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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Gratefully Remembering The Rev. John Lombard

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

The Rev. John Lombard helped many people become ready for the final transition of life.  He did not let the difficult disease of Parkinson’s defeat his feisty spirit.  John was ready to go, ready for the final phase of life on earth. John lived a full life, both in sickness and health.

John was a courageous, humorous, thoughtful, and compassionate man.  It was a privilege to get to know John on a personal level.  At his memorial service, many people shared about the deep humility that John displayed.  To know John was to love John.

His dear wife Bev stood faithfully with John ‘for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and health’ in their forty-five years of marriage.  During the difficult last phase of John’s life, Bev kept an online blog where she shared daily about her life with John.  Bev has been a great inspiration to many by the way that she has not let John’s chronic illness defeat her.  Her deep faith kept her going, because she knew that she was not alone.

As my honorary assistant priest at St. Simon’s North Vancouver, John was a tremendous help, covering for me when I spoke at various conferences.  In 2004 when I had an opportunity to take a three-month sabbatical, John ‘held the fort’, enabling me to be deeply refreshed and renewed.  Because of John’s covering at St Simon’s NV, I was able to travel to eighteen cities across Canada with 250 francophones and anglophones in a journey of reconciliation called La Danse.

In Nov 2004, our 10:30am contemporary service moved, because of overcrowding, to the Maplewood School.   This was made possible because John covered for me at Maplewood School until I could drive there from Deep Cove after our 9am traditional service.  John’s loyalty was a rare gift to me. I knew that you could depend on John through thick and thin.  John was a man of his word. His yes was yes and his no was no.

John was not a yes-man.  Many times when John saw a way that we could improve, he would freely share with me his insights.  As his voice became weaker because of Parkinson’s, I had to listen very carefully.  His mind remained sharp, even as his body faced serious challenges.  I remember John’s helpful suggestions about how we could improve the quality of reading scripture on Sunday morning.  His ideas resulted in a very informative Saturday morning Readers’ Workshop led by his wife Bev to about twenty of our readers.  There was a remarkable strength in John’s spirit, even in the final days of his being in hospice.  The last time I saw John, he really enjoyed viewing my iphone photos from our recent holiday in Hawaii.

One of my strongest memories of John was at the annual BC Christian Ashram retreats where John would tell funny stories and play harmonica during the talent show.  John was a very gifted harmonica player who with his quirky sense of humour intentionally played the wrong harmonica notes in one song.  John did this with a twinkle in his eye.

Born in Montreal and raised in Windsor Ontario, John spent most of his ordained ministry in southern Ontario.  Instead of merely retiring, John and Bev moved to Greater Vancouver to become missionaries with WEC international.  They served at the Gateway Intercultural Training Centre and led short-term mission trips to Fiji, Guatemala, and South Africa.  After St. Simon’s NV adopted John and Bev as part-time missionaries, John wrote wonderful updates about how God was using them in raising up young leaders around the world. As a member of the national leadership team for the Anglican Mission in Canada, John co-ordinated prayer initiatives for the Coalition, sending out regular prayer updates.  As a leader in VMTC, John prayed deeply for healing of others in body, mind and spirit. He gave and gave and gave.  We miss John deeply. But we are so grateful that he is now with Jesus in his nearer presence.

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The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you. 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Louis Riel: Patriote Canadien ?

par Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Qui était Louis Riel ? Était-il un patriote, un dissident, ou les deux ?

Louis Riel est né à Saint-Boniface (Winnipeg, Manitoba) le 22 octobre 1844, héritant de son père un mélange de sang français, irlandais et indigène, avec le français comme héritage dominant.

Sa mère, Julie, envoya son fils Louis pour devenir le premier prêtre Metis du Canada. Cependant,  la mort de son père en 1864 pesa fortement sur Louis et entraina une fin abrupte à sa formation au seminaire. Quatre mois avant de devenir prêtre, Louis rencontra une jeune fille de Montréal, en tomba amoureux, et décida de se marier. Il partit de l’université de Montréal sans obtenir son diplome.  Ses plans de mariage se sont alors effondrés quand ses parents de sa fiancée lui interdirent cette union à un Metis. Rendu amer par ce rejet raciste, Riel quitta Montréal en 1866, sans épouse, sans carrière, sans argent.

Retournant chez lui dans la colonie de Red River, Riel constata que les sauterelles avaient dévasté la terre. Avec la cession de l’influence de la Companie de la Baie D’ Hudson, le Canada de l’est et les Etats-Unis semblaient prêts à engloutir la colonie de Red River. Les Metis se sont sentis oubliés, ignorés et abandonnés sur le plan politique.

Sans consulter convenablement les 12 000 habitants de Red River, la Compagnie de la Baie d’ Hudson venda la colonie au Canada de l’est. Louis Riel rassembla les Metis en 1869 pour prendre le pouvoir du fort Garry, le centre nerveux de la CBH. Le but de Riel était de forcer le gouvernement fédéral à négocier l’admission du Manitoba dans la confédération comme province officielle, et non comme territoire. Le nom de la provinceManitoba, plutôt que l’Assiniboia, qui était le nom territorial, vena de Louis Riel lui-même.

Louis Riel a proclamé que le Metis étaient les sujets loyaux de sa majesté, la reine de l’Angleterre.  “Si nous sommes des rebelles”, a dit Riel, “nous sommes des rebelles contre la compagnie qui nous vendue, et qui est prête à nous livrer, et contre le Canada qui veut nous acheter. Nous ne sommes pas en révolte  contre la suprématie britannique qui n’a toujours pas donné son approbation pour le transfert final du pays. Nous voulons que les habitants de RedRiver soit un peuple libre”.

Les Américains ont observé la rébellion de Red River avec beaucoup d’intérêt. Ignatius Donnelly, un ancien lieutenant-gouverneur du Minnesota, dit : “Si les revolutionnistesde Red River sont encouragés et soutenus, nous pourrions dans quelques années, peut-être même quelques mois, voir les étoiles et les raies brandir de Fort Garry, des eaux du détroit de Puget Sound, et le long du rivage de Vancouver”. A l’été1870, Nathanial F. Langford et l’ex-gouverneur du Minnesota Marshall ont visité Riel au Fort Garry. Ils ont promis à Riel quatre millions dedollars, des pistolets, des munitions, des mercennaires et des approvisionnements pour se maintenir jusqu’à ce que son gouvernement ait été reconnu par les Etats-Unis. Riel refusa.

Après que William O’Donohogue ait déchiré le drapeau de  l’union Jack, Riel reposta immédiatement l’union Jack avec des ordres de tirer n’importe quel homme qui oserait le toucher. En dépit de sa réputation de rebelle, Louis Riel s’est montré un patriote canadien qui, à lui seul empêcha le Canada occidental d’être absorbé par les Etats-Unis. Riel a écrit cette prière dans son journal intime : Oh mon Dieu! Sauvez-moi du malheur d’être impliqué avec les Etats-Unis. Laissez les Etats-Unis nous protéger indirectement, spontanément, par un acte de providence, mais sans aucun engagement ou accord de notre part”.  Prophétiquement, Riel a également inscrit dans son journal intime: “Dieu m’a révélé que le gouvernement des Etats-Unis va devenir extraordinairement puissant”.

Les Metis sont une bande de lâches”, vantait Thomas Scott. “Ils n’oseront pas me tirer”. S’il n’était pas pour l’approbation de Riel du tir tragique de l’anglais Thomas Scott parRiel, il auraitpu aboutir au Cabinet fédéral de John A.Macdonald. La mort de Thomas Scott a fait de Riel l’homme le plus détesté du Canada.

Après sa fuite aux Etats-Unis, Riel a été alors élu comme MP du Manitoba.

La législature du Québec en1874 a passé une résolution unanime demandant au Gouverneur-Général d’accorder l’amnistie à Riel. La même année, après la réélection de Louis Riel comme MP, il est entré dans le bâtiment du parlement, a signé le registre, et a juré un serment d’allégeance à la Reine Victoria avant de se échapper pour éviter l’arrestation. La Chambre des Communes, outrée, l’a expulsé avec une majorité 56-vote.

Exilé au Montana, Riel s’est marié et est devenu un bon citoyen américain, respectueux des lois. En 1884, avec l’abattage du bison, plusieurs gens de premières nations et Métis mourraient de faim. Les Metis en Saskatchewan ont convaincu Riel de retourner au Canada. Riel a envoyé une pétition à Ottawa exigeant que les Metis recoivent les titres de la terre qu’ils occupaient et que les districts de Saskatchewan, Assiniboia et Alberta recoivent le statut provincial. Au lieu de cela, le gouvernement fédéral a établit une commission. En l’absence d’action concrète, Louis Riel et ses partisans ont décidé de renouveller leurs révendications en essayant de capturer le fort Carlton.

En raison du chemin de fer du Canadien Pacifique, mon arrière-grand-père Oliver Allen a été envoyé avec la milice de Toronto pour rapidement vaincre Riel à Batoche. Avec des pistolets Gatling américains avec 1.200 séries par minute, la bataille n’a pas duré longtemps. Tandis qu’il était dans l’ouest, Oliver Allen rencontra sa future épouse Mary Mclean, une journaliste de Regina bien disposé à l’égard de Louis Riel. Juste avant la pendaison de Riel, Mary Mclean s’est déguisé en prêtre catholique afin d’interviewer Riel, il a ecrit cette prière dans son journal intime : “Seigneur Jésus, je vous aime. J’aime tout lié à vous… Seigneur Jésus, faites-moi la même faveur que vous avez fait pour le bon voleur ; dans votre pitié infinie, laissez-moi entrer au paradis le jour même de ma mort”.

Tour Rev. Dr. Ed Et Marc Hird,

Un article pour les nouvelles du Rivage de Nord « Parlant Spirituel » Colonne

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca



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La passion de Louis Riel

par Rev Dr Ed Hird

‘La  première fois que j’ai reçu l’eucharistie sainte, je tremblais,’ a dit Louis Riel. Né à St Boniface (Winnipeg) le  22 octobre, 1844, le jeune Louis Riel a eu un esprit très sensible et passionné avec un manque de tolérance pour l’intimidation.  Selon Mousseau, « rien  ne l’a irrité autant qu’un abus de force contre le faible. »   Riel a également eu une vie profonde de prière et du jeûne, commentant en son journal intime : « Le jeûne et la  prière sont les deux grandes clefs au succès à temps et l’éternité.  Rien ne peut résister jeûner quand il est fait avec l’humilité, la sincérité et la dévotion. Le jeûne ouvre des prisons et libère les criminelles.  Trois ou quatre jours de jeûne accomplissent-ils plus qu’une armée sur le champ de bataille… »

Sa mère, Julie, avait voulu être une nonne. Au lieu de cela elle a envoyé son fils prairie-né par le Red River en 1858 à Montréal pour devenir le premier prêtre Métis du Canada.  Riel a été profondément effectuer par la spiritualité de sa mère, notant que « les caractéristiques  réfléchissantes et calmes de ma mère, avec ses yeux constamment tournés vers le ciel, son respect, son attention, sa dévotion à ses engagements religieux, ont toujours laissé sur moi l’impression la plus profonde de son bon exemple. »  Riel a été très centré sur Christ, priant en son journal intime : « Lord Jésus, je t’aime. J’aime tout lier à vous. »

Vous pouvez imaginer le choc de sa mère quand Louis a abandonné l’université de Montréal seulement quatre mois avant de son ordination. Louis est allé vivre avec les nonnes grises dans leur couvent. La mort récente de son père avait pesé très fortement sur Louis comme la nouvelle tête de la famille Riel. De plus compliquer ses plans d’ordination, il s’était secrètement fiancé à Marie Julie Guernon, seulement d’avoir les   fiançailles annulées par ses parents racistes. En son journal intime, Riel a commenté : ‘Les hommes peuvent lutter contre la volonté de Dieu et s’opposent à sa réalisation, mais ils ne réussissent jamais à l’exclure des conseils des affaires humaines. Dieu a tout dans son soin. Ayez la confiance en Jésus Christ.’

Retournant à Winnipeg, il a découvert la dévastation agricole, sociale, et politique, particulièrement parmi son peuple, les Métis. Quand Riel défendait les droites des Métis, il a réveillé notre nation somnolente du Canada. Après avoir repris le fort Garry de la Compagnie de la Baie D’Hudson, Riel a forcé avec succès le Premier ministre MacDonald à d’identifier des droites de terre des Métis, et d’accepter Manitoba dans la confédération comme province, et pas simplement comme un territoire. Riel a indiqué au négociateur fédéral Donald Smith : « Nous voulons seulement nos droites justes comme des sujets britanniques, et nous voudrions que les Anglais nous joignent simplement pour obtenir ces droits. »  Le 12 mai, 1870, l’acte de Manitoba, basé sur le Métis “liste des droites,” a été ratifié par le Parlement canadien.

La tragédie de la rébellion de Red River était le tir de Thomas Scott que Riel a autorisé. En conséquence, le Canada de l’est ne se contenterait pas avec moins que la tête de Riel sur un plat. Les troupes de colonel Wolseley ont voulu le sang.  Laissant le fort Garry, Riel a dit, « Nous avons fuit  parce qu’il semble que nous avons été trompés. »  L’évêque Tache plus tard a dit concernant l’amnistie promise : ‘L’honorable John MacDonald a menti comme un ‘trooper’. »

En s’échappant aux Etats-Unis, Riel s’est soulagé, disant : « N’importe ce qui se passe maintenant, les droites du Métis sont assurées par l’acte de Manitoba ; c’est ce que je voulais- ma mission est fini. »  Écrivant à son bon ami, l’évêque Tache, le 9 septembre 1870, Riel a dit : « Ma vie appartient au Seigneur. Laisse-le faire ce qu’il souhaite avec elle.’

La période de l’exil aux Etats-Unis était très douloureuse pour Louis Riel. L’évêque Bourget a soulagé Riel en lui indiquant que « …Le Seigneur, qui vous a toujours mené et vous a aidé jusqu’à présent, ne vous abandonnera pas dans les heures les plus foncées de votre vie. Parce qu’Il vous a donné une mission que vous devez accomplir à tous les égards. »  Riel a commencé à se déplacer plus dans le prophétique, parfois éprouvant la joie intense et la douleur profonde dans des offices. Avec un grand effort, Riel a essayé de supprimer ses larmes : « Ma douleur était aussi intense que ma joie. »

Au journal intime de Riel, il a mémorablement dit : « L’Esprit de Dieu a pénétré mon cerveau dès que j’ai commencé à dormir.  L’Esprit de Dieu nous affecte où Il souhaite, et dans la mesure qu’Il voudrait. »

À cause de l’intensité de ses expériences spirituelles, ses amis ont caché Riel dans un asile aliéné de Montréal. Après avoir été libéré en 1878, Riel a commenté : «Je faisais semblant d’être fou. J’ai réussi si bon que tout le monde ait cru que j’étais vraiment fou. » La folie de Riel était peut-être comme la folie simulée du roi David avant les Philistins (1 Samuel 18:13).  Riel a indiqué : « Si je disparais ou si je perds mon esprit, leur persécution implacable peut-être relâcherait… Donc mes ennemis cesseraient probablement de persécuter mon peuple Métis. »

En 1884, Riel est revenu du Montana avec sa famille, à la demande pressante des Métis affamés, à Batoche, Saskatchewan. Wilfrid Laurier, être plus tard Premier ministre libéral, plus tard avoué sur le plancher de la Chambre des Communes : « Si j’étais né sur les banques de la Saskatchewan, j’aurais épaulé moi-même un mousquet au combat contre la négligence des gouvernements et l’avarice sans scrupule des spéculateurs. »  Riel a pétitionné sans succès le gouvernement fédéral avant d’essayer de conquérir le fort Carlton. « Je peux presque le dire, »  Louis Riel a indiqué, « notre cause secoue la confédération canadienne d’une extrémité du pays à l’autre. Il gagne de force chaque jour. »

Cependant la cause de Riel  a été militairement condamnée. La plupart des 250 Métis avaient des fusils de chasse ou de vieux museau-chargeurs, mais quelques-uns ont eu seulement des arcs et des flèches. La milice de Toronto, qui incluait mon grand-grand-père Oliver Allen et 1,000 autres hommes, a eu des Sniders, des Winchesters, des canons et un pistolet de Gatling, le précurseur de la mitrailleuse. Le pistolet de Gatling leur avait été prêté par l’armée des USA, et actionné par un lieutenant américain, Arthur Howard. Tout en conquérant Riel, mon grand-grand-père a rencontré ma grand-grand-mère, Mary Mclean, qui était une journaliste de ‘Regina Leader’ bien disposée à l’égard de Louis Riel. Juste avant la pendaison de Riel, Mary Mclean, qui parlait le français couramment, s’est déguisé en prêtre catholique afin d’interviewer Riel. Son rédacteur de journal lui avait indiqué : « Vous devez avoir une interview avec Riel si vous devez surpasser la force entière de police dans le Nord-Ouest. » Riel a dit à mon grand-grand-mère le 19 novembre 1885 : « Quand je vous ai vu la première fois au procès, je vous ai aimé. »  Peu de temps après, mes grand-grand-pères Oliver et Mary se sont épousés et déménager pour commencer la vie à nouveau en Colombie Britannique.

Avant que Riel soit mort, il a passionnément prié en son journal intime : « Jésus, auteur de la vie ! Soutenez-nous dans toutes les batailles de cette vie et, sur notre dernier jour, donnez-nous la vie éternelle. Jésus, donnez-moi la grâce de savoir vraiment votre beauté ! Donnez-moi la grâce de vous aimer vraiment. Jésus, accordez-moi la grâce de savoir comment beau vous êtes ; accorde-moi la grâce de vous chérir. »

Ma prière  est que nous aussi pouvons découvrir la passion de Louis Riel pour son sauveur Jésus Christ.

Révérend Dr Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the North Shore News/Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca



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Louis Riel: Canadian Patriot?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed and Mark Hird

Who was Louis Riel?  Was he a patriot or a dissident or both?

Louis Riel was born at St. Boniface (Winnipeg, Manitoba) on October 22nd 1844, inheriting from his father a mixture of French, Irish and Aboriginal blood, with French predominating.

Louis’ mother Julie sent her son Louis to become Canada’s first Metis priest.  The 1864 death of his father however weighed heavily on Louis, bringing about an abrupt end to his seminary training.  Four months from becoming a priest, Louis met a young Montreal girl, fell in love, and decided to marry.  He rashly left the College of Montreal without obtaining his degree, and then his marriage plans collapsed when his fiancée’s parents forbade this proposed union with a Metis.  Embittered by this racist-rejection, Riel left Montreal in 1866 – without a wife, without a career, without money.

Returning home to the Red River settlement, Riel found that locusts had devastated the land. With the demise of the Hudson Bay Company’s influence, both Eastern Canada and the United States seemed poised to swallow up the Red River settlement.  The Metis felt forgotten, ignored and politically abandoned.

Without adequately consulting the local 12,000 Red River people, the Hudson Bay Company sold the Red River settlement to Eastern Canada.  Louis Riel rallied the Metis people in 1869 to take over the local Fort Garry, the Western nerve centre of the HBC.  Riel’s goal was to force the Federal Government to negotiate Manitoba’s admission into Confederation as a full province, not just a territory. The provincial name Manitoba, rather than the expected territorial name Assiniboia, came from Louis Riel himself.

Louis Riel proclaimed that the Metis were ‘loyal subjects of Her Majesty the Queen of England’. “If we are rebels, said Riel, “we are rebels against the Company that sold us, and is ready to hand us over, and against Canada that wants to buy us.  We are not in rebellion against the British supremacy which has still not given its approval for the final transfer of the country…We want the people of Red River to be a free people…”

The Americans watched the Red River Rebellion with keen interest.  Ignatius Donnelly, a former Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, said: ‘If the revolutionists of Red River are encouraged and sustained…, we may within a few years, perhaps months, see the Stars and Stripes wave from Fort Garry, from the waters of Puget Sound, and along the shore of Vancouver.’  In the summer of 1870, Nathanial F. Langford and ex-governor Marshall of Minnesota visited Riel at Fort Garry.  They promised Riel $4 million cash, guns, ammunition, mercenaries and supplies to maintain himself until his government was recognized by the United States.  Riel declined.

After William O’Donohogue ripped down the Union Jack, Riel immediately reposted the Union Jack with orders to shoot any man who dared touch it.  Despite his rebellious reputation, Louis Riel showed himself to be a Canadian patriot who single-handedly kept Western Canada from being absorbed by the USA.  Riel prayed in his diary: “O my God!  Save me from the misfortune of getting involved with the United States.  Let the United States protect us indirectly, spontaneously, through an act of Providence, but not through any commitment or agreement on our part.”  Riel also prophetically noted in his diary: “God revealed to me that the government of the United States is going to become extraordinarily powerful.”

“The Metis are a pack of cowards”, boasted Thomas Scott, “They will not dare to shoot me.” If it was not for Riel’s sanctioning of the tragic shooting of the Orangeman Thomas Scott, he might have ended up in John A Macdonald’s federal Cabinet.  Thomas Scott’s death made Riel ‘Canada’s most hated man’.

After fleeing to the United States, Riel was then elected in his absence as a Manitoba MP. The Quebec legislature in 1874 passed a unanimous resolution asking the Governor-General to grant amnesty to Riel.  That same year, after Louis Riel’s re-election as MP, he entered the parliament building, signed the register, and swore an oath of allegiance to Queen Victoria before slipping out to avoid arrest.  The outraged House of Commons expelled him by a 56-vote majority.

Exiled to Montana, Riel married and became a law-abiding American citizen. In 1884, with the slaughtering of the buffalo, many First Nations and Métis were dying of hunger.  The Metis in Saskatchewan convinced Riel to return to Canada.  Riel sent a petition to Ottawa demanding that the Metis be given title to the land they occupied and that the districts of Saskatchewan, Assiniboia and Alberta be granted provincial status.  The Federal Government instead set up a commission.  In the absence of concrete action, Louis Riel and his followers decided to press their claims by the attempted capture of Fort Carlton.

Due to the Canadian Pacific Railway, my great-grandfather Oliver Allen was shipped with the Toronto militia to quickly defeat Riel at Batoche.  Using an American Gatling gun with 1,200 rounds a minute, the battle did not last long.  While in the West, Oliver Allen met his future wife Mary Mclean a Regina Leader news-reporter sympathetic to Louis Riel.  Right before Riel’s hanging, Mary Mclean disguised herself as a Catholic priest in order to interview Riel.  Before Riel died, he prayed in his diary: “Lord Jesus, I love you.  I love everything associated with You…Lord Jesus, do the same favour for me that You did for the Good Thief; in Your infinite mercy, let me enter Paradise with You the very day of my death.”

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 



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Samuel et Hélène de Champlain: un vieux couple canadien de 407 ans

par le Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Avant l’arrivée de Samuel et Hélène de Champlain au Canada, le mot « Canada » était devenue une plaisanterie en France, grâce à Jacques Cartier qui avait rapporté en France  un quartz sans valeur du Canada. Le terme « diamant du Canada » était devenu un symbole de déception. La France a ignoré Samuel de Champlain pendant le majeur parti de sa vie. Pour la plupart des citoyens français, le Canada semblait loin et sans importance. Même les parisiens instruits niaient la valeur du Canada, lui accordant la même importance qu’à la Sibérie.

Au 16ème siècle, la population de France était six fois supérieure à celle de l’Angleterre. Elle possédait autant de littoral, était plus riche, ses marins étaient plus habiles et étaient les premiers à visiter régulièrement la côte canadienne. Mais contrairement à l’Angleterre, il y avait peu de vision en France quant à la priorité d’envoyer des gens au nouveau monde. Pour émigrer au Canada, il y avait même un découragement financier de 36 livres chargés à n’importe qui quittant la France. Par conséquent, Champlain et son entourage du Québec se sentaient négligés, abandonnés et rejetés. Le Roi Louis XIII a même eu la légèreté d’annuler la pension modeste de Champlain de six cents livres, qui lui avait été accordée par Henri IV; forçant Champlain à implorer pour son rétablissement, avec succès.

Champlain fut né en 1567 dans la ville de Brouage, alors un port maritime bruyant sur la côte du sud-ouest de la France, environ 112 kilomètres au nord de Bordeaux. Son père était un capitaine de la marine marchande et Samuel de Champlain est devenu habile à la navigation à un très jeune âge. Champlain plus tard a commenté: « la navigation est l’art qui m’a mené à explorer la côte de l’Amérique, particulièrement la Nouvelle-France, où j’ai toujours désiré voir la fleur de lys s’épanouir. »  Ironiquement, Champlain n’a jamais appris à nager, même après avoir traversé l’Atlantique vingt-neuf fois, car il croyait que la natation était trop risquée.

Pendant un certain temps, Champlain a servi dans l’armée du Roi Henri IV, combattant aux côtés de Martin Frobisher dans une entreprise alliant les Anglais et les Français contre les Espagnols.  En 1599, Champlain commanda un bateau qui ramenait des prisonniers de guerre espagnols, lui permettant d’explorer les Antilles et le Mexique, sous le contrôle de l’Espagne.  En raison de ses voyages, Champlain a prophétiquement suggéré l’idée de faire un canal à travers l’Amérique centrale pour raccourcir le voyage à l’océan pacifique méridional. Le Roi Henri IV était si impressionné par le travail de cartographie de Champlain qu’il lui a accordé un revenu à vie. Henri IV a également donné à Champlain le titre « de », ce qui le rendait un homme de rang de noble.

En 1603, il y a exactement 407 ans, Samuel de Champlain voyageait du fleuve Saint-Laurent, à l’emplacement actuel de Montréal, le village des Premières Nations de Hochelaga. Dans son journal de 1604, Champlain écrivait: « tant de voyages et de découvertes sans résultat, et accompagné de tant de difficultés et de dépenses, nous ont fait essayer récemment d’installer une colonie permanente dans ces terres que nous, Français, appelons la Nouvelle-France. »  Après deux tentatives de colonisation acadienne a Saint-Croix et a Port Annapolis dans les Maritimes, Champlain a tourné les yeux vers la future ville du Québec, un nom qu’il a traduit d’un mot indigène: « où le fleuve se rétrécit ».  La ville du Québec, le village Iroquois de Stadacona, est devenue la ville la plus durable, au nord de Mexico et de Floride, colonisée par les Européens.

La vie n’était pas facile pour Champlain à Québec. Tout en construisant son habitation « à la bastille », Champlain a dû enrayer un complot d’attentat à sa vie. Quand le printemps venait finalement fondre la glace en avril 1609, seulement huit des 24 hommes de Champlain qui avaient passé l’hiver à Québec étaient encore vivants.

Champlain aimait profondément le peuple des Premières Nations, établissant des amitiés durables avec plusieurs groupes. En 1640, Père Lalemant écrivait: « Que tous les Français, qui étaient les premiers à venir dans ces régions, avaient été comme lui! »  Champlain a parlé prophétiquement à une assemblée de Montagnais, d’Algonquins, et
de Français:  « Nos fils épouseront vos filles et dorénavant nous serons une personne. »

Quand Samuel de Champlain a marié Hélène Boullé le 30 décembre, 1610 à Paris, elle avait seulement 12 ans tandis qu’il avait approximativement quarante ans! Elle était si jeune que son père ait insisté sur le fait qu’elle vivait à la maison pendant au moins encore deux années. À l’âge 21, elle s’est déplacée à la ville de Québec. Les premières nations ont été intriguées par Hélène qui les a aimées chèrement en retour. Une dame intitulée avec les vêtements et les convenances  élégantes, Hélène était le centre d’attraction au Québec. Mais pour elle, la colonie a tenu peu de joie. Contrairement à Paris, le Québec n’avait eu aucune magasin, foule animée ou bavardage intéressant. Comme une femme jeune et intrépide, elle languissait pour la joie de vivre de Paris. Champlain qui avait 56 ans a favorisé la compagnie de ses voyageurs français et indigènes robustes et la grandeur intacte de Canada à l’intérieur. Et ainsi, après quatre ans, Champlain et Hélène se sont tragiquement séparés.  De l’amour, Champlain est appelé  l’île de « l’Expo Montréal 67 »  après elle: l’île Sainte- Hélène. Quand Hélène a appris de sa mort de mari en 1635, elle est entrée dans un couvent, choisissant de devenir une nonne plutôt que de se marier encore.

Plus d’une moitié des négociants fourrure-marchands travaillant avec Champlain étaient Huguenots (Protestants français) de La Rochelle en France.  L’Édit de Nantes (1598), qui leurs a donné la liberté religieuse au Québec et en France, a été limité la première fois en 1625 et finalement retiré en 1685. Bien qu’on ait donc interdit les Huguenots de donner louanges au Canada par le décret royal, les équipages des bateaux des Huguenots ne pourraient pas être retenus de tenir des services religieux à bord quand dans le port. Les Huguenots ont aimé chanter les psaumes en français, une pratique d’abord encourager et alors prohiber par la cour royale française. Champlain et son épouse Hélène avaient été élevés dans des maisons des Huguenots. Ainsi grâce à Champlain, on l’a convenu que les Huguenots pourraient tenir des réunions de prière sur les bateaux, mais chanter des psaumes seulement en mer où personne d’autre pourraient entendre.

Après que l’anglais sous le commandant britannique David Kirke a bloqué les bateaux français d’approvisionnement, Champlain et ses hommes sont presque morts de faim, survivant la plupart du temps sur des anguilles achetées des Indiens et sur des racines et bois-écorcent.  Champlain a été forcé de se rendre en 1628 aux frères de David Kirke et a été envoyé pendant quatre années en Angleterre. Le Traité de St-Germain-en-Laye a été signé dans 1632 qui ont apporté Champlain de nouveau à la ville de Québec, dont beaucoup avait été brûlée à la terre par les Anglais. Ensuite après avoir consacré les 32 dernières années de sa vie au Canada, Champlain est mort d’une attaque cérébrale en 1635 à l’âge de 68.

Champlain était un pionnier canadien de talents multiples, au même temps marin et soldat, auteur et entrepreneur, artiste et voyageur, visionnaire et pragmatiste. Il a écrit quatre livres importants de l’histoire des débuts de Canada. Il a produit les meilleures cartes nord-américaines et les plus tôt diagrammes de port. À plusieurs reprises Champlain a mis sa vie dans le péril afin de découvrir des itinéraires à l’étendue sauvage de l’ouest du Canada.  « Aucune autre colonie européenne à l’Amérique, » a commenté l’historien éminent Samuel Eliot Morison,  « n’est tellement l’ombre rallongée d’un homme comme le Canada est celle de cet homme vaillant, sage, et vertueux, Samuel de Champlain. »  Je remercie Dieu de cet homme courageux, Samuel de  Champlain, qui a montré la persévérance et le dévouement contre des chances impossibles.

Ma prière pour ceux lisant cet article est que nous aussi pouvons montrer à la même persévérance en faisant face à nos tâches quotidiennes Dieu-données.

Le Révérend  Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the North Shore News/Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 



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Samuel and Helene de Champlain: A Canadian Romance

by the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Before Samuel & Helene de Champlain came on the scene, the very word ‘Canada’ had become a joke in France, thanks to Jacques Cartier bringing back quartz and ‘fool’s gold’ from Canada.  The term ‘diamond of Canada’ became a symbol for deception and emptiness.  During Champlain’s lifetime, France largely ignored him.  To most French citizens, Canada seemed distant and unimportant.  Even well-educated Parisians denied the value of Canada, sometimes dismissing it as another Siberia.

In the 16th century, France’s population was six times that of England, it possessed as much coastline, it was more affluent, its sailors were more skilled and were the first to consistently visit the Canadian seaboard.  But in contrast to England, there was little vision in France for the priority of sending people to the New World.  To immigrate to Canada, there was even a financial disincentive of 36 livres charged to anyone leaving France.  As a result, Champlain and his Quebec people felt disregarded, deserted and discarded.  King Louis XIII even had the thoughtlessness to cancel Champlain’s modest pension of six hundred livres granted by Henry IV; forcing Champlain to successfully implore for its reinstatement.

Champlain was born in 1567 in the town of Brouage, then a bustling seaport on the southwestern coast of France, some 70 miles (112 km) north of Bordeaux. His father was a sea captain and as a boy he became skilled at seamanship and navigation.  Champlain later commented: “…(Navigation) is the art…which led me to explore the coast of America, especially New France, where I have always desired to see the fleur-de-lys flourish.”  Ironically Champlain never learned to swim, even after crossing the rugged Atlantic Ocean twenty-nine times, as he thought swimming was too risky.

For a while Champlain served in the army of King Henry IV, fighting alongside Martin Frobisher in a joint undertaking by the British and French against the Spanish.  In 1599 Champlain captained a ship which returned Spanish prisoners-of-war, allowing him to explore the Spanish-controlled West Indies and Mexico.  As a result of his travels, Champlain prophetically suggested the idea of making a canal across Central America to shorten the trip to the southern Pacific Ocean.  King Henry IV was so impressed by Champlain’s map-making work that he granted him a lifetime income.  Henri IV also gave Champlain the title ‘de’, which marked him as a man of noble rank.

Four hundred and seven years ago, in 1603, Samuel de Champlain traveled up the St. Lawrence River to the site of present day Montreal, the First Nations village of Hochelaga.  In Champlain’s 1604 Journal, he wrote: “So many voyages and discoveries without result, and attended with so much hardship and expense, have caused us French in late years to attempt a permanent settlement in those lands which we call New France.”  After two Acadian colonizing attempts at St. Croix and Port Annapolis in the Maritimes, Champlain turned his eyes to the future Quebec City, a name that he translated from an aboriginal word: ‘where the river narrows.’  Quebec City, the Iroquois village of Stadacona, became the earliest enduring city north of Mexico City and Florida settled by Europeans.

Life was not easy for Champlain at Quebec City.  While building a miniature Bastille-like ‘habitation’, Champlain had to stamp out an attempted murder plot against himself.  When spring finally broke up the ice in April 1609, only eight of Champlain’s 24 men who wintered at Quebec were still alive.

Champlain cared deeply about the First Nations people, building lasting friendships with many groups.  Pere Lalemant in 1640 wrote: ‘Would God that all the French, who were the first to come into these regions, had been like him!’ Champlain spoke prophetically to a gathering of the Montagnais, Algonkin, and French: “Our sons shall wed your daughters and henceforth we shall be one people”

When Samuel de Champlain married Hélène Boullé on December 30, 1610 in Paris, she was only 12 years old while he was approximately forty!  She was so young that her father insisted that she live at home for at least another two years.  At age 21, she moved to Quebec City.  The First Nations were intrigued by Helene who loved them dearly in return.  A titled lady with elegant outfits and etiquette, Helene was the center of attention at Quebec.  But for her the settlement held little joy.  Unlike Paris, Quebec had no shops, lively crowds or interesting chitchat.  As a high-spirited twenty-five-year-old, she pined for the exhilaration of Paris.  Champlain, fifty-six, favored the companionship of his hardy French and aboriginal voyageurs and the untainted grandeur of the Canadian outback.  And so, after four years, Champlain and Helene tragically parted ways.  Out of love, Champlain named the ‘Montreal Expo 67’ Island after her: Isle Saint Helene.  When Helene learned of her husband’s death in 1635, she entered a convent, choosing to become a nun rather than to marry again.

More than half of the fur-trading merchants working with Champlain were Huguenot (French Protestants) from La Rochelle; France.  The 1598 Edict of Nantes, which gave them religious freedom in Quebec and France, was first restricted in 1625 and finally revoked in 1685.  Although the Huguenot were therefore forbidden to worship in Canada by royal decree, the crews of Huguenot ships could not be restrained from holding services on board when in harbour.  The Huguenot loved to sing the psalms in French, a practice first encouraged and then outlawed by the French Royal Court.  Both Champlain and his wife Helene had been raised in Huguenot homes.  So thanks to Champlain, it was agreed that the Huguenot could hold prayer meetings on the ships, but sing psalms only at sea where no one else could hear.

After the English under British Commander David Kirke blockaded the French relief supply ships, Champlain and his men nearly starved, surviving mostly on eels purchased from the Indians and on roots & wood-bark. Champlain was forced to surrender in 1628 to David Kirke’s brothers and was sent for four years to England.  The Treaty of Saint Germain-en-Laye was signed in 1632 which brought Champlain back to Quebec City, much of which had been burnt to the ground by the British.  After having devoted the last 32 years of his life to Canada, Champlain died of a stroke in 1635 at age 68.

Champlain was the most versatile of Canadian pioneers, at once sailor and soldier, writer and entrepreneur, artist and voyageur, visionary and pragmatist.  He wrote four important books relating Canada’s early history.  He produced the best North American maps and its earliest harbour charts.  Repeatedly Champlain put his life in jeopardy in order to discover routes to Canada’s western wilderness. He nurtured struggling Quebec to steadfast life.  “No other European colony in America, “commented the eminent historian Samuel Eliot Morison, “is so much the lengthened shadow of one man as Canada is of the valiant, wise, and virtuous Samuel de Champlain.” I thank God for this courageous man Samuel Champlain who showed perseverance and dedication against impossible odds.  My prayer for those reading this article is that we too may show that same perseverance in facing our God-given daily tasks.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the North Shore News/Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 



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Samuel de Champlain et Sieur de Monts

par le Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Avant Champlain, les explorateurs comme Jacques Cartier n’avaient pas réussi à laisser leur marque. Champlain et Sieur de Monts étaient des personnes persévérantes et visionnaires de grande foi qui ont fait d’énormes sacrifices pour frayer un chemin dans cette grande terre du Canada. Avec mon expérience lors de la tournée de réconciliation de La Danse cet été passé, Dieu m’a donné un amour profond pour les personnes francophones qui ont développé notre nation pendant 150 ans avant l’arrivée des Anglais.

Samuel de Champlain et Sieur de Monts nous ont donné le cadeau merveilleux de la langue et de la culture française. Champlain, en particulier, a aidé à définir qui nous sommes comme Canadiens. Nous serions bien plus pauvres au Canada sans nos frères et sœurs francophones, sans leur joie de vivre, leur musique, leur danse, et leur flair artistique. Comme l’a déjà dit un poète américain, »le Canada est un pays presque inventé par le cerveau simple de Champlain ».  Un projet de loi privé fédéral C-428 fut rejeté. Ce projet voulait nommer le 26 juin le « Jour de Samuel de Champlain ». Le MP Greg Thompson du Nouveau Brunswick qui présentait ce projet de loi disait: « la plupart de nous savons qui est Davy Crockett, mais plusieurs d’entre nous n’avons jamais porté attention à Samuel de Champlain.

Tandis que beaucoup de Canadiens se rappellent vaguement de Champlain, aujourd’hui peu de personnes ont une idée de qui était l’homme derrière Champlain: Sieur de Monts. Né à Saintonge, en France en 1558, Sieur de Monts était un homme d’affaires français Huguenot à qui avait été accordé une charte exclusive du Roi Henri IV pour le commerce de fourrure dans le nouveau monde. Le Roi Henri IV chargea Sieur de Monts d’établir le nom, la puissance, et l’autorité du roi de la France; d’amener les indigènes à une connaissance de la religion chrétienne; de peupler, de cultiver, et de coloniser les dites terres; de faire de l’exploration et plus particulièrement de chercher des mines de métaux précieux. La charte de 1603 nommait Sieur de Monts comme Lieutenant Gouverneur de la Nouvelle-France, lui donnant autorité sur toute l’Amérique du Nord entre les quarantième et quarante-sixième parallèles (de Montréal à Philadelphie actuelle).

Une des conditions de la charte exigeait la colonisation de soixante nouveaux colons chaque année. En 1604, Champlain et de Monts, pères du Canada, ont établi leur première colonie sur l’île de Saint-Croix, sur la frontière entre le Nouveau Brunswick et le Maine, aux États-Unis.  Précédant Jamestown, Virginie (1607) et Plymouth, Massachusetts (1620), Saint-Croix était la première colonie européenne sur la côte nord de l’Atlantique. Des Huguenots (protestants français) et des catholiques romains étaient inclus parmi les 79 premiers colons, avec un pasteur Huguenot et un prêtre catholique. Grâce au décret de Nantes, on a accordé aux Huguenots l’exercice libre de leur foi, une liberté qui a duré jusqu’en 1625. Comme mon épouse et mes enfants ont des racines Huguenotes, j’ai été fasciné d’apprendre que les Huguenots persécutés étaient au premier rang de la bourgeoisie française naissante.

On croit que Champlain a choisi Saint-Croix parce qu’elle partageait la même latitude que la France tempérée, supposant que le climat serait semblable. Au lieu de cela, les banquises de glace ont séparé les colons de la nourriture fraîche et de l’eau du continent. Ce premier et seul hiver sur Saint-Croix fut brutalement froid, ayant pour résultat 35 décès causes par le scorbut. Ironiquement les os de ces premiers colons français ont juste été ré enterres cette année à Saint-Croix, après avoir passé un demi-siècle à Temple University, à Philadelphie.

La colonie de Huguenot/Acadienne a été déplacée en 1605 à Port-Royal (l’Annapolis moderne royal en Nouvelle-Écosse). Tandis qu’il était à Port-Royal, Champlain a fondé le premier club social de l’Amérique du nord « l’Ordre du Bon temps » dans un effort de briser la monotonie des longs hivers nord-américains. Chacun leur tour, les messieurs préparaient le dîner en essayant de surpasser les autres avec son choix de viande, de vin et de chanson. Pour leur divertissement, Marc Lescarbot, un jeune avocat parisien, a écrit et produit la première pièce de théâtre en Amérique du Nord, « le théâtre de Neptune ».

Sieur de Monts a souffert plusieurs revers, y compris le retrait de son monopole du commerce de fourrure en 1608 et l’assassinat de son bon ami, le Roi Henri en 1610. En 1608, Sieur de Monts a envoyé Champlain a Québec, de ce fait fondant la ville de Québec, la première colonie permanente au Canada. « Je suis arrivé là le 3 juillet» a écrit Samuel de Champlain en 1608. « J’ai cherché un endroit approprié à notre colonie, mais je ne pouvais n’en trouver aucun plus commode ou mieux situé que la pointe de Québec ». Champlain y a mis à pied et déploya la fleur de lys, marquant le début de cette ville, ainsi que du Canada.

Ma prière est que ceux qui lisent cet article puissent démontrer ce même esprit de pionniers exprimé par Champlain et Sieur de Monts.

le Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Recteur, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the North Shore News/Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 



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Samuel de Champlain and Sieur de Monts: Canadian heroes

 By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Until Samuel de Champlain over 400 years ago, explorers like Jacques Cartier all had  failed to leave any permanent mark.  Champlain & Sieur de Monts were persevering people of vision and faith who made enormous sacrifices to pioneer this great land of Canada.  God, through the La Danse tour of reconciliation, has given me a deep love for the francophone people who pioneered our nation for 150 years before we Anglais turned up.

Samuel de Champlain & Sieur de Monts gave to all of us the wonderful gift of French language and culture in Canada.  In very real terms, Champlain especially helped define who we are as Canadians.  How much poorer we would be in Canada without our francophone brothers and sisters, without their joie de vivre, their music, their dance, and their artistic flair.  As an American poet once put it, Canada is a country almost invented out of Champlain’s single brain.  A while back, there was a Federal Private Member’s Bill C-428 which unsuccessfully attempted to name June 26th ‘Samuel de Champlain Day’.  The sponsoring New Brunswick MP Greg Thompson put it this way: “Most of us know who Davy Crockett was but a lot of us never paid attention to Champlain.”

While many Canadians vaguely remember Champlain, few today have any awareness of the man behind Champlain, Sieur de Monts.  Born in Saintonge, France in 1558, Sieur de Monts was a French Huguenot businessman who was given an exclusive charter by King Henry IV for fur trading in the New World.  King Henry IV directed Sieur de Monts “to establish the name, power, and authority of the King of France; to summon the natives to a knowledge of the Christian religion; to people, cultivate, and settle the said lands; to make explorations and especially to seek out mines of precious metals.”  The 1603 charter made Sieur de Monts the Lieutenant Governor of New France, giving him authority over all of North America between the 40th and 46th parallels (from Montreal to present day Philadelphia).

One of the conditions of the charter required the settlement of sixty new colonists each year.  In 1604, Champlain and de Monts, as Fathers of Canada, established their first settlement at St. Croix Island, on the border between New Brunswick and Maine, USA.  Predating both Jamestown, Virginia (1607) and Plymouth, Massachusetts (1620), St. Croix was the first European settlement on the north Atlantic coast.  Both Huguenot (French Protestant) and Roman Catholics were included among the original 79 settlers, along with a Huguenot pastor and a Roman Catholic priest.  Thanks to the Edict of Nantes, the Huguenot were granted free exercise of their faith, a freedom that lasted until 1625.

As my wife and children have Huguenot roots, I have been fascinated to learn that the persecuted Huguenot were at the forefront of the emerging French middle class.

It is believed that Champlain chose St. Croix because it shared the same latitude as temperate France, assuming that the climate would be similar.  Instead the churning ice floes separated the colonists from the fresh food and water of the mainland.  That first & only winter on St. Croix was brutally cold, resulting in 35 scurvy-related deaths.  Ironically the bones of the original French settlers have recently been reinterred at St. Croix, after spending half a century in Philadelphia’s Temple University.

The Huguenot/Acadian colony was moved in 1605 to Port-Royal (the modern Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia). While at Port-Royal, Champlain founded North America’s first social club the ‘Ordre de Bon temps/The Order of the Good Time’ in an effort to break the monotony of the long North American winters.  Each gentleman in turn prepared dinner and attempted to outdo the others in the meat, wine and song offered.  For their entertainment, Marc Lescarbot, a young Parisian lawyer, wrote and produced the first drama in North America, “The Theatre of Neptune”.

Sieur de Monts suffered many setbacks including the revoking of his fur trade monopoly in 1608 and the assassination of his close friend King Henry IV in 1610.  In 1608, Sieur de Monts sent Champlain to Quebec, thus founding at Quebec City the first permanent colony in Canada.  “I arrived there on the 3rd of July,” wrote Samuel de Champlain in 1608, “when I searched for a place suitable for our settlement, but I could find none more convenient or better situated than the point of Quebec.” Champlain stepped ashore and unfurled the fleur-de-lys, marking the beginning of that city and indeed of Canada.

My prayer is that those reading this article may show that same pioneering spirit expressed by Champlain & Sieur de Monts.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 



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Blessed are Those Who Mourn

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

I lived in Montreal, Quebec, during the days of Trudeaumania, and was naively caught up in the energy of it.  I even had newspaper photos of Trudeau plastered on my wall.  Trudeau symbolized the boundless optimism of Canada in the late 1960’s when we believed that if we tried a bit harder, our national problems would rapidly go away.  As a westerner who has spent most of my life in BC, I also went through the alienation phase with Trudeau when my heart hardened to his style of leadership.  Given the hardness of my heart, I was surprised how much his funeral moved me, even to the point of tears.  I felt like I wasn’t just mourning for Trudeau’s death but for the death of an era when things seemed simpler.

When my mother-in-law passed on, my wife and I both decided to take a 13-week ‘Grief Share’ course.  Grief Share is a video series with small group sharing by the participants.  As a clergyman, I often take funerals and help others deal with their grief.  But when one’s own family is involved, grief is experienced quite differently.

We live in a high-tech culture that gives us little time to really grieve.  In contrast to the speed of modern internet communications, grieving cannot be rushed.  The heart of ‘quality grieving’ involves a lot of ‘quantity grieving’.  Grieving takes a lot more time than many of us want to devote to it.

Another thing that has been reinforced to me through taking the ‘Grief Share’ course is that grieving is best done in community and through relationships.  Our culture is radically individualistic and private about things that really matter.  Some people have become so private about death that they have even given up on funerals.  Instead we just read in the paper about the death of former friends and loved ones.  The tragedy of the demise of funerals is that it has left many people stuck in grief, with no way to express it.

I was in the Okanagan visiting relatives when my Aunt Marg said to me: ‘Ed, I have a friend who has had a mental breakdown, and no one can figure out why.  Can you help her?’  Meeting with Aunt Marg’s friend, I discovered that due to an physical illness, she had missed her mother’s funeral.  Sensing that this was the root of the breakdown, I led her on the shore of Lake Okanagan in some brief prayers, releasing memories of her mom into the arms of Jesus.  Upon returning to Vancouver, my Aunt Marg phoned me and said: ‘I don’t know what happened.  But whatever you did seemed to work.  She is totally better now’.  Some of you reading this article may be suffering at this very moment from never having been able to go to the funeral of a loved one.  Perhaps your loved one lived half way around the world, and it didn’t seem practical.  Perhaps no funeral was even permitted.  Either way, you need to create the opportunity for you to release the memories of your loved one into Jesus’ arms.

Grief, when not dealt with, can cut us off from others.  Grief can paralyze our day-to-day functioning in ways that can be embarrassing.  None of us are immune from grief.  That is why the Good Book encourages us to ‘weep with those who weep’.  Grieving is best done when a loving community and family surround us with their thoughts and prayers.  We have to fight the temptation in grief that makes us want to hide away and try to handle it ourselves.  Time by itself heals nothing.  In fact, refusing to weep with those who weep can actually make us sick, sick at heart, sick in body, sick in spirit.  How much unnecessary cancer, heart disease and arthritis comes because we refuse to grieve?

That is why the most famous person in the universe said: ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’.  Jesus knew that there is a healing that can come when we face our grief head-on.  There is a comfort that can come when we are willing to be honest about how tough it has been to lose our loved ones.  There is a blessing that will come when we let the tears flow and allow others to listen deeply to our pain.  Even Jesus, the Son of God, went through intense grief and loss.  The shortest verse in the bible is simply ‘Jesus wept’.  Weeping is an expression of the depth of our love.

I have found that grieving will not destroy me, but refusing to grieve will.  Grieving will not cause me to fall apart, but rather fall together.  Grieving will not bring a breakdown, but rather a breakthrough.  So many of the dysfunctional and addictive things that we do in life are the fruit of our unwillingness to do the hard work of grieving.  But running from death always brings death, death of hope, death of peace and death of intimacy.

 

By embracing death on that painful cross, Jesus broke the power of death to destroy our hopes and dreams.  By rising from the dead, Jesus proved that death does not have the final word.  By faith in Jesus’ resurrection, we will see our loved ones again.  We need not fear as we grieve, for Jesus has them in his loving arms.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the North Shore News/Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 



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Sir Alexander Mackenzie the Scottish Bulldog

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Sir Alexander Mackenzie ranks as one of the most remarkable persons of North American wilderness history and, indeed, as one of the greatest travelers of all time.  His transcontinental crossing predated (and indeed inspired) the more famous Lewis and Clark American expedition by twelve years.  Even Bernard De Voto, the well-known Utah-born historian said of Mackenzie, “In courage, in the faculty of command, in ability to meet the unforeseen with resources of craft and skill, in the will that cannot be overborne, he has had no superior in the history of American exploration.”

Mackenzie realized the dream of a Canada stretching from sea to sea.  Beneath the lion and the unicorn supporting the coat of arms of Canada are the Latin words: A MARI USQUE AD MARE, taken from a Biblical text, ‘He shall have dominion also from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth. Without Alexander Mackenzie (and his Nor’Wester friends Simon Fraser and David Thompson), Canada would have lost her entire Pacific Coast, being shut off from any access to the sea.

In 1764, Alexander Mackenzie was born in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, a windswept, rugged island in the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland.  When Alexander was ten, his mom died.  Neighbours, knowing he had memorized long passages from the Bible, predicted that Alexander would become a clergyman. Through the local pastor’s library, he learned about astronomy and the use of telescopes.  At age 13, Alexander tabulated all the animal and plant life in the Hebrides, and he and his pastor tried unsuccessfully to get it published in London.

To escape the grinding poverty, his family, like thousands of other Highlanders, moved to the New World, only to become caught up in the American Revolution.  His father, like Simon Fraser’s dad, joined a United Empire Loyalist regiment near New York, before escaping with his family to Montreal. In those days, every one of Montreal’s 4000 inhabitants was involved in some way with the fur trade.  To young Alexander Mackenzie, the Montreal-based North West Company fur trade signified adventure, a chance to travel and explore new territory.

The heart of the fur industry was the voyageurs, who were the heroes and athletes of the 18th century.  As with the NHL, a voyageur was an old man at forty and forced to retire.

A good voyageur paddled 40 strokes to the minute and could keep up that pace from dawn to dusk with brief stops.  They had the reputation of being the finest canoeists in the world, who could travel anywhere.  Most of the North West Company’s 1,100 voyageurs were Canadians, which in those days meant that they were Quebec-born francophones.  The Northwest Company brought together a unique blend of Canadians and Scots like Simon Fraser and Alexander Mackenzie.  At the height of the North West Company, it had eight times as many men in Western Canada as the more cautious Hudson’s Bay Company.

While looking for the Pacific Ocean, Mackenzie discovered and charted the largest river in Canada, the 2,500-mile long Mackenzie River .  He reached the Arctic Ocean on July 14th, 1789 –the same day as the angry Paris mobs stormed the French Bastille. Mackenzie was so heartbroken over ending up at the wrong ocean that he named his river ‘The River of Disappointment.’  The Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin renamed it the Mackenzie River.  Over 200 years later, there are 11 different places named after Alexander Mackenzie in BC and the North West Territories, including the Mackenzie Delta, the Mackenzie Mountains, the Mackenzie Highway, and the Sir Alexander Mackenzie Provincial Park.

Mackenzie the Scottish Bulldog was above all things resilient.  Rather than give up his Pacific quest, he went to England to improve his knowledge of astronomy and geography.  Upon returning to Canada, Mackenzie once again struck out towards the Pacific Ocean, known by some First Nations as the ‘Stinking Lake’.  This time he traveled down the Peace River and the Parsnip River before trekking the final distance over the ‘Grease Trail’, traveled by the First Nations for countless generations.  Once again his victory was bitter-sweet. Yes, he had succeeded in reaching Bella Coola on the Pacific Ocean.  But like Simon Fraser, he too had discovered a route that was useless as a fur-trading canoe highway.

Following his two epic journeys to the Arctic and the Pacific Oceans, Mackenzie wrote an instant best-selling book called Voyages.  His book was so popular with the English and Germans that the publisher could not print enough copies to keep up with the demand.  During this time, he went back to England, became friendly with the Prince of Wales, and was knighted by his father King George IV.  That winter and spring, Sir Alexander was the most popular man in London. No social event was considered a success unless he attended it.

Between his book sales and his fur trading, Mackenzie became one of Canada’s wealthiest men. He even spent a brief period in Canadian politics which ‘bored him to tears’.  He also founded his own fur-trading ‘XY Company’ and tried unsuccessfully to do a corporate takeover of the failing Hudson’s Bay Company.

Few people in Canada realize that Mackenzie was an unwitting ‘accomplice’ in Napoleon’s planned re-conquest of Canada.  Napoleon had Mackenzie’s book smuggled from England and translated into French.  Mackenzie’s description of the Western Canada river system was so precise that Napoleon had set up a scheme during the War of 1812 to use Mackenzie’s book to invade Canada.  Canada would be conquered by a surprise attack from New Orleans, up the Mississippi River.  Fortunately for Canada, Napoleon ended up invading Moscow rather than Ottawa.

My prayer is that Jesus may raise up many more Alexander Mackenzies, people with bull-dog persistence, inexhaustible energy, and insatiable curiosity.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the North Shore News/Deep Cove Crier

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca