The flotilla of German ships manoeuvred their way out of Tallinn’s harbor under the down pour of bombs and bullets. The year was 1944. Back when the red cross symbol meant something in the rules of engagement, the ship with that marker on its side was the only one spared. It made it safely to Germany. A twelve-year old Estonian girl named Silvi was on that boat with her parents and brother. That girl became my mother.
The following year, a young Estonian man in his twenties, hid by a riverside in Dresden. He chose not to go to the bomb shelter where his friends decided to take refuge from the bombing of the city. When things settled down, he returned to look for his friends but found only ruins. That young survivor's name was Ado, and he became my father.
It was only the lonesome, squawking cry of a sea gull; not impressive to most people on most days. But when I was first struck with that sound from above echoing in my ears at the early age of four, standing outside my home in a little backwoods town in northern Ontario called Heron Bay, it meant something. It was as if a voice had spoken to me through that ordinary bird in flight. A voice that said: little boy, there is something more behind what you see and hear in this world. It was like the voice of someone gently pleading: I am here. Being born in Port Arthur in 1956, my life’s journey has taken me through small lumber camps in northern Ontario; to the pulp mill town of Marathon where I spent most of my childhood; to the nation’s capital where I earned a degree in Physical Education; to Manitoba where I studied theology for a year; back to Marathon where I lived, worked, married Wendy, and raised my family for twenty-eight years; then to Sudbury, Ontario where we transitioned for two years before finally landing in Hamilton, Ontario. My career path has taken me through twenty-eight years of public service in a national park on the north shore of Lake Superior; twenty years of pastoring in Christian churches; twelve years of driving school bus; and twenty-three years of coaching sports --- with considerable overlapping of roles, of course, meaning I usually performed them concurrently. I always loved sports and ever since my children were little, I found myself coaching them and others in various ones. My specialty was badminton, which eventually led me to take on the Head Coach position at Redeemer University in Ancaster, Ontario where I coached the varsity team for seven years. Currently, in late 2023, pastoral work takes up most of my time, though I've never been a full-time pastor per se. That voice in my head at age four through the squawking of the gull became the clear voice of God in the gospel. It came to me in 1978 while I lived in Ottawa. It was there that Jesus made Himself known to me. In the early days of my Christian walk, writing poetry was a way for me to express my feelings. I wrote forty poems over a two-year span. But once I got my feet under me as a Christian, I found many avenues for expressing myself, especially in the church. Writing took a back seat for a while. But in 1995, I took up the pen again and began to write down in considerable detail some of the things I’d learned regarding Christian theology. As of this moment I’ve produced six, non-fiction manuscripts, five of them dealing with theological topics and one being my memoir. My last non-fiction work was formally published by Word Alive Press in Winnipeg in 2018. It was entitled, Outrun the Bear: Reflections on the Intersection of Sports and God. At the end of the day, I want my writing to point people to the person to whom all history is moving toward, King Jesus in all His glory. I don’t want to write only about the problems in this world, which is the easier part if you have any powers of observation. But I want to write about the solution, which has come to us as a gift. In one place in our Bibles, He is referred to as an inexpressible gift (2 Cor. 9:15), probably because one cannot come close to saying all that could be said about Him. Or our mere words can never fully do Him justice. But like so many others, I must try. I seek worthy words for the worthy King.