Category Archives: Guest Starring…

The last day in TO – Words from my Mom

Two ‘finallys’ in two days. My mom finally came to ‘Camp Peace’ (or what became mine and Timo’s Camp Peace after the real one closed), and my mom FINALLY wrote a guest blog. Be blessed my friends:

Let me tell you about my weekend…

With great anticipation May 2-4 approached: Ruthie was coming home. Not that she wanted to come home, but after her two full years at Urban Promise Toronto it was time. For the entire time she was in Toronto we said that I was going to go visit. If you’ve been following her blog you know her well. And her love for the people in the communities where she has worked. You also accompanied her through the heartache of leaving Camp Peace and then watched as she fell in love with a new group of kids at Camp Victory.

So the time had came….. I was headed for Toronto to bring my daughter home.

I arrived at her intern director’s house at the appointed time. When it came time to leave I watched as the goodbyes started. Everyone was doing quite well until little Eli (who is four) figured out that Rumour would not be back and the tears started flowing. All the interns were there, some who were returning to UP to start summer program in a few weeks. Others who were headed back to their hometowns (and home countries) to begin their own new adventures. Everyone realized that things were going to be very different.

So Ruthie and her room-mates got in the van and we left for Jane and Finch. We stopped at the grocery store; for the past two years I have often wondered if Ruthie was eating right, or even if she was eating at all…… although they all looked quite healthy. We picked up supper and headed to the apartment.

In the evening we found my great-niece who is settling into Toronto for the summer as her cousin is leaving. She helped us pack up Ruthie’s two years of memories and of course I was pleased to be able to feed her (and the intern boys from down the hall) before we took her back to her place. Sleeping on Ruthie’s lumpy futon was an experience, although I’m not sure I did much sleeping.

Sunday morning arrived. Even though Camp Peace had closed Ruthie and the other interns had continued to go downtown on Sundays to pick up kids and take them to the Toronto Alliance Church. Today I would be part of that amazing routine. We packed up the van. She said her final good-byes to her room-mates, which was hard, but they both live in Southern Ontario so she’ll see them again (maybe soon). We drove to Yorkdale Mall to park the car and catch the subway to downtown.

As we were getting out of the van I looked down at my feet, where my dress shoes looked back up at me. They matched my tan slacks. “Ruthie I probably should change to more comfortable shoes eh?” So we got my black ones out “mom black goes with everything”. They really aren’t bad shoes, but with the tan slacks???? One of Ruthie’s little girls later said “My grandma has shoes like that. She has size 10 feet …You do too?” It was kind of cute, because at that point she took my hand.

And there was walking. Around the mall, to the subway, off the subway, under the tunnel to connect to the streetcar. Ruthie’s old intern partner Spencer and a couple of people from TAC were waiting for us as we got off the streetcar. Then to the neighbourhoods. Knocking on doors, the question “Are you coming to church?” At first lots of “No not today“….with Ruthie saying “well this is the last time I’ll be here” and then an extra hug good-bye.

Forty-five minutes later we were sitting in the second and third rows at TAC. Seven beautiful little kids among us. As the singing began I explained what was happening to the little boy beside me. He is only four and I don’t know if he had ever been in a service before. He said “I like ‘twinkle twinkle little star.’ ” If they had asked for favourites I would have suggested it; after all we do know who made those stars! They were great for the first twenty minutes then most of them got a little restless for the next twenty. (Okay they were really restless) but then they went out to Sunday School.

It apparently was Pentecost Sunday. And the pastor quietly entreated us to ask that the Holy Spirit fill us, so that we could experience God’s power and see Him work in our lives. People all through the church responded, and on this day of good-byes I realized again that as we love and serve Christ, yes, there are changes, but each day brings new and exciting experiences.

As the pastor spoke of the disciples speaking in languages, unknown to them, but understood by people in the crowd who were from different countries, I wondered if there was a language that the people from the Alexander Park community would understand. And then it hit me that the reason those little kids were at church there that morning is because the UP interns had been open to what the Lord would do in their lives. The fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness gentleness and self-control, has been present in the neighbourhood. The language of God’s love is one that all of us broken people can understand. It is very exciting that Spencer is going to be an intern at TAC and the kids will still have him. I am sure others from the church will allow the Lord to speak through them and use them to reach out to those kids and their parents.

Our time downtown ended with pizza (complete with a rendition of “Jesus is my superhero” in Pizza Pizza) and donuts, and visiting in the courtyard with the kids and a few of their amazing moms. I watched as Ruthie said her good-byes. I heard the moms tell me how much they love my daughter and how special she has been to them and the kids. And we were off to catch the streetcar, to get to the subway, to get to the van, to start the long drive home.

Please pray for Ruthie, that she’ll find out where the Lord wants her to be and serve, after this regrouping time at home. Pray for Spencer, as he will be officially ministering again in the neighbourhood. Pray for TAC and their presence there. And if you know Him, ask the Lord what hearts He would use you to minister to.


Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Starring...

A Walk. (With Erin Pipes)

(Erin’s second ‘guest blog’, see her first here.)


At approximately 11:27 pm, I had an urgent need to leave. A pressure, if you will. Half of everything in me screamed “RUN”, while the other more polite half stated that I should keep it bottled and sit like a statue while the inside died a little.

Being me, I went with the first half… I quickly changed from my pj’s, grabbed my 8-month old puppy, Georgia, and was out the door in 2 minutes flat.

You know when there’s just so much in your head that there’s almost nothing left? There are no real words, only feelings, simple statements like “I can’t..” and random noises that escape your lips every once in awhile. Your head’s pounding, your heart’s beating, but most everything else is numb…

So I ran… all the way down Fenwick Court. My dumb dog wanted her collar off, so she insisted on stopping on every 10 seconds to roll on lawns trying to release herself so I reluctantly gave up on the running part.

You have to understand… One would barely call this animal ‘a puppy.’ She is a Bull mastiff. She is 90 pounds of muscle at 8 months, and her head is already larger than mine…

So often, I’d need to stop give the command “Heel!” and keep her walking beside me. It’s a straight and wide sidewalk, so one would think that “heeling” would not be difficult. Think again.

One blade of blowing grass is a distraction and an invitation to “come sniff me!” One leaf falling from a tree says “look at me!” And don’t even get me started on those big green electricity boxes.

My annoyance level was escalating as the overgrown puppy started ‘using the facilities’ extremely too close to my neighbours’ front porch.
It was in that moment that the Holy Spirit whispered to my soul “This is your ‘walk’ with God…”

(Read the beginning again, with this in mind.)

The world fell away.
Me and Georgia walking.. it was a metaphor for myself.

Me as her master, and her as my follower. I was leading her… I want the best for her, always. That’s why she is on a leash. She needs to be controlled. The rules, all the commands, the restraints, they are for her benefit. If they were not there, she’d run into the road and get hit by a car. When I tell her “heel”, she has a choice. She knows what “heel” means. She’s been trained since 8 weeks that “heel” means ‘walk beside me, don’t lag, and don’t rush ahead-just walk.’ She can choose to listen and to obey, or she can choose to stop on the boulevard and sniff the distraction. It’s going to be harder for her because I will yank her back beside me and that can be painful. It means we walk more slowly, we don’t walk as far as I’d originally hoped…

The distractions on the boulevards aren’t always nice either. Sometimes, they’re rose bushes-those have thorns which then become embedded in her fur. I find them later, and rip them out. It’s painful, but it’s a consequence, and pulling it out is much better than leaving it there to fester.

I often have ‘treats’ (or blessings 😉 ) in my pocket. So when she’s walking beside me, we’re going at a nice pace, I might stop to give her a treat.
Sometimes she walks just ahead of me. I don’t mind as long as she’s not pulling. When she pulls, I know she thinks she’s in control, so I yank her back beside me.

Psalm 16

A psalm of David.

1 Keep me safe, O God,
for I have come to you for refuge.

2 I said to the Lord, “You are my Master!
Every good thing I have comes from you.”
3 The godly people in the land
are my true heroes!
I take pleasure in them!
4 Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods.
I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood
or even speak the names of their gods.

5 Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.
You guard all that is mine.
6 The land you have given me is a pleasant land.
What a wonderful inheritance!

7 I will bless the Lord who guides me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

9 No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.
My body rests in safety.
10 For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
11 You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.

🙂 God is good, and I trust Him.

1 Comment

Filed under Guest Starring...

Hallelujah. (It’s a command. It means ‘Praise the Lord’.)

— * O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”- Psalm 63:1

Hi. My name is Erin Pipes.

It feels like I’ve written those two sentences more times than actually necessary in the past year and a half.

But how else can one start a “guest spot” in a blog? If there are any suggestions out there, please email. Because this “one” is often unsure of how to begin.

You know, it makes sense though. Since I was six… the only introductions I can remember all began with a “Hi… I’m Erin Pipes…What’s your name?”

(Normally, those at age six involved the ball pen at McDonald’s, a giant buck-toothed smile, and a little pig tail swish. Often followed by a strange look from the fellow ball-penner.)

My mom has always been a big fan of really getting to know a person.

I’m not sure why I wanted to ‘guest spot Rumer’s blog’ in the first place, I guess I’ve always been a fan of people who guest spotted. Like, take Ellen Degeneres for instance. Now there’s a woman who loves a good guest spot! I remember when she had that random kid from Idol singing his made up songs about sailing ships and love… Like where did she get off inviting HIM to the show?? But seriously…

God is so cool, right. (I know, eventually I needed to bring Jesus back–kinda like J.T. and his sexiness–except this is Godly and pure;) )

EVERYDAY I’m learning something new. God is showing me things that I never would have noticed-about myself, about my roommates, about random people on the bus, about my children, about my community, about LIFE. I’m serious! And He shows me it through all kinds of things… Mostly through others and my conversations with them, but the Bible is my favourite learning spot. And especially through my kids. They are so special, I can’t help but throw that out there every few sentences I say now. It’s amazing.

God’s been giving me more and more one on one time with different kids and through that I’ve been getting to know them better and finding out how amazing they each are. God’s giving me a big heart for my community and each time I see something that I know makes Him sad, my heart breaks right along with His. I can literally feel it, you know, God pushing me to do things, to talk to different people, to be there for certain kids at certain times, and listen when their words need to be heard. These times are the hugest for me. Just knowing that God chose me to be here at this moment in time and knowing I am right where He put me.

I am so inadequate. Every single day I am pushed lower and lower. I’m inched further and further toward the end of myself and the very beginning of the love of Christ. I can’t even fathom it. So many times I’ve felt it, but still there is something in me that can’t let go, it’s scared, and it’s what keeps me from jumping in head first with my eyes closed. Therefore, I come before Him each day knowing how broken and how unable I am, just praying that somehow He will want to use me to be part of a solution, part of His perfect will. As much as I mess it up, one thing I’ve learned is that He will always bring it back for His glory. And that is the only thing that keeps me going. God as my sustenance, and His heart as my guide.


Ephesians 6:19-20

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.



Filed under Guest Starring...