I was on an extended speaking trip to Steinbach and Winnipeg, Manitoba from April 26 to May 6. I was born in Steinbach, Manitoba in a hospital that is no longer standing. I spent the first six years of my life on a small farm about seven miles north and one mile west of Steinbach and returned to Steinbach for a few years of college as a young adult. Then from 1988 to 1994 I was a youth pastor in Winnipeg. Most of my extended family still lives in or around Winnipeg. It did not occur to me until I boarded the plane that this was the first time I had done any public speaking in Manitoba since we moved away 19 years ago! Many mixed emotions accompanied me as I visited family along with my multiple speaking engagements. The interesting thing was that I made connections with people there from at least five different parts of my life: family from my childhood, a former college friend, a member of the church where I was youth pastor, people I’d been on committees with, a friend made while we lived in Saskatchewan who now lives in Steinbach, a few friends and colleagues from Alberta days who are now in Winnipeg, and of course many new connections as a result of my ministry there. I did miss my loved ones back home, but it was a rich time. And as I say, I’m finished my rambling ways, but when they spread my ashes over the Pacific it will be prairie dust! Thanks to all of you for your hospitality and inspiration.

I know that this list of names may not mean much to many of my blog readers, but each name represents an important person, whether it was a fleeting conversation or an ongoing and deepening relationship with me. Adam, Karen, Sophie & Eric Robinson, Rev. Jake Harms, Don Rempel Boschman, Helga, Darryl Neustadter Baerg, Doug Fast, Mom and Dad Penner, Curt & Bev, Carole, Mom & Dad, Arlene & Art, Jen & Cory, Glenn, Karen & Steven, Bonnie, Jordan, Adam, Kylie, Charissa, Jeremias, Miranda, Joshua, Dennis Reimer, Mick Neufeld, Cal Dueck, Ken & Els, Jack Heppner, Henry Martens, Dennis Zelinski, Ben Unrau, Richard Giesbrecht, Darrel Dyck, Murray Doerksen, Cam Rempel, Mr. & Mrs. Krahn, Hans Schroeder, Abe Wiebe, Marv Baergen, Victor Kliewer, Val Rempel, Byron Rempel Burkholder, James Neufeld, Lamont Reddig, Marv Thiessen, Peter Rempel, Thomas, Gilbert, and a few people from the first retreat at St. Benedict’s whose names escape me now.

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