Coming Out on the Other Side

I experienced a wonderful sense of peace and comfort as I worshipped this morning with my church family at Whitby Free Methodist Church.   I wrote down the first two lines of a chorus we were singing which seemed to sum up what has been happening in my life for the last year.

“All through the storm,
Your  love is the anchor.”

Let me explain.

I returned to Canada in May 2014, to attend FMCiC General Conference and to begin 6 months of connection with my supporting churches in ministry as a missionary in Kenya.  God enabled me to travel across Canada and in the fall I was within a month of returning to Kenya when my sister, Marilyn, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Thanksgiving (Canada) 2014

Thanksgiving (Canada) 2014

My suitcase was being packed to return to Kenya in November but plans were put on hold so that I could spend time with Marilyn.  Details were worked out for me to work remotely from Canada,  writing curriculum (Bible Studies, VBS materials and Membership material) with a couple of planned consultation trips to Kenya as the situation at home allowed.

The opportunity arose for me to go to Kenya in April 2015 for a month – to continue with the curriculum project, and to teach during a Bible School session.  A week before my intended return to Canada, I received a message that my sister, after a brief hospital stay, was receiving palliative care at home and that I should get home as quickly as possible.  The next evening, I was on a flight to Toronto where I was picked up by my sister, Cathy and her husband Rob, and I was taken to see Marilyn.  She knew I was there and seemed relieved that I had come.

The next days brought much pain.  Oh, I admit that we had our normal spats as sisters do when growing up.  She was always the “life of the party” and I was the shy girl who was “content” to sit in the corner and let the world spin around me, but inwardly, I was jealous of her.   If you ever see me, ask me how that manifested itself.  But as we grew older (and wiser) I realized what a gift God had given me and I treasured our times together, our visits, our secrets (which she had a hard time keeping) and shared experiences.

I learned so much about my beautiful sister from the tributes shared at the memorial service and personal messages from so many people.  I continue to hold her close in my heart and thank God for giving her to me.   The process of grieving was and continues to be painful except for the hope I have that we will meet again.

At the same time, it became increasingly obvious that my life was taking a new direction.  I had returned to Kenya in August to begin the process of leaving the country that I had called home for so long – 20 years.  There were opportunities to minister in several churches and I connected with individuals whose lives I had impacted (these will be highlighted in upcoming blogs). When I was at my lowest, God reminded me of people whom I had touched as I taught and preached and visited and developed relationships.  I realized that I had come out on the other side from discouragement and despair and anger at God (for letting all this happen) to encouragement and victory and  renewed faith in and relationship with God.

“All through the storm,
Your love is the anchor.”

God is faithful and his love endures forever.  I will be returning to Kenya to teach at Kenya Highlands Evangelical University (formerly Kenya Highlands Bible College).  That was my first assignment in Kenya in 1994 after being evacuated from Burundi.  It is exciting to be teaching alongside former students.  God is good.












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10 Responses to Coming Out on the Other Side

  1. Wawota Free Methodist Church says:

    God is so good Debbie. I sympathize with you over the loss of your sister. (Yes I too have sisters and know a little of what you have experienced.) Praise God for the revelation He has given you – go with God. Wawota Free Methodist Church- Barbara

    • Debbie says:

      Thank you Barbara. I appreciate the ongoing support of the Wawota FMC and just maybe — I will get a chance to visit with you there on my next (and probably last) home assignment.

  2. Judy van Gent says:

    I saw you at church yesterday but didn’t make it over to say goodbye. You must be excited. A new venture and the sense that this is all of God. I pray God’s blessing on this time. May you be the servant we learned about yesterday. And then, what peace to know we are walking hand in hand with God.

    God bless you, Judy van Gent

    Sent from my iPad


  3. Debbie says:

    I was looking for people as I was preparing to leave but didn’t see you – at least we talked last week. Thank you for your prayers as I go. I hope I can do better at keeping this blog up to date so you can know the “latest” news.

  4. Dale and Betty Humphrey says:


    we are happy to hear of your return to Kenya Bible college. We have many fond memories of our visit with you there. We are praying daily for your care and trust God’s blessing on your teaching there.

    Dale and Betty Humphrey

  5. Myra and Bob McCloud says:

    Thank you for your letter. I am praying for you and your ministry. Myra and Robert McCloud

  6. Myra and Bob McCloud says:

    We will be praying for you and your ministry.

  7. Patty Smith says:

    This message touched my heart. I also lost a vivacious sister and could relate so much to what you were feeling. God is faithful and loving and patient with us. I will pray for you in your new assignment.

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