When I first knew we were coming to Canada for J’s spine fellowship training, I was exhilarated! To my knowledge, Toronto and Vancouver naturally pop into my mind whenever Canada is mentioned. Ok, since I used to play the board game RISK with my brother when we were much younger, I knew Quebec is part of Canada too. However, Calgary? pardon my ignorance, I have never heard of this city before!
When I shared with my church mates that J and I will be going to Calgary for a year, many kind souls mentioned, “Oh! Do you know Pastor Eddy? He is there with his family!” I have seen Ps Eddy preached once in Zion Serangoon BPC, and another time in Zion Bishan BPC. But that doesn’t qualify me as having known him personally. As the day drew near to our departure, Ps Eddy contacted me via Facebook (he is an active pastor via Facebook by the way), then whatsapp (yes, he is tech savvy), then VOI (oh ya, that one blew me away, for I didn’t know about voice over internet). Hence, to receive a call from him one day surprised me, in a most pleasant way. In his usual cheerfully chivalrous tone, he was just all out to help us in any way he could.
Then, one Lord’s day, surprise! Surprise! When I was serving as an usher in church, an affably pleasant lady walked up to me. She is Aunty Jessie, Ps Eddy’s wife! Her generous smile instantly strummed a chord in my heart the moment we connected. She was in Singapore then, and in church on that Sunday. It was so nice of her to come up to me just to establish contact before she flew back to Canada.
Ever since we arrived in Calgary, Ps Eddy and his lovely family (the FamiLIM, a term coined by Ps Eddy himself) have been more than just blessings to us. I was pregnant and had rather bad morning sickness, resulting in nausea, lack of appetite, super sensitivity to scents and smells, and vomiting up to 12 times a day (not just in the morning, it was throughout the day, it should be termed all-day sickness). As J was so busy with his fellowship training, while I was so sick, it was FamiLIM who took much great care of me.
Knowing that I was feeling under the weather and home alone everyday when J was at work, they took precious time to visit me and offered to bring me out – for shopping, for food, and to see where Centre Street Church* is, as well as the Ambrose University College. What touches my heart the most was that they took time just to spend time with me. Furthermore, there were many occasions that Aunty Jessie brought us home-cooked food to relieve us from cooking. And man! her dishes were and still are lip-smackingly oishii!!!
FamiLIM even extended their loving care towards me when J had to go to Montreal for a Spine conference in March, by offering their home for me to stay with them while J was away. Awww… the home-made foods that Aunty Jessie prepared, for breakfast, lunch and dinner remedied my homesickness instantly (I was terribly homesick for the Singapore home, not our Calgary home). I remembered as I walked down the staircase of their home, there it was, Aunty Jessie with all the breakfast staples all ready to serve up a hearty morning meal that can make anyone’s day shine brighter than Calgary’s sunshine! I typically enjoyed the time spent with the girls, Crystal and Gloria too. They are such beautiful girls, inside and out, who love Jesus very much. Their bibles are always in sight, they keep a piggy bank for the work of Christ, they serve as youth mentors in their church in Calgary… To sum it up, they have Christ in the center of their lives, radiating the love of Jesus to everyone in their paths. Together with their brother Mark, who plays the bass guitar, with Crystal playing the piano and Gloria, singing or playing the violin, the siblings will lift up their voices, singing praises to the LORD. In fact, the entire FamiLIM engages in home worship regularly. They have left a significant impact on me in my ideals of a Christ-centered family. I want my family to be like them. The presence of God is eminent.
When Dad and Mum were here with us from September to November, FamiLIM was also very gracious to chauffeur them around when J and I were busy with work and caring for our newborn respectively. All in all, we give thanks and praise to the LORD for blessing our fellowship together, as one in Christ. With or without baby E, with or without Mum and Dad, FamiLIM treated me and J just like family. Indeed, we are a family of God in Christ.
Tonight, we came together as a family of God to celebrate the birth of Christ, our LORD, post-Christmas. Aunty Jessie prepared a wholesome feast, which consists of sweet and sour prawns, chicken rendang, tangerine-glazed salmon, nonya chap chye, and buckwheat noodle salad. We ended the night sweetly with a range of delightful desserts such as fruits and nuts, ice cream and Crystal’s baked royal shortbread cookies! The meal was sumptuous, we couldn’t have asked for a better meal at a better place. Everything was perfect! After dinner, Aunty Jessie packed all the leftovers for us to bring home so that we don’t have to cook tomorrow, awww… She is always that thoughtful, yes. Crystal also gave us a pack of her very addictive cookies. Yums! How I love this FamiLIM! I see a glimpse of what Heaven is like whenever I’m with them. May the LORD bless them always.
*Centre Street Church is the church that Ps Eddy recommended and introduced to us. We are in line with what the church believes in and is doing, moreover, we like the sermons and will certainly continue to watch their sermons online even when we return to Singapore. Through Ps Eddy, we got to know Adeline and Philip Chan who worship in Centre Street Church. They too, are very much a blessing to us all the time we are here in Calgary.