Active Or Passive?
TORNADO AHEAD P.5
Army Gives Back
BARISTA PROGRAM P.12
Faith&Friends I N S P I R AT I O N F O R L I V I N G
Kim’s Convenience CBC’S AWARD-WINNING TV SHOW BLENDS CHRISTIAN FAITH WITH IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE P.16
Pillars of Care Where are the pillars of cloud and fire that guided the men, women and children of Israel through the desert long ago?
All we have to do is look around with eyes that see to appreciate that fact.
Many feel that God is not as ever-present as He was back in Bible times, and that we are on our own in a forgotten and lost world. But is that so?
“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.”—Exodus 13:21
God’s love is all around us. In a neighbour’s caring gesture. In a friend’s good advice. In a parent’s care. In a coworker’s good deed. In a bystander’s random act of kindness.
To find out more about God’s plan, mail the coupon on page 30, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit your local Salvation Army church.
The God of love is still around us, working through all manners of actions and events.
Photo: Used with permission. © Ray Majoran, compassiongallery.com
VOLUME 20 NUMBER 9
DEPARTMENTS LAUGHING MATTERS
5 Cowpocalypse Now
When it comes to tornados, keep calm and mow on. FAMILY TIME
8 Verbal Communication
Sometimes a simple prayer is the most important action we can take. SOMEONE CARES
10 Thrifty Thinking
Inspired by a class project, students mobilize to help others. FEATURES
From Surviving to Thriving
Barista program helps move women beyond trafficking.
Son of a Preacher Man
Ins Choi’s faith and immigrant experience inform every episode of Kim’s Convenience.
Part of the Family
For years, Baltimore Raven Benjamin Watson refused to wear his Super Bowl ring. Why?
DEPARTMENTS COMMON GROUND
25 Gift of Stone
Cover photo: Courtesy of CBC
A unique sculpture commemorates a Salvation Army’s caring ministry. LITE STUFF
28 Eating Healthy With Erin
Word Search, Sudoku, Quick Quiz. EVERYDAY ETHICS
31 School’s Out?
Every child has the right to play and learn. faithandfriends.ca I SEPTEMBER 2017
FROM THE EDITOR
etween newscasts, web postings and print media, it sometimes seems as if there’s nothing but bad news in the world. Floods, bombings and armed conflicts dominate the headlines. Is nothing good happening out there? That’s why I smiled when I read about a Starbucks drive-thru in Pennsylvania. What started out as a random act of kindness rippled into a 137-car chain reaction, when someone paid for the order behind them. Then, that person paid for the one behind them, and on it went. Even more surprisingly, when a couple of customers didn’t have the spare change to pay it forward, a 20-year-old barista stepped in to pay it out of his own pocket. Dozens of people came away with lighter hearts, and all it took was one kind person to start the ball rolling. To my mind, kindness should trump meanness when it comes to front-page news. Speaking of baristas, this month’s Faith & Friends features a Salvation Army program in British Columbia that helps human trafficking survivors by providing job training as baristas. “We want to help redeem and restore what’s been taken from the survivors during the years they have been exploited,” says the program manager, Larissa Maxwell. Elsewhere in this issue, we spotlight four teens at a public school in Ontario, who used a school project to help others in the community by collecting clothes for those in need, which they brought to a local Salvation Army thrift store. There is kindness in the world. We just have to look beyond the front page. Ken Ramstead 4 • SEPTEMBER 2017 I faithandfriends.ca
Mission Statement To show Christ at work in the lives of real people, and to provide spiritual resources for those who are new to the Christian faith.
Faith & Friends is published monthly by: The Salvation Army 2 Overlea Blvd, Toronto Ontario, M4H 1P4 International Headquarters 101 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4P 4EP, England William and Catherine Booth FOUNDERS
André Cox, GENERAL Commissioner Susan McMillan TERRITORIAL COMMANDER
Lt-Colonel Jim Champ SECRETARY FOR COMMUNICATIONS Geoff Moulton, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Ken Ramstead, EDITOR
Brandon Laird DESIGN AND MEDIA SPECIALIST
Timothy Cheng SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Pamela Richardson, COPY EDITOR, PRODUCTION CO-ORDINATOR
Ada Leung CIRCULATION CO-ORDINATOR
Kristin Ostensen STAFF WRITER, PROOFREADER
Giselle Randall STAFF WRITER Scripture Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are taken from New International Version Contact Us P. (416) 467-3188, F. (416) 422-6120 Websites faithandfriends.ca, salvationist.ca, salvationarmy.ca Email email@example.com Subscription for one year: Canada $17 (includes GST/HST); U.S. $22; foreign $24 P. (416) 422-6119 firstname.lastname@example.org All articles are copyright The Salvation Army Canada & Bermuda and cannot be reproduced without permission. Publications Mail Agreement No. 40064794 ISSN 1702-0131
Illustration: Dennis Jones
Cowpocalypse Now When it comes to tornadoes, keep calm and mow on. by Phil Callaway
e live in the small town of Three Hills, Alta., population 3,500—if you count cats. Nothing happens here. Until a stormy day this past June when my son, Steve, looked through the window and saw a tornado moving in the general direction of our house. It’s hard to tell where tornadoes are going, so he did what
any responsible male adult would do. He grabbed his smartphone, pressed “record,” threw open our back door and ran straight toward the monster, hoping for a better camera angle. Eye on the Prize The twister touched down a kilometre or so from our house and
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A massive funnel was ripping through the field behind their house. began sucking up dirt, bushes and cows. The cows came raining down on our town, crashing through rooftops. It was a cowpocalypse. OK, I’m kidding about the cows. But the tornado kept coming. My wife, Ramona, hollered, “Get inside, Stephen Andrew Callaway. Think of your future. Your wife. Your children.” But Steve filmed on, capturing breathtaking footage. Remarkably, no cows or humans were injured. A roof was torn from a barn, a grain bin was hurled half a mile, an RV was flipped and crumpled while half the town pointed their phones at the sky and gasped, “Woah, have you ever?” But not Theunis Wessels. Theunis and his wife, Cecilia, recently came from South Africa and settled on the north edge of town—on our street. When the twister landed, they had front-row seats. But Cecilia was napping. And as for Theunis, well, he had a lawn to mow. Their daughter woke Cecilia and said, “Mommy, look!” Cecilia rushed to the window. A massive funnel was ripping through the field behind their house—while her husband calmly mowed the lawn. Like my son, her first thought was, I’d better grab a camera. “I took the picture
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to show my mom and dad in South Africa,” she later told reporters. “And now everyone is like, ‘Why is your husband mowing the lawn?’ ” “I had to get it cut,” Theunis told reporters. “A lot happened over the weekend—a storm was coming—so I had to make sure I got it done.” He knew the tornado was there but said, “I was keeping an eye on it.” Walking the Walk Cecilia put the picture on social media and, in no time, CNN, the BBC and Time were among the hundreds that picked up the story. A German news outlet labelled Theunis, “The Chuck Norris of lawn mowing.” Others called him a Canadian super-dad. The Washington Times dubbed him “a breathtaking Internet legend.” Theunis laughed and shrugged his shoulders. “The tornado looks much closer if you look in the photo,” he says, “but it was really far away. Well, not really far, far away, but it was far away from us.” Some call Theunis crazier than a four-dollar bill. Not me. I like this guy. Now, should you take cover if a tornado is coming? Yes. Absolutely. Please do. But the photo reminds me of a tiny bird perched in a nest while
a thundering waterfall misses him by inches. The photo reminds me of the storms that enter all of our lives. I asked my neighbour Theunis about storms. “I’ve had my share of them,” he told me. “I was leading the pack climbing Russia’s highest peak. I slipped and fell 100 metres downward. They evacuated me just 200 metres short of reaching the summit. That was a lifelong dream. Maybe that tornado prepared me
for this one.” Then he smiled and told me his secret. It’s the part of his story the papers and TV shows didn’t tell. “If your heart and soul belong to God,” he said, “storms still come. But you’re in His hands. You still have to be cautious but keep your faith. Walk the walk. Trust God and be faithful.” Or as someone said on Twitter, “When the going gets tough, the tough get mowing.”
Army Publications Win 24 Awards
t was a record-shattering year for The Salvation Army’s Canada and Bermuda Territory’s magazines and website (salvationist.ca), as they earned 24 awards at the annual Canadian Church Press (CCP) ceremony in June. The CCP includes representatives from 67 member publications, including mainline, Catholic and evangelical churches, and the awards are judged by accomplished journalists and academics from the secular media. Faith & Friends took home nine awards for articles published in 2016, including a second and third place award for our cover and profile of Olympic boxer Mandy Bujold in the August issue. Geoff Moulton’s review of Silence in November garnered second place, as did our photo of spirited Salvation Army members in April. A third-place nod went to both
a photo essay of a Salvation Army art exhibit in March and an editorial in the April issue. Honourable Mentions went to Kristin Ostensen’s cover treatment in February of Jay Kivell, who beat his addiction and now helps others do the same, and for the edition layout and design of the August issue. Last but not least, our little magazine won second place in the coveted General Excellence category. The French version of Faith & Friends, Foi & Vie, took home a second-place award for the feature layout and design of Brianne Zelinsky’s look at sculptor Timothy Schmalz in the April issue, and we also received third place for that cover. Sister magazine Salvationist received 10 awards and our website three, for a total of 13. All of the winners can be read at salvationist.ca.
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Verbal Communication run
sneeze sleep pray
verb is an action word,” Mary Monroe, my son Nathan’s Grade 2 teacher, explained to the class. “It’s something we can do. Can someone raise their hand and give an example of a verb?” A girl raised her hand and said, “Run.” Nathan’s teacher nodded and called on a few more children. After the expected answers of walk, jump and skip, a little boy said, “Sneeze.”
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Sometimes a simple, heartfelt prayer is the most important action we can take. by Diane Stark
The teacher smiled. Then she looked toward the back of the room where I was fulfilling my duties as a parent volunteer by grading math papers. “In 17 years of teaching, I think that’s the first time I’ve gotten that answer,” she said. She went around the room, asking each remaining student to give an example of a verb. After a few more giggle-worthy responses, it was my son’s turn. “Pray,” was his answer. His teacher looked at me and the pride in both of our faces was clear. She was a Christian, too, and I knew she was pleased with the opportun-
“When we pray, things happen, even when we can’t see them right away.” MARY MONROE ity to talk about spiritual matters. But before she could say anything, a boy blurted out, “Praying isn’t a verb. You just sit there with your eyes closed and your hands folded. It’s like sleeping. It’s not an action word.” “Actually, sleep is a verb and so is pray,” the teacher replied, smiling at Nathan. “When we sleep, our bodies are growing and producing more cells. Our brains are thinking things over, which gives us dreams. Even though we are just lying in our beds, a lot is going on inside our bodies that we can’t see.” She looked at Nathan. “And when we pray, things happen, even when we can’t see them right away.” When Nathan turned to look at me, I smiled and nodded encouragingly. I wanted him to know that his one-word answer had made this mom very proud. Verb State I wish I could say that that was the last time my boy reminded me that praying is a verb, but just a few days later, I’d already forgotten. I’d
(above) Pray Tell: Nathan Stark and his Grade 2 teacher, Mary Monroe, know how important an action word can be
received a phone call from a good friend, giving me some very bad news. “I need to do something to help,” I told my husband, Eric. “I’m going to make a pot of soup and some muffins. I’ve got to do something for her.” Nathan overheard and said, “Did you pray for her, Mommy?” “Of course I did.” He smiled a satisfied smile. “Then you already did something for her. Because God hears our prayers, and hearing and praying are definitely action words.” “You’re right,” I nodded. “Someone really smart told me that pray is a verb. And praying for someone is the most important action any of us can ever take.”
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Thrifty Thinking Inspired by a class project, students mobilize to help others. by Ken Ramstead
(left) Santhosh Rajmohan, Kostas Skanderis and Navid Aimaq sort the community donations
trio of Grade 7 students attending Rick Hansen Public School in Aurora, Ont., parlayed a school project into a way of helping their community. “We had an integrated language program around the concept of privilege—what privilege is and how we can use our privilege to help other people,” explains Megan Glanfield, the Grade 7 teacher. “I try to get the class to be community-oriented so we can take our learning outside of the classroom. The class broke into
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small groups and chose the ways that they wanted to act in the community. They then created a media presentation to show the school how small actions can make a difference.” Twelve-year-olds Santhosh Rajmohan, Kostas Skanderis and Navid Aimaq decided to help their community by requesting donations of clothes for those in need. “We’ve seen homeless people and when we compared our lives to theirs, we knew we wanted to help them out,” says Santhosh.
“We immediately thought of clothes—pants, hats, T-shirts, winter clothing,” says Navid. “Besides shelter and food, clothes are some of the most necessary items.” Plan of Action But what to do with the clothes that they would collect? “I did my research,” continues Santhosh. “I knew that when we donated to The Salvation Army, they would ensure the items would get to the homeless. I trusted them.” The three teens set themselves an ambitious goal of 50 garbage bags of clothes. “We knocked on the doors of more than 45 houses in our neighbourhood to hand out flyers we’d created,” says Santhosh. “The pamphlets explained why we were asking for donations, what we were looking for, where they would go and when they would be picked up. People liked the idea.” A week later, the three young people, accompanied by their parents, picked up the items and left thank-you notes. They then sorted all the donations by type at Navid’s home. Success The response surpassed their expectations. By the end of the drive, more than 75 garbage bags had been collected by the students. Helped by their parents, the
boys dropped the bags off at The Salvation Army’s thrift store in Newmarket, Ont. “We hadn’t called beforehand,” says Navid, “so when we rolled up with all those bags of clothes, the staff were thrilled. We filled four large bins!” “The boys did a fantastic job of mobilizing themselves,” comments the boys’ teacher, Megan. “They thought outside of themselves to help others.” “I would do a clothing drive again,” says Santhosh. “It feels good to know we’ve helped people who struggle to find food, clothing and shelter on a daily basis. “The Salvation Army understands homelessness and does a lot of work to help people who face those challenges and are living on the streets. When we delivered the bags to the thrift store, they said, ‘Oh, thank you so much!’ That made me happy.”
(above) Navid and Santhosh drop off the clothes to a grateful thrift store employee
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From Surviving to Thriving NEW SALVATION ARMY BARISTA PROGRAM HELPS MOVE WOMEN BEYOND HUMAN TRAFFICKING.
Photo: © Hoda Bogdan/stock.Adobe.com
by Joyce Starr Macias
omen forced and coerced into human trafficking may endure years of sexual and labour exploitation before they’re rescued. But the resulting emotional scars can last even longer. Among these are loss of selfesteem and terror at the thought of being found by their traffickers. 12 • SEPTEMBER 2017 I faithandfriends.ca
Human-trafficking survivors may also find it difficult to get back into mainstream society due to their lack of day-to-day living skills and the need for employment training. But The Salvation Army in Canada is helping to meet those needs by providing safe housing, counselling and job training.
“We want to help redeem and restore what’s been taken from the survivors during the years they were exploited.” LARISSA MAXWELL Back to Basics “Our goal is to help each woman go from being a survivor to being a thriver,” says Larissa Maxwell, who manages several Salvation Army anti-human trafficking programs in British Columbia. “We want to help redeem and restore what’s been taken from them during the years they were exploited.” One of the programs she oversees is a recently created one called Refresh: Barista Employment Training Program, which equips survivors to become baristas in coffee shops or cafés. It also prepares them to work in general food service. Refresh falls under the umbrella of another Salvation Army program— Living Hope: Life and Living Skills Program—which works in partnership with Deborah’s Gate, a 10-bed living facility. Most of the Refresh participants live at Deborah’s Gate or other safe houses located in the Vancouver area, although that is not a requirement. The training program is offered free of charge.
Since most trafficking abuse begins before the age of 15, survivors generally come into the programs lacking skills they would otherwise have learned at home or in school. So Living Hope focuses on the basics—things like personal hygiene and day-to-day living skills. Registered counsellors help with improving self-esteem and dealing with other emotional and psychological issues. Coping With Trauma Long after they’ve been able to get away from their captors, survivors may still need help in learning to deal with emotional triggers that remind them of their past. “How do you handle it when you have to serve a customer who reminds you of someone who purchased sex from you, or when you smell the brand of cologne that your trafficker always wore?” Larissa says, naming just a couple of instances that might trigger an emotional reaction in the workplace. faithandfriends.ca I SEPTEMBER 2017
Larissa Maxwell manages several anti-human trafficking programs for The Salvation Army in British Columbia
“Sleep hygiene” is also taught, since survivors often have sleep problems. “Many were exploited or abused at night, and often don’t sleep well even after they’re in a safe environment,” Larissa says. “If they don’t sleep at night, they can’t get up for an 8 a.m. job.” A victim may wake up from a bad dream in a panic, feeling as if she’s still being held captive, helpless and terrified that someone will abuse her at any moment. Fear is so ingrained in her that she can’t easily get back emotionally to the safe place where she is now. Fortunately, she can talk through her fears with on-site staff who are available around the clock at Deb14 • SEPTEMBER 2017 I faithandfriends.ca
orah’s Gate. And hopefully, some of the coping skills she’s being taught will help—drinking a calming cup of camomile tea at bedtime, using meditation apps, and taking time to describe her feelings and fears in a journal. Certified for Success In preparation for employment, participants learn about human rights and employment rights, have practice interviews, and get the clothes they’ll need on the job. “We give them a voucher so they can go to Salvation Army thrift shops for appropriate clothes for work, and accompany them so they know what a professional dress code looks like,” Larissa explains.
Living Beyond All of the anti-human trafficking programs of The Salvation Army stem from the belief that people can be restored, redeemed, healed and renewed. “Our vision is to give back to these women what has been taken away from them,” says Larissa Maxwell. She quotes Joel 2:25, where God, through the Old Testament prophet, promises: “I will restore to you the years that the … locust has eaten” (English Standard Version). The idea for adding employment training to the other anti-human trafficking programs grew out of something that was said by a survivor in 2013. The woman, who expressed
her appreciation for the help she’d already received, wanted to find a way to become more independent. “I want to live beyond the program,” Larissa quotes her as saying. “I want to make my choices and take care of myself, not to depend on government programs.” Refresh is the result of Larissa and her team realizing that the path to greater independence and more productive lives for survivors is to prepare them for good jobs when they are ready. And thanks to the Army and grant funding from the provincial and federal governments, the barista employment training program is now a reality.
They will learn “soft skills” such as time management, communication, cash handling and professionalism. The “hard skills” portion of the training includes touring an industrial kitchen, learning how to prepare and serve coffee, tea and other beverages, and working in a simulated café to practise their newfound skills. JJ Bean partners with Refresh, providing coffee for the program and volunteer practicum placements so that participants can gain first-hand work experience. Additionally, kitchen-based skills are conducted by a Red Seal Chef.
It takes 22 hours spread over two weeks to complete the curriculum and another week for the practicum. Graduates of the program obtain certification from Foodsafe and WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System), which teach the safe handling of food and the safe use of hazardous materials commonly found in Canadian workplaces. “Having this certification will be helpful for them when they apply for jobs in the food-service industry, and adds lines to the resumé,” Larissa says. faithandfriends.ca I SEPTEMBER 2017
Son of a Pre ACTOR AND PLAYWRIGHT INS CHOI’S CHRISTIAN FAITH AND IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE INFORM EVERY EPISODE OF THE AWARD-WINNING KIM’S CONVENIENCE. by Giselle Randall
IT’S NO SURPRISE THAT THE CBC series Kim’s Convenience, about
a Korean-Canadian family who run a corner store in downtown Toronto, was a breakout hit last fall. It’s a fresh, funny take on the familiar immigrant experience. But more than an entertaining collision of cultures, it’s a heartfelt story about a loving yet fractured family. Mr. and Mrs. Kim (known as “Appa” and “Umma”—Korean for dad and mom) came to Canada to build a better life for their children, Jung and Janet, now in their 20s. Appa (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) is hardworking, opinionated and stubborn. 16 • SEPTEMBER 2017 I faithandfriends.ca
Umma (Jean Yoon) is kind, involved at church and eager to find a cool, Korean, Christian boyfriend for Janet (Andrea Bang), who is studying photography at university.
Photo: Courtesy of CBC
But there is a rift in the family. Jung (Simu Liu) and Appa haven’t spoken since Jung stole money from the store as a rebellious teenager and left home.
(above) The cast of Kim’s Convenience (from left), estranged son, Jung (Simu Liu), parents, Umma (Jean Yoon), Appa (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) and daughter, Janet (Andrea Bang)
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Photo: Ian Liwanag
“See? Destiny!” Kim’s Convenience is based on the award-winning play by Ins Choi. “It’s the Prodigal Son story set in Regent Park, in a Korean family,” the actor, playwright and Christian says. “It’s funnier, but I owe Jesus some royalties because He told the story first.” Ins was born in Seoul, South Korea, and grew up in Toronto. “My parents came to Canada with $200, a pocketful of English and a lot of love, hope and faith,” he recently told an audience who came to see one of his plays. Although they didn’t own a convenience store, his uncle and the
(above) “I wrote Kim’s Convenience so that I could have a job—because no one else was writing a vehicle for me,” says Ins Choi
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families of many friends did. Appa is a blend of his father, uncle and the men at the church his parents planted. Ins comes from a long line of pastors. “I’m the son of a preacher man—and grandson, and nephew, and cousin,” he says. “Whenever we get together, everyone talks and nobody listens.” Ins’ mother wanted him to be a preacher, too. She had prayed for a son and promised to dedicate him back to God if He answered her prayer. “She said it was my destiny,” he recalls. When Ins didn’t get into university the first time, he was discouraged. His mom’s reply: “See? Destiny!” Part of a Tradition Ins attended Bible college, where he fell in love with acting and went on to study theatre at York University in Toronto. After graduation, he began auditioning and pursued an acting career but quickly grew frustrated with the stereotypical parts available for Asian-Canadians. For several years, he worked as a children’s pastor at his dad’s church while studying part-time toward a master of divinity degree at Wycliffe College in Toronto. As he wrestled with his call—pastor or performer— the professors were supportive. “They embraced and encouraged me in the path of being an artist,” he told Insight, Wycliffe’s alumni magazine. “For an Old Testament course, instead of writing book reports, I wrote skits. I pretended I was Jere-
In 2010, Ins Choi sent Kim’s Convenience to every major theatre company in Toronto. They all rejected it. miah, or Isaiah, utilizing skills I had.” He began to realize he was part of a long tradition of faith in the arts. “There are those who went before me who were gifted in the arts and, as well, wanted to follow Christ and make the love of God known to His world, in whatever form,” he says. He transferred to the master of theological studies program and graduated in 2002. A Reconciliation Ahead? Ins started writing Kim’s Convenience as part of a playwriting unit with the fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company in 2006. “I wrote it so that I could have a job—because no one else was writing a vehicle for me,” he told the Canadian Press. He worked on it for many years while performing with several theatre companies, including the Stratford Festival and Soulpepper. In 2010, he sent Kim’s Convenience to every major theatre company in Toronto. They all rejected it. So in 2011, he entered it in the Toronto Fringe Festival, where it won the New Play contest and the Patron’s Pick award. That led to soldout shows, a national tour, more awards, a book and the TV show— the first Canadian series to have an entirely Asian main cast.
“When I was a kid, the only Asian on TV was David Suzuki,” Ins says. “There was this opportunity for us to change the colour of your TV. I’m so grateful to be involved in that—it has been such a celebration.” Ins still struggles with what it means to be a Christian and an artist. During a question and answer period after performing Subway Stations of the Cross—a one-man show where he transforms into a street prophet—he pondered if there was such a thing as “Christian” art. “I still wrestle with my part—why I’m here, what I do, how it involves the gospel,” he says. “I feel like I’m more useful being in the world as a Christian, rather than being in the church or being a preacher.” What he brings to his work is a “baptized imagination,” as theologian C.S. Lewis described it. The first season of Kim’s Convenience introduced us to a family living with the messy consequences of broken trust and struggling with forgiveness. In the last episode, we see hints of a move toward reconciliation, as Umma, Jung and Janet sing a beautiful Korean hymn in church. Will the prodigal son return? Will the family be made whole again? Watch the second season, airing this fall, to find out. faithandfriends.ca I SEPTEMBER 2017
Part of the Family
FOR YEARS, BALTIMORE RAVEN TIGHT END BENJAMIN WATSON REFUSED TO WEAR HIS SUPER BOWL RING. THEN GOD TAUGHT HIM AN IMPORTANT LESSON. by Diane Stark
Lesson Learned The 2004 NFL draft day was a day Benjamin had prepared for since he was a little boy. He and his six siblings were gathered at his parents’ house in Norfolk, Virginia, anxiously waiting to hear which team would draft him. When he received the call from the New England Patriots and found that he’d been selected 32nd overall, his first thought was, I’m moving to Boston and I don’t even have a winter coat! Benjamin ran a victory lap around the block and thanked God for blessing him with this opportunity. 20 • SEPTEMBER 2017 I faithandfriends.ca
Photos: Courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens
altimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson won a Super Bowl during his rookie season and was selected to play in the 2015 Pro Bowl. But it took 12 years in the NFL for him to learn that football is just one part of his life.
“What I do is play football,” says Benjamin Watson, “but who I am is a child of God”
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Benjamin is a tight end for the Baltimore Ravens
But just one game into his rookie season, Benjamin tore his ACL. “I spent the rest of the season on the injured reserve list,” he says. “I was miserable, and I made everyone around me miserable. I was grumpy and selfish and, honestly, I acted like a jerk.” The Patriots won the Super Bowl that year and Benjamin received a ring. “In my selfishness, I’d always 22 • SEPTEMBER 2017 I faithandfriends.ca
wanted to make everything about me, but it wasn’t about me, because I couldn’t play,” Benjamin says. “For years, I refused to wear my Super Bowl ring, but then God taught me an important lesson about that ring, and His unfailing love.” Two Rings Benjamin was born in Norfolk, the oldest of six children. “My parents
“I learned that going with the flow isn’t how God calls Christians to live. We have to be different.” BENJAMIN WATSON were strict,” he recalls. “I wasn’t allowed to do a lot of the things my friends could. Looking back, however, I know their rules kept my siblings and me from a lot of heartache. My dad was a pastor, so we were taught right from wrong from a biblical perspective.” One night, when Benjamin was six years old, his father asked him, “If you were to die tonight, where would you go?” His father quoted John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life,” a verse Benjamin was already familiar with. “I knew factually that Jesus had died on the cross for my sins,” he says, “but that night, I made the personal decision to accept Jesus’ sacrifice and enter into a relationship with Him.” Benjamin also decided at an early age that he wanted to play football professionally. “My dad played in college, and I wanted to play, too,” he explains. In high school, Benjamin played football and ran track, and was heavily involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, an international non-profit Christian sports ministry. Benjamin attended Duke University for one year before transferring to the University of Georgia to play foot-
ball and study finance. “My college years were a time of major growth,” he says. “I learned that going with the flow isn’t how God calls Christians to live. We have to be different.” While at Georgia, Benjamin met Kirsten Vaughn through a friend of his family. “I was drawn to her immediately because I knew that she would challenge me and bring out the best in me,” Benjamin says. The couple married in 2005 after Benjamin’s rookie season and have five children. “I was lucky that Kirsten still married me after the way I acted that season,” he smiles. Contagious Joy Benjamin received a wedding ring and a Super Bowl ring in the same year. “But I didn’t feel I deserved the Super Bowl ring because I didn’t do anything to earn it,” Benjamin goes on to say. “I received it just because I was on the team. But then God showed me that that ring is like being a member of God’s family. We don’t deserve it and we didn’t do anything to earn it, but we have eternal life just because we’re in the family. When Jesus died, He credited us with the right to join God’s family, not because we deserve it, but because He loves us.” faithandfriends.ca I SEPTEMBER 2017
(left) “I knew Kirsten would bring out the best in me,” says Benjamin
Benjamin wears his Super Bowl ring now, and every time he looks at it, he is reminded of God’s great love for him. After six years with the Patriots, Benjamin went on to play three seasons with the Cleveland Browns and three with the New Orleans Saints. This season will be his second with the Baltimore Ravens. “God is sovereign,” he says. “I trust Him to put me where He needs me.” Throughout his lengthy football career, Benjamin has had to constantly remember to separate his occupation from his identity. “What I do is play football, but who I am is a child of God, a husband and a father,” he says. “My performance on the field doesn’t change that.” Benjamin and Kirsten started a foundation called One More, which promotes education, provides food and clothing to those in need and awards college scholarships. “We want to meet people’s physical needs, but we feel we’d be doing them a disservice by not meeting their spiritual 24 • SEPTEMBER 2017 I faithandfriends.ca
needs as well,” Benjamin says. “We strive to share the love of Christ with everyone we can.” The foundation’s name is based on the idea that everyone can help one person. “Kirsten thought up the name,” Benjamin says. “We love to see people who’ve been helped come back and volunteer to help others. It’s contagious. If everyone could just make a difference in one person’s life, the impact would be immeasurable.” Benjamin recently took on a new role: author. His book, called Under Our Skin: Getting Real about Race—and Getting Free from the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us, discusses race relations from a Christian perspective. “The ultimate solution to every problem is Jesus Christ,” he writes. “I just want to live my life in a way that will point others to Him.”
Gift of Stone A unique sculpture commemorates a Salvation Army’s caring ministry. by Ken Ramstead
“In my mind, the structure is a work of art that people can enter and thereby become part of the artwork,” says Paul Deacon
visitor to The Salvation Army’s Heritage Park Temple church in Winnipeg can’t help but notice the 2,500-kilogram, three-metre-high Inukshuk and accompanying granite benches near the entrance of the building. Created by Manitoba artist Todd Braun, the installation was a gift from Paul Deacon, a lifetime member of the Army.
“Paul’s vision was for this to be not only for Heritage Park but for the community as well,” explains Major Owen Budden, the pastor. “It stands beside a well-worn trail next to the church building. The serenity of the setting is enhanced by newly planted trees that will bring shade to the structure. The benches provide a place to sit privately with a friend and share the deeper issues of living. It
faithandfriends.ca I SEPTEMBER 2017
“The Inukshuk installation is a reminder to the people of Heritage Park Temple and our surrounding community that they are never alone and can find support in people around them, and in God,” says Major Sandra Budden, pastor
also affords a place of rest and contemplation on life’s journey.” While passersby will appreciate the structure on its own merits, there’s a deep and moving story behind Paul’s gift of stone. God at Work Paul and his wife, Fern, were longtime members of Heritage Park Temple. Happily married for 36 years, Fern passed away in 2015 after a long struggle that included 15 months of increasingly severe head pain, seven ER visits, more than 30 doctor’s appointments, eight weeks of hospitalization, physiotherapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, two MRIs, five CT scans, three biopsies and two operations. But Paul and Fern were not alone in their ordeal. Throughout their
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struggle, there was an outpouring of love and support from their church community. “People ask me where was God when we needed Him the most,” says Paul. “God visited with Fern every day. He never missed. He supplied her—and me—with gifts of prepared meals: lasagna, casseroles and turkey soup. “God works in mysterious ways,” Paul continues. “Did you know God knits? He knitted prayer shawls. I have one and Fern had one on her bed at the hospital. She was literally ‘covered’ in prayer. “And God drives a car. He fought downtown traffic and overpaid for hospital parking so He could sit with Fern to give her comfort. “He sent us cards, He sent emails and He took me out for coffee. He
“I had this landscape feature placed to express my appreciation to those who help others struggling with grief.” PAUL DEACON also looked out for me after Fern died. I thought I was OK. God knew better. “God worked through our faith, our friends and our family but especially through our church community at Heritage Park Temple.” Layered Meanings “Fern’s faith—and my faith—never wavered,” Paul goes on to say. “Her spirit grew stronger as her body grew weaker.” Paul wanted to find some way of expressing their faith and his deep appreciation to those in the congregation as well as helping others struggling with grief, and came up with the idea for the landscape feature. “The traditional meaning of Inukshuk is ‘someone was here’ and/or ‘you are on the right path,’ ” Paul explains. “I had this landscape feature placed to express my appreciation to those who help others struggling with grief, as the people of Heritage Park Temple did for Fern and me. It will have different meanings for different people. To me, it says, ‘Fern was here’ and ‘I am on the right path.’ To others, it may provide comfort to those who have lost a loved one.”
Speaking to the Heart This past June, the installation, covered by a prayer shawl, was officially unveiled in a special ceremony before the morning worship service. The Salvation Army band played Nearer My God to Thee, and Paul thanked all those who help others struggle with illness and grief. After the unveiling, Major Budden offered a prayer of dedication. “No matter how alone or abandoned we may feel,” says Major Owen, “the Inukshuk reminds us that there is a reassurance of companionship, whether physically or spiritually, that brings us through the weary days and points us to the hope we have in God and His provision for all. In that way, the symbolism and practicality of the structure speaks to the very heart of Christian living.”
Paul, here with a portrait of his late wife, Fern
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Eating Healthy With Erin BANANA CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS TIME 32 min MAKES 6 servings SERVE WITH coffee or milk
Fill in the grid so that every row, every column and every 3 × 3 box contains the digits 1 through 9.
QUICK QUIZ 1. What do many British people call an umbrella? 2. What is phasmophobia the fear of? 3. In the Bible, what insect invasion made the Egyptian ground black?
2. Mix bananas, maple syrup, coconut oil, milk and chocolate chips in a bowl. 3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix together. 4. Pour mixture into a greased muffin tin and bake for 22-25 minutes. Remove when outside is golden and toothpick inserted near centre comes out clean.
6 7 3
Answers on next page.
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7 6 8
Recipe photo: Erin Stanley/veganvirgin.ca
1. Preheat oven to 205 C (400 F).
2 large or 3 small overripe bananas 150 ml (2/3 cup) maple syrup 125 ml (½ cup) melted coconut oil 150 ml (2/3 cup) milk 60 ml (¼ cup) chocolate chips 250 ml (1 cup) oat flour 250 ml (1 cup) all-purpose flour 5 ml (1 tsp) xanthan gum 10 ml (2 tsp) baking powder 10 ml (2 tsp) baking soda
Word Search Canada’s Dams R E V E L S T O K E I G O B A L A C R B E A R S P A W H A T S H A N Q V C I T I H I M R A T A C R U S K I N E S T E R H A Z Y K K M A N I T O U S H E N F M A E O H S E S R O H D N D O U R L P O W E L L R I V E R T W I P O O S S O K M A N U A N I E E A P S L H S T E W A R T V I L L E G S A F A G P O I N T E D U B O I S A C R A C I M W B E A U H A R N O I S A D L U B V W A C B E N N E T T S E N N L A B I T I B I H G A Z R E T L A A S S A R U O B T R E B O R X E N D R W N A G A U O C I N A M R R R A E G O U I N F S C H W A T K A W S E M A U B U R N C A U Q A T C A M G J A C H I C K E N L A K E D N A R G A L P S R Z Y G R A N D F A L L S A W A
6 1 3 5 4 7 8
2 3 9
6 8 4 3 9 2 1 5 7
7 3 9 5 8 1 6 4 2
4 9 3 8 2 6 7 1 5
8 1 7 9 5 3 2 6 4
5 6 2 4 1 7 9 8 3
Quick Quiz Answers: 1. brolly; 2. ghosts; 3. locusts.
POINTE DU BOIS POWELL RIVER REVELSTOKE ROBERT-BOURASSA RUSKIN SCHWATKA STEWARTVILLE TERZAGHI THREE SISTERS W.A.C. BENNETT WASCANA WHATSHAN
GOUIN GRAND FALLS GRAND RAPIDS HORSESHOE JEAN-LESAGE LA GRANDE MACTAQUAC MANICOUAGAN MANITOU MATABITCHUAN MICA OSSOKMANUAN
ABITIBI ALAMEDA ALOUETTE AUBURN BEARSPAW BEAUHARNOIS BIGHORN BISHOP’S FALLS CALABOGIE CAT ARM CHICKEN LAKE ESTERHAZY
faithandfriends.ca I SEPTEMBER 2017
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HEAVEN’S LOVE THRIFT SHOP by Kevin Frank
(416) 422-6119; email@example.com; faithandfriends.ca/subscribe
Photo: © hadynyah/iStock.com
Around the world, 150 million children earn a livelihood, often working in hazardous conditions. The causes of child labour are complex and interconnected, but the consequences are clear. When children work, they aren’t in school—and education is a key factor in breaking the cycle of poverty. Every child has the right to play and learn. What can you do? Check out Go and Do Something, a new resource from The Salvation Army’s International Social Justice Commission. It includes a biblical reflection and ideas for prayer and action on each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including education (Goal 4) and child labour (part of Goal 8). Visit sar.my/dosomething to download it for free. faithandfriends.ca I SEPTEMBER 2017
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Published on Sep 1, 2017
To show Christ at work in the lives of real people, and to provide spiritual resources for those who are new to the Christian faith. http://...