In July of 2002 we moved to Saskatoon, and I started a 12 year journey that would end in my returning to pastoral ministry in May of 2014. And what a journey it was! I met some amazing people during my time with the Canadian Bible Society (CBS). People from all denominations and backgrounds. We described ourselves as being interdenominational and interconfessional. And that we were! Our board, at various times, had people who were Lutheran, Pentecostal, United Church, Anglican, Ukrainian Orthodox, Mennonite and Seventh Day Adventist. We had a lot of denominational differences, but we all had a firm belief in the power and authority of the Bible as the Word of God.
One of my first adventures had nothing to do with CBS. After their wedding, Jeff and Becky returned to Taiwan. A little over a year later they welcomed their first child, our first grandchild into the world – a little girl named Chandyn Jaya. We couldn’t wait to see her, to hold her and to kiss her beautiful face. Early in 2003 we got on a plane that took us to Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Jeff took me on a walk up Monkey Mountain. It wasn’t much of a mountain, a bit of hill, but it sure had monkeys. Just before we arrived at the bottom, I slipped and fell. My left foot was turned at a very unnatural angle and I knew I had fractured something. I had very little pain, but I couldn’t stand on my left foot. Jeff left me at the foot of the mountain and went back home to bring Becky to help him transport me to their car. They brought a broom stick and held it between them while I sat on it. They transported me to a hospital where my ankle was x-rayed. I had broken three small bones in my ankle. They told me I needed surgery and we decided to wait till we returned to Saskatoon for it. I was given a cast that extended from my foot to near the top of my thigh. I was also given a pair of crutches and sent home. I was amazed at the efficiency of the hospital. I was there for less than three hours. I was also grateful for the insurance I now qualified for as an employee of CBS.
The doctors at the hospital suggested that my cast be split before I boarded the plane to return home. The air pressure in the cabin could cause my leg to swell. A young doctor, possibly an intern was given the task of using a saw to open my cast along its length. I don’t think he had ever used that saw before and I experienced a lot of pain. He assured me that I was okay, but it still hurt. When my cast was removed back in Saskatoon a long red mark, the length of my leg was revealed. He’d burned me.
Despite my injury, I loved being in Taiwan because I was able to spend a little time with my granddaughter. She was gorgeous. She inherited long curly hair from both her parents. I’ve never seen or held a more perfect little girl. I was so glad we had come.
The plane ride home was another adventure. I was given a bulkhead seat which meant that there wasn’t another seat directly in front of me and I had a little more leg room. The doctors told me I needed to keep my leg elevated. How do you elevate your leg in airplane? I propped it up against the wall of the plane. Our first stop was in Tokyo where we were taken off the plane and put on a bus and taken to the international terminal. We were treated like royalty by the people at Narita airport. While in Narita we were all given a rather ominous looking yellow card that said that if we showed any symptoms like a fever or a cough we should immediately report to medical personnel at home – we may have been exposed to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). I was in a wheelchair and had to carry my crutches wherever I went. We finally boarded a plane that flew north and west over Alaska and Saskatoon, (why couldn’t they have touched down in Saskatoon and let us off?) before we landed in Minneapolis. More adventures followed.
We had about a nine hour layover before our flight to Saskatoon. We were allowed to spend the time in the airline’s passenger lounge. It was incredibly uncomfortable and I don’t think I got more than a few minutes sleep. Then we made our way to the gate for our flight. Iona had asked for a cart to pick us up and take us to the gate. When the cart didn’t show up, she decided to take me herself. We loaded up our carry-on luggage and crutches on the wheelchair and we took off. We learned a lesson about wheelchairs and moving sidewalks – go on them backwards, with the big wheels first. Why? Because if you go with the front wheels first, they will catch when you get off and you will get dumped. How do I know? Because that is exactly what happened and I and all my stuff were scattered at the end of the sidewalk. We made it to our gate and onto the plane. We were on our way home.
My brother Grant met us at the airport. He hugged us both and gave us a ride home and we slept in our own bed for the first time in a couple of weeks. Because of my cast I couldn’t sleep in a bed at Jeff and Becky’s. I slept on my back with my casted leg on a coffee table. I did have a mat under my back, but it wasn’t that comfortable. In my own bed I was able to get a reasonable night’s sleep and prepare myself for my next adventure that led through the Royal University Hospital with surgery on my broken ankle and an encounter with Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Would I still be able to keep the Son in my eyes?
I am learning so much about you! Look forward to the next episode!
Wow Len that was quite an adventure. Let’s hope that your foot has returned to normal. I am experienced with broken bones. I have broken 9 and two bones twice. God is good and my bones have returned to normal.
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing these experiences!