Monday, October 26, 2009

On My Knees at the Church, News from Elaine Caruso and Upcoming Events

I've been on my knees at Church - ALL WEEK!

Ok, before you think I'm going through and especially super spiritual time right now, there's something I must confess. I've been on my knees outside the building. Somehow in this past two years I never allowed myself to fully see what was happening outside on the grounds. I don't know why but about a week ago I was startled to realize that all of the foliage on the grounds had been insidiously creeping and growing and taking over. Weeds have choked out shrubbery. Boughs have draped themselves over fences. Vines have pushed their way through slats and climbed and twisted themselves into the cedar hedges. Branches have pushed their sinewy arms out trying to block the sign out front. Debris has blown into every niche. Trash has secreted itself beneath and ontop and everywhere in an ever widening trail leading over to McDonalds. Why, when did this all transpire I asked myself?

Now, upon noticing I was compelled to take action. No, I am NOT a gardener nor a landscaper. I'm just a lady who has access to some sturdy farm and gardening tools and the Lord has been developing me for the past few years. You see, my husband and I moved out to a rural property three years ago. A truly beautiful spot which boasts orchard as well as pristine forest. When we moved part of our agreement was to help with some of the yard work.

The first few times I helped around our own place my friend did all of the pruning to the hedges and foliage. I was very content to provide muscles and willingness to carry and dispose of the trimmings. I was totally comfortable with this arrangement. Then, on one particular day, my friend placed the pruners in MY hands and insisted I could do the trimming. Was I beyond terrified? You believe it - I had visions of misshapen trees and gargoyle-like shrubbery. But I was fine. And whats more, after a while of working I began to make sense of what to leave and what to remove. Now, nobody is going to be hiring me any time soon to bon-sai their ornamental gardens but I must say I can do a pretty good transformation when I set my mind to it.

So, how could I know that the Lord was really pushing me along to learn a new talent? And how could I know that being obedient would lead to me being able to provide a good service to our Church? And how could I guess that one day I would completely enjoy gardening and find a certain satisfaction in seeing a dramatic metemorphisis take place at my own hands?

As I was 'on my knees' I was drawn to so many spirtitual conclusions. I had scripture tumbling over and over in my mind with each task I tackled. I found it all so PEACEFUL and RELAXING - even though I was working so hard and sweating.

I found a true significance when I pruned trees back to the bare essentials, weeding out the wiry offshoots and the branches which were crowding out the main stems. I feel this is where our church is at right now - we are pruned back, awaiting the first flushes of spring when they come - our foundations strong and ready to put out new and healthy shoots!

Another thing which stands out in my mind was that when I first began to tackle it all, I was kind of, soooort of grumping about all the trash strewn, from McDonalds. Truly I spent so much time picking up cups, bags, ketchups etc. There is a regular migration of people all day long heading to and from McD's and some of them make it two feet away from the conveniently placed trash can at the end of the lot, while others save their trash for right down by the building. But, by day's end I was actually THANKFUL for all the trash, and all the people. Why, our little church observes and is observed by people all the day long. One can't ask for a better security system than this!

I met some interesting people. I interacted with neighbors to our church. I am sure people are curious as to why our building is getting a foliage facelift right now? But mostly, I felt a deep satisfaction in having obeyed my instinct to set time aside to do this for our church. I felt wonderful to be able to be the one to make the outside as beautiful as the inside feels to me. I loved labouring there. I felt a connection with our Lord in a special way.

Ephesians 6:6

Work hard, but not just to please your masters when they are watching. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

Proverbs 16:3

Commit your work to the LORD, and then your plans will succeed.


Betty shared the WORD on October 25th. A powerful message which condensed could be PRAY and OBEY. She reminds us to pray without ceasing. Her sermon was based in several areas of Acts. Pray WHEREVER you are, WHATEVER you are doing and for WHOMEVER you are next too or reminded of at the moment.


I received an update from Elaine Caruso to share with you all - it is as follows:

Hello Everyone:
Just wanted to let you know how we are doing here. We arrived late on Friday night. Although we were in time for the ferry they had cancelled the 5 and, 7 sailings. We managed to get on the 9. If you ever come to the Island, a tip is to really plan ahead as there is often a one sailing wait, we are generally in the line at least an hour and a half early. There has been an increase in ferry traffic since we last lived here and it seems that even through the week it is like that. Anyways, I guess the population is growing or something.
After we arrived we stayed overnight with the pastors Al and Verna from Colwood Pentecostal Church in Victoria. The next day we unpacked with some help. We have about 15 steep stairs into the loft type apartment. Good exercise. So I have mainly been home studying to finish my last course. It is a tremendous course load for 2 credits.
Jim is in the office Tue.-Friday and is helping Pastor Al alot until Dec. 31. He is doing pastoral counseling. Our future is still up in the air after that but God has been so good and I have peace about our future. Thank you all again, for the lovely farewell and gifts.

Love Elaine

~ I have printed off Elaine and Jim's particulars. If you would like a copy please grab me and I will give you a copy. We sure miss you both! I have a question for you as well, you say "loft type apartment" - ummmm, remember how you used to have ALL of us over to your place for Pasta Sunday's??? Will your new place fit all your new church inside? Haha!


Kaye - she`s been in and out of hospital suffering pneumonia and now the docs feel she may have contracted the super bug while in hospital. According to her family she might be home in a day or two, she is looking better.

Dale & Florence - in Calgary nursing David who is sick with cancer. May the Lord annoint you as you nurse him.

Jim and Elaine - in Colwood as they begin their new ministry.



October 27 - Women`s Bible Study at Isabelle`s - continuing the `Friendships of Women`series. For more info call Barb at (250) 495-3516

October 28 - OCC Women Online Chat on msn. Everyone welcome.

November 1 - Bart Thomas and the Away Team will be ministering to us. THANK YOU Bart and Park Drive Pentacostal from Oliver for helping out!

November 7 - Saturday Night Jam and Crafts. You`re invited for a time of fun, fellowship, music and crafts. Basic guitar instruction provided in the sanctuary. Bring your own guitar or instrument if you own one. Guitar donations gratefully accepted :) We will be packing shoeboxes downstairs for Operation Shoebox. Bring your own items and we can pool our resources!

November 8 - Guests Jussi and Leena Sievanen from Delta BC will be ministering in Word and Song.

November 29 - Bart Thomas and the Away Team will be ministering to us.


SPECIAL THANKS - to Bart and Park Drive Pentacostal for taking our youth along to the Gathering event held in Grand Forks. I have been promised a recap of the event from one of our youth, to share with you here in the near future!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Our October 17th Saturday JAM and CRAFT night was a wonderful time of fellowship. While members and visitors gathered in the church sanctuary to play and learn various instruments there was a lot of action taking place in the basement at the same time.

Florence gave us a demonstration of her attractive box decorating techniques to spruce up boxes ready for Operation Shoebox (Samaritan's Purse) Here's a small slideshow of the fun!

Thank you for everyone who made this night possible. We have three more weeks to FILL those boxes. Just imagine, each of these boxes has the power to delight the heart of a child somewhere in the world - to bring a message of hope and joy. For some children this is THE FIRST present they might have ever recieved. The following is a small video which shows just how powerful these shoeboxes are!

If you would like to know more about Operation Shoebox and how you can get involved you can visit the Samaritan's Purse website by clicking on the link in the sidebar of our blog.


Two of our members, Ken and Marg, sent me the following inspiration to share with you. Thanks for your contribution - we are thinking of you.

Three things in life that, once gone, never come back

1. Time
2. Words

Three things in life that can destroy a person
1. Anger
2. Pride
3. Unforgiveness

Three things in life that you should never lose
1. Hope
2. Peace
3. Honesty

Three things in life that are most valuable
1. Love
2. Family
3. Kindness

Three things in life that are never certain
1. Fortune
2. Success
3. Dreams

Three things that make a person
1. Commitment
2. Sincerity
3. Hard work

Three things that are truly constant -

Father - Son - Holy Spirit

I ask the Lord to bless you, as I pray for you today,
to guide you and protect you, as you go along your way.
God's love is always with you,
God's promises are true.
And when you give God all your cares,
you know God will see you through.


This is YOUR blog - please submit your own poems, photos, inspiration - even praise for what the LORD has done for you! Just send an email to our blog email:



Kaye is still in the hospital but is recouping and hoping to come home soon. Thank you to all who took time to visit her, we know it has really touched her to have her church family reach out during her illness.

CONGRATULATIONS - to Brad and Danielle McCrea who married at Osoyoos Christian Centre on Saturday, October 17th. We all wish you a lifetime of happiness! (ps - you made our Sunday service all glittery haha!)



Please continue to pray for Kaye as she heals.

Please pray for Florence and Dale as they travel to Calgary where they will be looking after David, Florence's brother who has cancer. David requires 24/7 nursing and its a very poignant time for the family. May God's grace be upon you.

Unnamed - for cancer. This person has been open to hearing the GOOD NEWS of salvation and is open to recieving Jesus Christ in their life. Please pray for this person that they will KNOW. Also bless those who are helping look after this person.

Amanda - for a serious medical issue.

Pastor Jim and Elaine as they settle into their new church home on the island (we miss you!)



OCC Women's Prayer Group - meeting this week at Isabelle's place. Study starts at 1:30 p.m. and runs till 3. Please call Barb or Angie if you need a ride. Last week we spoke on God's Love. This week's topic to be decided when we gather.

Saturday Night Jam and Craft - Once again we will be meeting at the church for a rousing musical Jam Session. Bring your own istrument or come and just enjoy! Some basic guitar instruction provided.

Our women are meet downstairs and there will be coffee on and snacks provided. Bring your own craft along and alternately perhaps we will have something worked up to make or do. There are two ovens in the kitchen - if you would like to bake something we can accomodate!

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Farewell from Elaine and Early Turkey!


Rainstorm over Throne Mountain in August.

Photo by Barb Derksen

As promised, I will share a Farewell Letter submitted by Elaine. (If you are like me you will want to have your kleenex box at hand!)

September 30, 2009

Farewell my friends at Osoyoos Christian Center

As I pack I am reminded of what a privilege it has been to be a part of Osoyoos Christian Center. I met each one of you on your own terms and in your own way and I am blessed to know you. I am an Okanagan girl and will certainly miss the way a storm sweeps across the top of the mountains and the way shadows fall beneath the majestic mountains. The landscape changes continually and I never grow tired of it. We spent time eating together, laughing together and living life together and I appreciate all the prayers that have gone up for Jim and I and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you so much Barbara for providing Sunday school supplies and Betty you served communion to us. The music in this church is outstanding and I will miss our worship times together also. You all have a place in my heart and so my friends go and live for Christ, live your lives in such a way that you glorify our Lord Jesus. Live!


Elaine Caruso


This past weekend our Church Family celebrated Thanksgiving early. Betty was quick thinking and designated each of the dishes out among the masses. The meal turned out delicious and provided enough food for four times our group!

Thanks to Shirley for the turkey and ham, Bev and Gina for the cranberries, butter and buns. To Kaye for the veggies. To Betty for (? sorry don't remember specifics for you) To Florence for salad and mashed. To Angie for more mashed and more items. To Moira for the ice cream and whip topping. To Cindy for the ice cream cake (can't WAIT to get into that one day soon!)


And to Leila for the absolutely delicious soup! It was a rich and creamy Squash Soup - like sheer velvet on the tongue. And even better - she's agreed we might have the recipe featured here soon (granting she can recall the correct proportions) Thanks Leila, simply divine.



Recording artist Steve Bell will be performing at the Baptist Church on Saturday, October 24th. Tickets are $15. You can find more information by visiting the Baptist Church website by clicking HERE. Or you can also phone the church at 250-495-6581.

Praise and Jam with us at the Osoyoos Christian Centre. If you have an instrument or would like to learn to play why not drop in on us on October 24th at 7:00. This is a casual setting, come as you are. We encourage "young people" (aka teens) to feel free to join in the fun! We will also have the 'coffee pot on' downstairs.

Florence Archibald has agreed to give us a demonstration on a unique method of preparing Operation Shoebox (Samaritan's Purse) boxes. She makes the boxes so nice they will be as much a gift as what's inside. She will also offer insight into just what should go into a box to make it special for each child who receives. I've heard rumour we will once again be blessed with touques (what could be more Canadian than that?) fashioned by Loretta. I remember admiring them last year!

You might want to bring along the following supplies if you would like to build a box while Florence demonstrates:

Pair of scissors

Rolls of clear packing tape

Pretty pictures - could be from magazines, calendars, wrapping paper etc. Must be appropriate for children and sensitive to their customs!

You can email me at if you need more information.



For KAYE who had to make a trip or two to the local hospital last week. Pray her health becomes more stable.

For JIM and ELAINE as they bless their new church home on Vancouver Island. We miss you!

For UNNAMED for a serious health issue. That this person would be ministered to and will accept the Lord at this time.

For Danielle and Brad as their wedding is happening SOON!

For our CHURCH and our BOARD members as we work through this season!


I will leave off here with a beautiful Thanksgiving Video to remind us of what's truly important! Click on the triangle (middle) to play it!