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Letter to the Editor - A Pilgrim on a Journey
Thursday, December 8, 2016 - 00:00
Thanksgiving 2016 has come and gone both in the U.S. and Canada; however five years ago around Thanksgiving 2011 I was diagnosed as having advanced testicular cancer. At first the prognosis wasn’t great as I had a mass around my aorta 21 x 7 cm. Near Christmas of that year I was headed back to Edmonton for my fourth and final treatment at the Cross Cancer Clinic. Things were looking brighter as the mass had shrunk quite substantially. This part of the journey definitely impacted my life and gave me a new perspective for the days ahead.
Our journey to Valemount with a young family began 23 and a half years ago at the end of May 1993. Although I didn’t know much about the community I came here full of zeal and passion ready to serve wherever I could. My first official introduction to the community was to take a service for a beloved member of the community who passed on from cancer. Shortly after this I was called upon to do a service for someone who died in a tragic car accident. I soon realized that God had called me not only to pastor a church but also to be available to all as a pastor to the community. Unfortunately since then there have been many more celebration of life services.
It has been a blissful time here yet not without growing pains and struggles. I chuckle as I remember this city boy lighting a fire to heat our house. (I grew up on natural gas and never knew that people actually heated their homes with wood). Back then I never realized how blessed I was to be part of this community until my life took a twisted turn with cancer and chemotherapy. I remember telling a nurse on my third round of chemo how loved and supported I really was. Her eyes filled with tears as I told her of all the acts of kindness that happened to my wife and me. Also tears fill my eyes every time I think of this.
In my recovery times I would walk to the mail and there would be monetary gifts and cards of support. One time someone anonymously left $200 in our car. Thank you to whoever that was! The elementary and secondary schools both helped along the way. Donations were given through the Swiss Bakery and Caribou Grill. Wow! Words cannot express how overwhelmed we felt with so many acts of kindness that I cannot mention them all.
So with this farewell we leave as pilgrims that have passed through a valley of great strength and support. By the Lord’s direction we move on to be closer to our children, grandchild and future ones!
Ted D. Barr
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