Nick's update...

Hi, friends. Thank you to Debra for inviting us to contribute an update to the blog. Great to hear about Doug’s health. I feel we all had such a beautiful time together during our course on […..whatever it was about….]. I think of each of you quite often.

“When you have met at depth, you have met forever”. (Henri Nouwen).

I think that quote captures our two weeks.

A few small developments, then, with regards to myself...

My oboe playing is improving quite significantly. I have now been learning for two and a half years. Whereas I used to be able to practice only five minutes before my lips would hurt too much, I can now manage about 20 minutes. I have still been too stubborn to do what most oboe players (allegedly) do, namely, practice playing notes without sounding them. I feel it is so absurd to play notes without making noises that I just cannot stomach the idea. But I realize I will have to do this if I wish to improve technically. It will likely still be years before I can practice an hour a day with real sound.

An interesting addition in my life is that my father in law has given me his Canadian Stamp collection. I am extremely proud to be a Canadian, so I love this gift. It is a kind of “advance” on his Will. He has two copies of every Canadian stamp ever issued, namely, both new and used. He also has other very unique items, such as samples of the envelopes that were on each of the first airplane flights in Canada in the 1920’s that first carried mail to remote communities. (And there are many remote communities in Canada. But Toronto, however, is not all that terribly remote.) And he has, for example, envelopes stamped at each different post office in the province of Nova Scotia that ever existed. Many of those rural shacks have been dismantled. There have been over three thousand different postal outlets in the hinterland. This is a real nice stack of old envelopes.

I will not become a stamp collector like he has been, but all I really need to do is buy the new stamps as they are issued each year and simply add them to what has already been accumulated. This is the easiest kind of collecting. It could be called “gathering”. But I am also searching for stamps with errors or flaws, since that was a field within philately that he did not explore. The more I procure those blemished stamps, the more complete his original collection will become. E-Bay is fun for this. But those defective stamps can easily run into many thousands of dollars. A single stamp with a mistake on it can easily be worth 15 grand. May the Lord bless the owners of all these little scraps of paper!!

My little church is doing well (in my obviously biased opinion). I still love making and delivering sermons, but it is getting both harder and easier. Easier, in the sense that sometimes I literally write a sermon in two hours. On the other hand, afterwards I sometimes feel drained for two days and can hardly move. Furthermore, I often dread the actual event of preaching and would sometimes be willing to pay one thousand dollars to get out of it.

And then, naturally, there is the pastoral visiting and the administration. I have a very nice congregation, especially when they are all singing off the same page, which is the one where they claim (unanimously) to be in favor of individuality and diversity and to not be demanding unanimity. We are to tolerate even people who are intolerant of tolerance, said Jesus in one of his more intolerable comments.

I am reading a lot, which helps feed the preaching too, but that is not why I do it.

I recently read about the Christians who were against vaccination for small pox in the Netherlands in the 1800’s. The Scripture verse they kept quoting was “And Jesus Saith unto Them, It is not the Healthy who Need a Physician.”

My wife and my two teenage daughters are all doing well, but I am sure they would not appreciate being presented on what amounts to someone else’s “FaceBook”, so I will leave them out of this discussion.

May each of you have a great Fall season and a wonderful Advent and Christmas.

- Nick Overduin

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