Monday, November 28, 2005

Dumping Day!

Today is Monday and the kids are off school all over Nova Scotia!

For those of you that are not aware - Nova Scotian life seems to revolve around fishing and hunting seasons.
At the moment we're coming towards the end of 'deer' hunting season and there are so many deer around. We actually saw one run out across the road infront of us when we were driving the other day. Fortunately Rachel was able to put her foot down on the break and avoid hitting the deer. We also know this guy called Frank who shot a deer last week and has promised to give us some deer meat which will be cool.

That's one of the perks of living here.
Today, is the first day of lobster fishing season. People make loads of money here from lobster fishing, but it's one of those jobs where you have to start work at 3 or 4 am and you get home at 9pm and you go straight to bed! So glad that I don't have to do that. Well, apparantly, most lobster fishermen take their kids with them on the first day of lobster fishing season every year, which is why every year on this day, the kids get the day off school!

That's so cool! It's nice for kids to spend that day with their dads (those whose dads are lobster fishermen of course).

They call today 'dumping day' because it's the first day where they dump their lobster traps in the water. They would've been working on preparing those traps all of last week.

Below is a picture of a lobster fisherman at work...
Did you know that..

A lobster trap has what is called the kitchen where the bait is put. The bait is usually either fresh or salted herring or mackerel. The lobsters enter the traps to get the bait and go into the parlor or bedroom where they can’t escape. There is however an escape mechanism fitted to the trap which consists of a spruce lath with three 1 3/4 inch holes attached to the parlor. This is for the undersized lobsters or tinkers to escape from. Tests show that about 60% of them actually escape.

The traps are dropped from a boat and the spot is marked with a buoy so that it may be found again when it is time to haul the traps. If the weather is good the traps are hauled the next day and reset. The season usually starts the last Monday of November and runs until the end of May.

So if you want to, feel free to pray for all the lobster fishermen today to catch some lobster! We have one lobster fisherman in our church. Our friend Frank who hunts deer is also a lobster fisherman and while writing this blog, he called us to say that he has injured his back from all the bending over he did last night and this morning. So please pray for Frank, he has to go out again on the boat at 11pm tonight to haul the traps in and prepare to put them out again in the early hours of the morning. He doesn't know Jesus, but we pray that Jesus heals him today.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


The otherday we experienced a Nova Scotian 'Outage'. Before anyone gets really excited, an outage, isn't a wonderful family outing, or a nice day out with your friends. It isn't some great outdoor experience.

Oh no!

An 'Outage' is actually the Nova Scotian or maybe even Canadian term for 'Power Cut'.

From about 4pm all the lights went out!

Now, when I used to live in Libya, this did happen a few times, and even in England, there was the very rare and odd occassion that this happened. And you might be thinking, 'so you had a power cut - what's the big deal?'

Well, living here, you not only have no electricity when there is a power cut. Our water comes from a well on our property which gets to the house through a water pump powered by electricity. So, when the lights went out, the water stopped. Yes, there was no water in the sink and even worse, the toilets were out of use. Hang on, a correction is needed here, you can use the toilets but you certainly can't flush them! That was not good.

Seeing as it was 4pm when this happened, it made cooking dinner an interesting experience and washing food even more of an interesting experience. Still, somehow by the grace of God, and with a little help from candle light and a little bowl of water, we somehow managed.

We were concerned that if this 'outage' decided to remain a long while, that we would actually lose all the food in our fridge and freezer (that we had only just bought that afternoon). What can I say though, God was gracious! The power came back on for 1/2 an hour in the evening. However, just when we took sigh of relief that it was back, it went out again. Then the same thing happened at about 1am before finally coming back about 4am. Still at least the two 1/2 hour intervals (that it was back) did mean that we didn't lose any food.

So the lesson to be learned is this:

If you ever come to live in Nova Scotia, always make sure you have the following items somewhere at all times:

-flashlights or 'torches' as we say in England
-canned food

So beware the 'Outage'. Apparantly last year, there was a 24 hour long outage and people did lose all their food. I think the word for 'outage' is quite apt here, as one literally can suddenly find themself out of power, out of water, out of food, and out of light too! - Totally surrounded by the dark cold Canadian country night!

Friday, November 25, 2005

I survived!

Ok, I'm such a wimp. But I really don't like needles. Yesterday we went and had our flu shots. Gary and the girls had theirs first to get it over with quick. While they were having theirs done, I was trying hard not to look at or think about the needles. So I was trying to be calm waiting for my turn, and all along my stomach was doing summersaults and panic and fear were starting to set in me. By the time it was my turn, I felt so emotional, it took all my strength to keep the tears back. I sat down and the nurse lady told me to let my arm be looose, and then she proceeded to tell me that I might have a sore arm for a few days and might get fever and chills and backache and feel sick as a side effect of the flu vaccination within 6-12 hours. I'm listened to her and all the while felt more nervous with every word she said, that no matter how hard I tried to loose that arm, it was tense. WELL, I didn't cry or faint or lie down, but it was painful and my arm was sore afterwards. I can feel the pain again now, just writing about it! So glad that's over! When I used to be in England, the nurse would always MAKE me lie down as all colour would drain out of my face. There was no such luxury here. Never mind. It's over now, and I'm glad that I was able to have it done! :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Back of Beyond!

Seriously, what is up with this place?!

I am living in Yarmouth, in Nova Scotia, in CANADA, one of the world's leading countries supposedly... not the back of beyond, or deep dark jungles of Africa, or some poor third world country! But it is really mind baffling, how at times, one can feel like they would be better off living in any of the above mentioned category of corner of the world. Here are a few tasters of what living here is like:

1- The road we live on has pot holes, and hasn't been repaired in years. It is actually dangerous to drive the normal speed limit on our road!

2- The Healthcare service is so bad. There is such a shortage of doctors. The doctor we are registered with is over an hour's drive away. Rachel had to go to 'emergency' and see him yesterday, she left the house at 8am, spent all day waiting to see the doctor and was finally seen in a very rushed manner and by the time she came home it was 10pm and the girls were already asleep in bed! He made her an appointment to have a scan and some tests, but the quickest appointment is end of January!!! What if she has a serious illness? (Thank God, Gary managed to speak to a doctor he knows who is pulling some strings for us to get her seen earlier). No wonder this place has the highest mortality rate. It is because people probably die before they can actually see the doctor. The doctor to population ratio here is one doctor to 5000 people! A lot of people don't even have a doctor! There is no private healthcare option available either.

Considering this is CANADA, it is appaulling to know that if you are in a life and death emergency, you might still have to wait for 12 hours to be seen by the doctor! And then Rachel got given a prescription that will cost $115. We are working here for the church, for the local community, on ZERO income. It is a struggle getting money for food, we still need money to replace the broken water pump in our house, we have no money to get the kids Christmas presents or buy ourselves a cup of coffee when we go out, yet the health care service here, expects people who have no income to somehow fork out $115 dollars for medicine! Again, no wonder they have the highest mortality rate, probably half the people are too poor to buy medication.

3- Yarmouth has the second biggest population of Nova Scotia, and it has one tiny mall (shopping centre) that has about 5 shops! We don't even have a 'Wallmart' here. (A 'Wallmart is in the process of being built at the moment but apparantly for years local businesses had objected to the idea of it, for fear of competition!!)

4- There is one tiny cinema here, so most of the films don't even get here. There are no trailers before a film, just some employee stands up and welcomes people to the theatre! What a joke! (A new cinema is in the process of being built at the moment and it is massive compared with the old one - the new one will only have 5 screens!)

5- My sister tried to send me a little parcel from England about 9 weeks ago! A couple of days ago it got returned to her, with a note saying, it had been refused entry into Canada because it did not have her (the sender) name on it, even though she had written her address and declared what the contents are. (Let me assure you, it is harmless.) What I want to know, is why did it take them 7 weeks to decide they were going to refuse it entry before sending it back??? She has now written her name and re-sent it - lets hope it arrives before Christmas!

I used to live once upon a time in North Africa in Libya. Now that was a country that truly was the back of beyond...they did not have street names or phones or any postal service, let alone a cinema! At times there were water shortages, meat shortages, bread shortages, we lived on rations at times. BUT even they had good roads and a good health service. OK the hospitals were not exactly clean, there were coakroaches I won't lie scuttling around on the floors, but they had excellent doctors, they saw you immediately and they had medicine and it was free.

Don't get me wrong guys, I know that God will look after us and provide what we need. I just think the public services here are a bit of a joke!

Nadia my hero!

This is a little post dedicated to Nadia!

I share a room with the beautiful Nadia. She is 13 years old and a wonderful girl. I love her very much. I usually sleep on a mattress on the floor in Nadia's room. But tonight, she insisted that she sleeps on the mattress on the floor, so that for a change, I could sleep on a real bed (on her bed). I did not ask her to do this. I have been sharing a room with her for a month now and so have got used to the whole sleeping on a mattress on the floor thing. But it was extremly KIND and THOUGHTFUL of young Nadia to give up her bed for me tonight!

I have to also say that she has been so good at trying to be very quiet when she gets up in the mornings to get ready for school. She doesn't turn the light on and tries to remember to close the bedroom door when she leaves the room.

Nadia, I really appreciate your kindness and I LOVE YOU very much! xxx

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Daddy's Blessings!

All I can say today is that God is just sooooooooooo good!

This morning at church, a 16 yr old guy decided to come into the kids service and offer to be my helper and he was a great helper. Then as I was leaving church I got given $10 that someone had left in the offerring for me. So that was really cool, and I was really blessed.

As a family, we received two invites from two different families from church to go to their house for a meal next week. We are a family of seven, so it is a real blessing when we get invited for a meal at someone's house.

Then later on this evening, Gary told me that our church back home in England (Riverside Church) are sending the Trews and myself some money, which is such a MEGA blessing! So THANK YOU Riverside Church! You guys are so awesome and you have no idea, how you have blessed us today. We LOVE you guys SO much. xxx

So I want to say THANK YOU Daddy God, You have SO blessed me today! You really are the best! And if anyone read yesterday's post and prayed for me - then thank you! Your prayers have been answered super quickly!

Love you all,
Ash xxx

Monday, November 07, 2005


Today is my day off from church work. Today was a house cleaning day. Rachel and I cleaned the entire house this morning. In the afternoon, Gary and I took the twins out window shopping for Christmas presents, so that if God blesses us with some money, then we would have an idea of what to get them for Christmas.

So all in all, it's been a good day. I also got a letter in the post today from this gorgeous couple in Tewin in England, which was really really nice and very encouraging.

Love to all reading this...

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Speedy Update!

Hello all,

I have just been reading my friends' blog entries and catching up with their news, so I guess I should update mine too, although I actually have no idea whether anyone even reads this. Nevermind though.

This week has gone by SO quick. Seriously since coming to live here, it has been the fastest week. So what have I been up to?

Monday - that was a horrible day. I was issued out with life! I was so miserable and felt like crying the whole entire day. Sounds bad, but looking back, I can see that God wants to bring up some pain to the surface. I have been so good for so many years at stuffing pain down and not allowing myself to feel it, so it was good that God was allowing that pain to surface and that I was able to feel it. However, I wasn't quite able to have a good cry and let it all out. I'm not at that stage yet. I hope I get to that stage quick, because walking around, carrying the pain and actually starting to feel it isn't that nice.

Tuesday - no pain that day, all stuffed back down. Went into town and had a nice walk around on the mall (on my own for a change), bumped into 3 people from church (how small is Yarmouth?), met an Arabic Muslim guy who recently started working in one of the shops in the mall. Got talking to him in Arabic and told him a bit of my testimony.

Wednesday - read chapter 2 of 'Abba's child' by 'Brennan Manning' and the chapter is about 'the imposter' in our lives. That chapter spoke to me sooooo much. I'm still in the process of processing that chapter. I had a quiet time and started to expose the imposter in my life by writing about her in my journal. So that was cool.

Thursday - this was my phone day, I spoke to about 6 people on the phone that day. 4 of whom were in England, 3 from Riverside Church in England, that was really cool to catch up with friends and hear their lovely voices. The other England phonecall was my mum. She had an accident on Wednesday, fell of the step ladder in the kitchen and completely broke her wrist, one of the bones came out of place, the hospital had to operate on it, and now her arm is in a cast. She's in a lot of pain. Please pray for her. Thursday evening, I led a cell group meeting on 'Hearing God's voice' which went ok.

Friday - I led the second session of the 'new believer's course' with a lady from church who recently gave her life to Jesus. I talked about baptism and the meeting was very encouraging, as she is really keen to get baptised now. Then after lunch I went with Gary to visit another lady in our church and watch the second video of Jack Frost's series 'Experiencing the Father's Embrace'. It was called 'I am Father God's Happy Thought'. It was really good, and we prayed for her after. Then straight after that meeting, I was dropped off at another person's house from church where I babysat for her baby, while she gave piano lessons. I don't get paid for the babysitting, but she does feed me afterwards and takes me out driving in her car. I drove the way home. When I got back, I was so tired, I went straight to bed.

Saturday - that is today. Rachel and I took all the girls out to someone's house for a visit, so that Gary could have some peace and quiet from us, as he prepares his sermon for tomorrow. This evening, I have been preparing the Children's church service for tomorrow. We're going to look at the fruit of the Holy Spirit. I hope the kids have fun and that Holy Spirit shows up in our meeting.

Now it's late and I need my bed! Love you all xxx