THAT’S A WRAP!!
2022 – the year the masks came off and borders opened.
If you are like me, you always start each year with the best of intentions, but the older I get the more I have come to understand the proverb,
“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” NLT Proverbs 16:9.
As we launch into 2023, Marlene and I would like to thank you for being on the journey with us over this past year as prayer and financial partners. Our big 2022 ride was turned upside down and became something right-side up for the Kingdom and fulfillment of this proverb.
What we learned as we planned, and the Lord determined.
- Our great plan took a turn and ended up being very different right from the beginning. We originally planned a ride as something we wanted to do for ourselves to mark Ray’s 5th & John’s 10th anniversary in Heaven. Sort of wondering how it is for them there, and hey, look we made it this far moment – something that seemed impossible at each of their departures.
- The Holy Spirit started niggling “Well if that’s what you want to do then remember anything worth doing is worth doing well. And really, do you just want to ride to remember or what if you did it for a different reason?” So, we turned our ride into a fundraiser with a focus on others; this hope that we had realized all these years, that had sustained us as widows, might become a hope that others could embrace. Hence, the name “Ride for Hope” and what a great way to honour our guys and pay their legacy forward. We both knew they would be embarrassed to be front and centre but would be thrilled that we could leverage their homegoing into something beautiful for others.
- We chose two charities that were meaningful to each of them: The Investing Hope Foundation (IHF), Ray was in Colombia with the founders, Jim and Diana Frantz, and a small group of friends when the dream was birthed, and then he served as a founding board member. Little did we know that when we chose IHF, Colombia would be experiencing some intense political unrest and over six million more people were tipped into poverty because of the pandemic and more. Inner Hope Ministries, (IH) John mentored and counselled founder Jenny Shantz in her early days of start-up. He was there in those moments when the idea was becoming a reality. The realities that IH has encountered this past year was made every more intense for for the Indigenous peoples in Canada. The discovery of the largest mass killing ever on a First Nation, the identification of more unmarked children’s graves at former Indian residential schools, the ongoing genocide of Indigenous women and Jenny Shantz’s mom’s homegoing. e
- We set a fundraising goal of $80,000 – $40,000 for each charity (I personally thought why not shoot for $100,000.) We knew that $40,000 would be matched, but if you know me, I am a ‘what if’ person…We are thrilled to report that as of January 1, 2023, we can say that we finished strong with $85,000 being gifted. Our final donation was made by an old friend from Parkland Fellowship, a church plant that Ray and I were involved in years ago, who sent me a FB message on New Year’s Eve saying, “Please call me, today.” The Lord has pressed Ray’s cancer journey on her heart and she wanted to make one of the things she did before the year ended, to remember Ray with a gift to Joyful Living.
- As for the Ride, we planned every logistic imaginable and we trained faithfully for months. The one thing we didn’t consider was an accident and not being able to finish the way we had started. But God knew our 700km ride was going to turn into something much different and way bigger. He had planned a dinner engagement for us with strangers who would become like family. It was truly a Nehemiah 2:8 moment for us. Jenny, from Inner Hope, had written ahead and arranged with Dave & Wendy DuBois, her cousins, a kickoff dinner complete with T-shirt souvenir gifts the night before our big ride. Little did any of us humans know, they would become our lifeline for the entire trip. Jenny’s letter of introduction and endorsement ended up being our lifeline and the encouragement to continue. And then the accident. Day one, just on the outskirts of Borden-Carleton, 65km away from Charlottetown, the ride as we planned it had ended abruptly. The DuBois’ came and picked us and our bikes up. They opened their home, their hearts and yes, their treasures to us. They insisted we continue, and they provided the wheels to make that happen. Their brand-new car was ours for 10 days and their home was to be our base camp while we were on the Island.
- We prayed and with the doctor’s blessing plus a cast on my arm, we turned the ride into a walk. We would drive to all the destinations we had planned, and we purposed to walk as many kilometres a day as we could manage. We ended up driving, with our “Ride for Hope” posters plastered on the windows of our new wheels. We drove 1000km’s visiting all the places we had planned and because we now had a car, we were able to go to even more places. And oh, the people that we met from all over the world. PEI is a small island, and we soon became recognizable to others – the woman with the black cast kind of stood out. So, that meant we were able to share our story with countless others.
- We decided to invite others to join us as we renamed our “Ride” into the “Journey for Hope”; 37 friends from Colombia, the US and Canada and one entire group of children in a Umoja Soccer Camp in Calgary said, we are in! We want to be part of this journey. Collectively, WE walked and/or rode 1309.3 km. Marlene and I personally logged 308.7 but the larger group bumped that up by 1000.6 km. So, what started out to be a 700km ride by the two of us on the little island of PEI became a movement in several countries. We experienced an Ephesians 3:20 moment, “To him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us”.
- Finally, even the surgeon back in Langley who ended up doing my surgery knew how important some things were – so as he stitched my arm back up, he took special care to reconnect the word, “UnPoverty”, which is tattooed on my wrist. I will cherish this word and this scar for the rest of my life.
Some encouragements from Marlene and me as you reflect and give thanks for 2022 and launch into 2023:
- Dedicate this coming year to the Lord
- Expect to meet amazing and beautiful people along the way
- Practice encouragement and hospitality as you are able
- Take in the scenery that is yours each day…don’t miss all the vistas that are gifted to you
- Persevere even when the going gets tough
- Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone
- Embrace new experiences
- And if you can, eat oysters
Happy New Year and THANK YOU!!!
Aug 16th, 2022
Ten days of Hope wrapped up in a whole lotta Love. We had a plan but God’s direction for the Ride/Journey for Hope turned it into a “he makes all things beautiful” experience. Ten days ago the two of us launched out but the ‘accident’ caused what we are embracing as part of a bigger plan. Marlene Affleck and I trained, and prepared to complete 700km on our bikes but we ended up completing a total of 308.7km biked/walked AND then a whole company of others joined us on the journey and collectively we walked/biked 1309.3km!!!!!! Huge thank you as well to everyone who cheered, prayed and encouraged the following walkers/runners who joined us from Colombia, the US and Canada: Vic & Rita, Jesse M., Melissa, Jim & Diana, Russel & Ingrid, Lex, Jenny, Mark & Karen, Gerry, Quentin, Lila & Ellie, Jesse P., Lori & Wes, Jo-Anne, Nathan, Jean Claude, Travis, Chelsea, Aileen, Howard & Janet, Carl & Gwen, Jocelyn, Curtis, Karen & Shaun, Kaityln, Wyatt, Beckett and Aumie and the kids from Calgary’s Umoja soccer camps (who walked 16km collectively and raised $66 in toonies!!!) and to the extraordinary donors who together have gifted, as of this morning, $79,473.63, we are over the moon and humbled by the outpouring of love and generosity, for Inner Hope Youth Ministries and Investing Hope Foundation. Special thanks to Wendy G. DuBois and Dave for opening their hearts, home and yes for gifting these two strangers, widows from BC, their brand new Hyundai Venue for the week. We came as strangers we are leaving as family!! Thanks be to God for his kindness. We were able to log 1020km in that little love bug and we were gifted the opportunity to share the story with new friends across the entire province of beautiful PEI. Stay tuned for a final update on funds raised, some great travel recommendations for PEI and deeper reflections from our Canadian Camino later this month. Thanks be to God. Great things he has done.
Aug 15th, 2022
It is our final official day of the Journey for Hope. A huge shout out will be coming tomorrow when we acknowledge and affirm everyone who has helped us complete the 700km by walking and riding with us. This morning as we pack up and leave Murray River, we would like to acknowledge that we have been traveling around and have been welcomed into the traditional land of the Mi’kmaq, the Indigenous People of Prince Edward Island. Mi’kmaw know the island as ‘Epekwitk’, which means “lying in the water”. Isn’t that beautiful. We are grateful for the kindness, warm welcome, gracious hospitality and warm embrace we have received every step of the way. There is a respect on this island for others, that needs to be emulated across our beautiful country.
Aug 14th, 2022
Kimberley Ware Parker let us know this morning that her amazing guy and our superhero Jesse is riding 25km for the Ride / Journey for Hope today in his first ever Provincial time trials race in Port Burwell, ON! Marlene Affleck and I have swollen hearts (and sometimes at the end of the day swollen feet). The two of us have now completed 284.7km and our fundraising continues as well with $78,782 for Investing Hope Foundation and Inner Hope Youth Ministries Thank you Jesse and all our friends from Colombia to San Fransisco to St.Stephen to Spokane to Denver to Olds to Maple Ridge to Calgary to Victoria to Abbotsford to Point Roberts to Vancouver to Langley to Maui to Spirit River AND BEYOND…we are in this together. Tomorrow we WILl cross the 700km finish line!!! Together we can. Thanks be to Ray and John for running the good race and finishing strong and well. We will too, the good Lord willing. (ps. Send us your Kms end of day Monday or early Tuesday)
Aug 13th, 2022
Greenwich National Park – I am seriously thinking that this jewel called PEI may be the most under promoted part of Canada that there is. Our walk today included the dunes accessible only be a kilometer long floating boardwalk. Where are we???? Feels other worldly.
Aug 12th, 2022
“Come from away” we have and “come back Different” we will. For sure!! Foraging food and loving Lovage butter two new things and were we ever surprised that Chef Michael Smith himself served Marlene Affleck her first raw oyster and then rang the bell to let all the dinner guests know including one of The Island Walk originals, Theresa Redmond at The Inn at Bay Fortune. We kept pinching ourselves wondering how did we get to be at this dinner as we continued to make our our way across this gentle island? It appears that we are averaging 20km a day-but that’s okay, because I keep hearing a whisper “call into me and I will show you great and mighty things” It is all about the people and the journey. Like the 2 Chloe’s that we met at the Market Day event in Cavendish – listen to one interview – we were able share the Investing Hope Foundation story with her. And of course there was a return visit to the Post office to spend time with Our new friends Lorine and Holden – we have been busily sending all the Journey supporters a little bit of love yes Lucy Maud Montgomery it is truly delightful when your imaginations come true. (Our little calling card is being asked for everywhere. This journey just keeps getting more and more interesting.
Aug 11th, 2022
“However big however small, let me, no, let us be part of it all. Close your eyes and let a million dreams of what might be, BE” for Investing Hope Foundation and Inner Hope Youth Ministries. It’s been a dreamy kind of day imagining what might be actually happening as we have been sharing the story of what we came to do and what is really happening. Ray and John would never have imagined or dreamed that their legacy would be magnified and multipled through their families and friends in this way. People are walking, riding and talking about things that matter. And as a dear friend reminded me this morning in a text, we are all broken people in one way or another, just wanting to be alive and whole. Remember your one life, could change everything. Forever -a little girl named Lucy reminded us of that today. (PS: 20km done on our end)
Aug 10th, 2022
Lean not on your own understanding….okay so let’s start there. Today was full of unexpected meetings, surprises and blessings. New friends and old friend reunions and connections including a tea time with Eleanor Shepherd a dear friend and former Opportunity colleague from Montreal who just ‘happened’ to be staying 20 minutes away from us today. The visit to the incredible team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Prince Edward Island involved a new cast (thank the Lord) in my favorite color. While we were supposed to have only biked 57.8km on our original schedule instead we walked 13.2km and OTHERS rode for us including Gerry Peters – 55.4km, Quentin Fincaryk 50km and Lila Joy Quezada 5km for a total of 109.4km biked and our walk at Cavendish tonight brought what we know the total to be 122.6km – and this does not take into account all those that are walking. With just the numbers that we know we have over doubled todays expectation. And then we learn that the Soccer Without Boundaries/Umoja Community Mosaic soccer camp kids in Calgary walked with us, and for the youth, being served through Investing Hope Foundation and Inner Hope Youth Ministries AND each of those young soccer players, well, they are working toward raising $2 each (and they have a donor who will match that!!!) so we are closing today off trusting the Lord with all our hearts acknowledging that God is doing some above and beyond anything we could have hoped or imagined.
Aug 9th, 2022
Evening update – We had quite the day-stayed the course and made it to Summerside, but not before visiting Lily’s Bed and Breakfast in O’Leary. We were supposed to have stayed with her a few nights back. Just needed to go say hi!! She wouldn’t let us leave without one of her cinammon buns. We are hugely grateful that we were able to walk 25k on the Journey. As of today there are even more people walking with us including the kids at Soccer Without Boundaries/Umoja Community Mosaic in Calgary. Our hearts are full. And yes for those that have asked I do have a black eye, but thanks be to God and a great helmet no concussion or brain bleed. Onward for Investing Hope Foundation and Inner Hope Youth Ministries!!thanks to everyone who is supporting Joyful Living Joyful Giving Foundation as we raise the volume on Hope.
Morning update – We are off – walking (with others in Latin America, US and across Canada) and driving (in our donated little super Venue all decked out with signage) Day 5 of our Journey of Hope , $78,506 raised for Inner Hope and Investing Hope. We are making our plans, daily, but God is directing our steps.
Aug 8th, 2022
Afternoon- Oh my goodness. We have people walking with us on The Journey of Hope in Colombia, California, Hawaii, Washington, Colorado, British Columbia, Alberta, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
Morning – What if you joined us on our Journey of Hope and together we collectively get as close to 700km as we can between now and Aug 15? Marlene and I have already logged 169.7 walking and riding since we started on Aug 5. That will be our starting point. PM us if you want to walk, ride, hike, swim with us. Your own personal camino right where you are, and as you are going we would love if you would be mindful and prayerful for Investing Hope Foundation and Inner Hope Youth Ministries and your own personal ministry/org/mandate. We will be praying for you too – Love to you today
Aug 7th, 2022
Life is a journey and we are all on it!
Incredible ride from Charlottetown to Borden-Carleton (64.6 km). It was kicked off by a Good Samaritan helping us with directions and then giving us a $500 donation. Arrived at Carleton Motel (a version of Schitt’s Creek Motel). Had an amazing shower, charged our bikes and headed out to find food. We were now riding on the Trans Canada Highway, Marlene in front leading the way, glad we had chosen to ride as it was a long way and we were clipping right along until. My tire hit the gravel off the shoulder and I flew off the bike into traffic, which thankfully came to a screeching halt. As I was crawling off the highway people were screaming and getting cars to stop and a number came to my rescue. A trucker honked at Marlene and told her that her friend was down. as she came back as I was being walked off the highway to a picnic table. Fast forward after a ton of good care by the entire community, 911 called, one driver with a first aid kit, and another that knew how to use it. Someone was checking my vitals and waited with us on the phone with the paramedics until the ambulance arrived (about 45 minutes). While we were waiting one fellow noticed the Ride for Hope QR code on our bikes and asked if this was a fundraiser. He then gave a donation. What??? Who are these people. Amazing. We were concerned about our bikes so Ceretti’s Grocery & Hardware offered to store them locked up at their garage and Marlene was able to come with me in the ambulance to the Prince County Hospital in Summerside. The paramedics arrived and got me stabilized and hooked up to IV. The hospital was notified and ready to received me on arrival. I was accessed pretty quickly. Lots of x-rays – from head to toe. After the X-rays, Good humoured Dr. Hayden and his team affirmed that the quest could continue BUT in a different way. No biking.
Within five hours we were on our way in Old Town Taxi back to the Carleton (with our long awaited @subway 6 inch lobster lunch). We made a quick stop at Ceretti’s where our bikes were stored to retrieve items from our trunk bags. And waiting for us at the gas station was a gift goodie bag of ANNE of Green Gables Chocolates Raspberry Cordial and Cow Chips. WOW!!! Before we went to bed, our new friends Dave & Wendy G., had a arranged to borrow a truck to pick us and our bikes up in the morning, and they donated a car for us to use for the week, AND opened their home and their hearts for us to recalibrate. We relaunch Monday morning, determined to finish what we started – walking and driving version. Our hope has not diminished quite the opposite, it has increased. We will complete the mission to honour our husbands’ legacy of generosity, determined to raise the last $23,081 for Investing Hope Foundation in Colombia and Inner Hope Youth Ministries in Vancouver. We are in this together.
Aug 6th, 2022
64.68 km – Beautiful ride on the Confederation Trail!
Here we go. #ccrideforhope2022 Saddling up and first bystander asked our Why. We pointed them to http://www.joyfullivingjoyfulgiving.ca and when technology fails u, Because it will, there is the human “kinder, gentler” navigator who show up on the trail from Oakville, 0n and not only gives you direction, but makes a very generous donation. Just because generosity is his calling. His words