(My Pause For Thought on Vanessa, BBC Radio 2 on September 30th 2021. The theme was Favourite Tourist Destination)
Favourite tourist destinations. The Stockmans have been blessed. In 2005 got to spend 3 months in Vancouver and between 2002 and 2008 we had four big chunks of time in Cape Town.
We do this blending of vacation with vocation in our lives. Vancouver was a sabbatical while I was Writer In Residence at Regent College. Cape Town was leading teams of University students to help build houses with Habitat For Humanity.
A few years ago we were looking at another sabbatical and Janice and I thought Vancouver again. I set up a house swap with another minister. He described a house by the Pacific Ocean and a church that would only want to know if I would sail or play golf! When I said I’d just like to walk around and hope I’d bump into novelist Douglas Coupland he replied that he lived down the street!
So Janice started cleaning the house for the house swap. We go excited. Stanley Park, Granville Island, Grouse Mountain, Kitsilano.
Then… well then the daughters rebelled.
“We’re not going daddy…”
“What?!?! You loved Vancouver”
“You and mum can go but we are going to Onialeku”
Where’s Onialeku I hear you say. It’s in Arua on the north west edge of Uganda. Our Church had funded a school that we had visited the year before this hoped for sabbatical!
“How are you going to change the world on Kitsilano beach”, my 16 year old preached back at her parents!
So… Ross, Laura and their family lived in our house the summer of 2016 but we weren’t anywhere near the Pacific Ocean.
We were on a playground on the edge of Uganda. We’ve been back again and again since then and whenever this pandemic clears in East Africa that is the very first tourist destination on our list.
300 children who seem to have nothing to offer a holiday brochure but who have given us more deep down joy than we’ve found on beaches, up mountains, in swimming pools!
Changing the world Jasmine supposed. I don’t know about how we have changed Onialeku but I know for very sure that it has changed us… I do wonder if that is one of Jesus main aims when he asks us to serve others. It is about Changing us. Even as to how teenagers choose their tourist destinations.