Journey to Hope

TWR Canada President Ray Alary blogs each Thursday, telling behind-the-scenes stories and ministry updates you won't find anywhere else.  Come back weekly to read the latest, or sign up to get Ray's blog delivered directly to your email inbox.
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  • Feb8Thu

    The Making of a Missionary 5: A Celebration Gone Wrong

    God Preparing Us (when we didn’t even know it!) February 8, 2018 TWR Canada President, Ray Alary
    Filed Under:
    Prayer, Marriage
    In this series, we're journeying through God's preparation of Sandy and I before we became missionaries. 

    If you missed any previous blogs, click for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, or Part 4.



    It was decided. We were heading to the high Arctic, 1,200 km inside the Arctic Circle to be exact. However, there were complications to Sandy’s second pregnancy and before our family would make the move, we needed to wait for the arrival of our second child.

    I would have to go up to the Arctic before the baby was born to complete my probation. Sandy and I would once again have to be separated for a short period of time. It wasn’t ideal, but we knew it wouldn’t be for long. Soon enough, our small family would be together again.

    Before any of this took place, there is another story to tell. It taught us that God has a plan for our lives, one we can’t shorten or lengthen. Matthew 6:27 tells us, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” That was the lesson we were about to learn.

    It was our third wedding anniversary. We had friends who had their anniversary the exact same day as we did, so we decided we would all go to Yarmouth to celebrate this special day. In those days, it snowed at lot each winter and that winter was no exception. The week before we were to go to Yarmouth for our anniversary dinner, Sandy and Kathy, the wife of the couple who shared our anniversary date, went there to do some Christmas shopping. On their way home, it was snowing heavily, but Sandy was managing.

    When they were about 13 kilometers from home, Sandy saw an ambulance coming. She knew she was supposed to pull over on the shoulder to let the ambulance pass; the trouble was that there was no shoulder! So Sandy and Kathy went into a deep ditch and had to call us to come and rescue them. Those were different days. When we got there, we flagged down a semi trailer who stopped, gave us a chain, backed down the road and pulled the vehicle out of the deep ditch for us. Sandy and Kathy were not hurt…other than their pride. I drove the car home and when I drove into the driveway discovered I had no brakes! Fortunately, I got the car stopped before driving through the trailer we lived in.

    The next week we began the drive into Yarmouth for our anniversary dinner. All was going well until we hit black ice and the car started going sideways. Gord was driving and he was capable, but there was nothing he could do in this situation. We all remember looking up and seeing a car coming straight for us. We realized at that point that we were going to be in an accident and had only a brief moment to prepare for it. I never thought about living or dying; I just knew that the accident was imminent. We were going to be in a head-on collision.

    We all survived, including those in the other vehicle. Sandy was seven months pregnant at this time so they were concerned about her and the baby. She was admitted into the hospital for tests. It turned out she was fine; they simply wanted to keep her under observation for a few hours.

    But there was a problem with me. Initially after the accident I was ok, but the next thing I knew I was in a hospital bed…in a maternity ward beside Sandy. Yes, I am one of the few men in this world who has actually been admitted into a maternity ward. I had a concussion and to this day I don’t remember being in the ambulance at all. I just remember waking up in a bed beside Sandy and making comments to the nurses that under normal circumstances I would never have made.

    It turned out they were far more concerned about me than they were about Sandy. I was loopy. Sandy remembers waking up in the middle of the night and I was playing with something. She asked me what I was doing, and I told her I was trying to piece my life back together. I was trying to piece my life back together by looking through my cheque book. What a way to piece your life back together. Sandy was getting a little concerned about my mental capacity at that moment! Fortunately, by morning I had stopped asking her is she was pregnant. I had stopped looking through my cheque book. The impact of the concussion had ended. We were both released from hospital the next morning.

    It was time for me to go to the Arctic for my probation. Sandy went back home to Kenora to have the baby. When Ryan was born, there were bruises all over his body. The only explanation anyone had was that he was pretty banged up during the accident. Thankfully, he was healthy. The Lord had preserved his life as well. I went to the Arctic and when Ryan was two weeks old, I came out to pick up my family and take them to our new home.

    But things weren’t quite what we expected of our new life. Stay tuned for my introduction to working in the Arctic.

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