Greetings friends and family,
As I begin to write this Christmas letter, my page is blank full of possibility of what to say. How can I begin to put this year into 1 page worth of words? What to share? How to convey my year to you? I think I’ll pull a Mary Poppins and just say ‘My year was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!’
I finished up my 3rd year at Brock University in April, and currently in my 4th studying Child and Youth Studies with a minor in Sociology. Since I switched programs so many times during 1st and 2nd year, I have to come back for an extra term (September-December 2012) however will only have 3 courses so planning on commuting from home. I still love Brock and so thankful I decided to make this my home-away-from-home. I am continuing to work at Career Services on campus, volunteering, and swimming during the week. My friends are fabulous, community is awesome, and I’m trying to enjoy the University life as much as possible.
This past summer I worked for The GO Project, which is affiliated with The United Church. Little did I know this job would change my life. The GO Project is a youth mission program organized for the wider church by Islington United Church based in Toronto. It gives youth and their leaders an opportunity to experience local mission in a variety of ways; through assisting at community gardens, organizing food drives, running a children’s program, working with individuals on the street etc. Mission that doesn't involve building homes and fixing wells (although that is just as important), rather mission that involves building a relationship with others, yourself and God, and creating positive change within communities. The GO Project has sites in Toronto, Vancouver, as well as in Halifax and St. John’s where I was working. This job opened my eyes to the world around us, and had me connecting with individuals whose stories are far different than my own.
This summer, July 11, 2011 to be exact, was also when I experienced my call to ministry. There are no words to really describe my call, however it was powerful, vibrant and real. I wrestled with my call for the remaining of the summer, and in early fall engaged in deep and rich conversations with my mentors. I am now in the process of discernment, where with a committee of 5, along with myself, over the next year I will explore my faith, and see where my gifts are best suited to serve the church. I am excited for this journey to unfold, and keeping close the words of Jeremiah 29:11- "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".
On top of school and church, there has been lots of other stuff going on. In February I bought a cherished and very loved new SRL Nikon D90 camera, which has increased my enjoyment of photography, and love for the hobby. In April I attended the Juno Awards in Toronto where Drake was the host, and September found myself back for a Keith Urban concert! During my week off in the summer I enjoyed some time at the cottage, which I am extremely grateful, as after many years on the market it finally sold this November. I’ve also celebrated with many friends as they’ve welcomed new life into this world, and rejoiced with brother Grant as he graduated University. I’m still wearing my Toronto Maple Leaf’s jersey with pride and continue to believe that sometime during my lifetime we will win the cup!
Although in hockey, it’s all about winning, life is not. Life is about celebrating the beauty that surrounds us, the joys of today and wonders for tomorrow. Life is about appreciating the small things, cherishing each new day and spending time with those you love. During this holiday season, I encourage you to take a step back, pause on the moment, and enjoy the miracle that is Christmas. Sending so much love to you and your family this Christmas season, and many well wishes for a Happy New Year!
Peace, Love and Hugs!Hillary