and i only went for the last day to say my goodbyes. it was a bitter sweet ending to a pretty fantastic working relationship with staff across canada.

once i got back from the conference i was asked to fly to kenya to attend felix's funeral. i knew this might be a small possibility, but during the flight back home it became a very large one.

this became one of the defining moments of our marriage so far. one of those events that are the result of a culmination of a myriad of emotions and thoughts. if i went, that meant leaving min once again - the miscarriage and felix's death and all the travel was enough, but now a major trip to kenya? if i didn't go, all our other options for inter-varsity staff to go fell through and there would be no one to represent ivcf at the funeral. i had to go, and yet i couldn't go.

i ended up going.

to be continued....

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