Well, we made it! It’s been just a month and a half in our new home of Toronto, Ontario, and I think we are really starting to settle in and get our bearings.
We headed out from Richmond, Indiana bright and early on August 8th with the biggest U-Haul they offer, a loaded car, four tired adults, and two sleepy kids. Our main reason for leaving on the 8th (instead of on the 1st as we had originally planned) was because Canada was lifting some of their quarantine requirements (which would make for an easier transition with kids). But another big advantage to our leaving a few days later was that David’s parents were able to drive up with us. It’s so much easier moving with kids when you have extra hands! We decided to take the trip in two days to ensure that we had plenty of time to cross the border. It was an incredible answer of prayer to be able to start driving already holding our negative COVID tests. We had heard horror stories of people not getting their tests in time, or getting a positive result when they’re already at the border. Thank you all for your prayers! After a long day of driving (I was very happy I didn’t have to drive the truck!) we made it to Niagara Falls, New York. In what was definitely a God thing, we actually got a hotel right across the street from the state park and were able to walk over to see the Falls that evening. When you’ve spent the day cooped up in the car, being able to walk around incredible waterfalls for a couple hours was absolutely amazing! The boys were thrilled (which of course makes everything more fun).
The next morning was the dreaded border crossing. We made sure to get on the road well before the sun came up to head to the bridge. While we anticipated being at the border itself for a few hours, I don’t think we had considered it taking so long to get to the border. We spent almost 2½ hours just crossing the bridge spanning the river. Yikes! But apparently the border agents were expecting the wait to increase to over 4 hours by the afternoon, so we lucked out. I must say, the Canadian border agents we met were incredibly friendly and helpful. While we were tired and nervous (I always get nervous crossing borders), everything went incredibly smoothly. Another answer to prayer!
The answers to prayer continued for the rest of the day. We arrived at Wycliffe, and a bunch of people from our new church were waiting for us to help unload the truck in record time. Our church family here has already made us feel quite welcome and loved. That feeling continued as we met more people living here at Wycliffe. Everyone is so helpful and desirous to foster community. That has been especially nice as we’ve had a ton of questions! It’s amazing how many details you have to work out when you move – from where to get cell phone chips or mattresses, to figuring out how to do laundry, to locating the variety of grocery stores we will need. The plus side about living in the middle of the city is that we can walk to almost anything we need (or, to Austin’s delight, take the subway!).
Wycliffe itself is an interesting place to live. Our apartment primarily has stone and brick walls, with filled-in brick arches along the back wall. Apparently it used to be the entrance to the stables way back in the day, so all the arches in the walls are where people would ride their horses into the courtyard. Pretty cool! To add to the character of the school, the hallways and halls in the college itself definitely have a Hogwarts feel. Add to that that we are smack in the middle of the University of Toronto, and this means that we are surrounded by beautiful old buildings nestled next to towering skyscrapers. Never having lived in a large city like this before, it brings its own kind of culture shock that is different from just moving to another country. So far, I’m still in the, “Wow, this is such a new and exciting place to live!” Having lived in a different country before, I’ll update you again in about eight months (about the time culture shock typically hits pretty hard).
Let’s see, other interesting things about living here. Pretty much every day we get to hear church bells. And on certain days they actually go for almost an hour playing different pieces. It’s beautiful! The week after we got here, a camera crew put up scaffolding all over the campus (including right outside our window) and shot scenes for about for four days. Apparently movies and shows are often shot here at Wycliffe … past flicks filmed here include Goodwill Hunting and It, among others. I think they said that this last one will be a Netflix series, but we’re not sure which one. Apparently, this is a pretty regular thing, since another (different) film crew came the following week!
Overall we’re enjoying getting settled in. It is very nice (and convenient) that our church meets right up stairs in one of the college’s oldest halls. And it also great to get to come together every morning in the chapel for morning prayer. One of the reasons we picked Wycliffe for David’s studies is that we knew we would be surrounded by a community of believers. We may have only been here for a few weeks, but it is already very clear that this will be a group of people that will worship and pray together even amid their strenuous studies.
As far as studies go, along with having a pretty heavy reading list to get through, David finished with his summer German course, and in addition to his Fall courses he has picked up a part-time TA position with his advisor helping with an “Intro to Anglican Theology” class. We definitely appreciated having a few weeks to explore the city a little bit before his courses started up for the Fall term. The boys are fascinated by all the cars, buildings, and construction. Hehe. They are also loving that the college has a playground setup right outside our back door (so helpful!). We have so appreciated your prays during this transition! The next couple years are definitely going to be a little different from what we’re used to, but we’re excited to see how God is going to use us here, and where He will take us next!
Please pray that the Lord will provide for our needs. Regular support continues to dip, and we are in need of new financial partners for our ministry.
Please pray that the boys continue to adjust to new home. They’re doing pretty well with everything, but Austin has started to get scared being left alone in his room for naps/bedtime.
Please pray for David during his Fall semester.
Please pray that we are able to minister well to those around us during this time of transition.
Please continue to pray that we are able to discern where God is calling us next.
Thank you all for your prayers, and for your support for our ministry: it means the world to us. We’ll give you another update soon … until then, God bless you all very much!