Five Decades of Marriage, Family and Ministry

I wanted to post this column celebrating our fiftieth wedding anniversary on our March 31 anniversary date, but I decided to keep my priorities straight and posted the April Fool column instead. The next weekend was Easter so during Passion week I posted an Easter column. I began traveling on my current speaking trip immediately after Easter, and I posted a column I had in reserve.

Now, finally, Jo and I invite you to celebrate and praise God with us by galloping over the sunny green hills and stumbling through a few dark stony gullies of our five decades of marriage, family and ministry.

Starting the ride of our life.

First Decade: 1962 – 1972 (Jack’s Age 24 –34)

°         Married March 31, after 8 month engagement.

°         Pastored Innisfail Baptist church 3 years.

°         Local newspaper published Jack’s first article.

°         Valorie, Leanne and Cheryl born. Valorie diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

°         Linguistic studies in Washington and Oklahoma.

°         Jungle survival training in Mexico. Joined Wycliffe Bible Translators, moved to Brazil.

°         Studied Portuguese, managed office and guest house in Rio de Janeiro.

°         Assigned to Canela project and moved to Belem.

°         Two half-year sessions in Canela village. Language learning and medical work.

°         Furlough in Calgary, AB. Raised more financial support.

°         Cheryl’s eyesight saved just in time. All three daughters made commitment to follow Jesus.

°         Returned to Brazil on a freighter from New York. Jack’s Dad & Mom came to Brazil to help build our house on Belem centre.

Life Among the Canelas

Second Decade: 1972 – 1982 (Jack’s Age 34 –44)

°         All three daughters in boarding school in Belem during multiple work sessions in the village.

°         Jo survived appendicitis attack in village. Surgery in the city later.

°         Translated and published Life of Christ book in Canela. Translated Acts.

°         Furlough in Kelowna, BC. Postal strike, no income.

°         Valorie treated for latent tuberculosis.

°         Return to Brazil, Luke, 1 & 2 Thessalonians translated. Luke, Acts and 1&2 Thessalonians published.

°         Valorie outgrew juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

°         Political pressure, start of five-year exile away from Canela village.

°         Jack chairman of SIL Brazil, interim field director.

°         Jaco, first Canela who decided to follow Jesus.

°         Valorie graduated, started Biola University, Los Angeles, CA. Leanne graduated.

°         Jack severely depressed during furlough in Edmonton, AB.

Third Decade: 1982 – 1992 (Jack’s Age 44 –54)

°         Valorie and Leanne both in Biola University, Los Angeles, CA

°         Returned to Brazil. End of exile, returned to work among the Canela.

°         Cheryl graduated and attended Capernwray in Germany.

°         Translated rest of New Testament and the partial Old Testament.

°         Thirty-five young Canela men asked us to start a Bible class.

°         Valorie graduated from Biola University.

°         Leanne and Arnold married.

°         Jo’s father passed away.

°         Partial Bible in Canela published, project completed! Distribution and dedication celebration.

°         Returned to Canada, bought mini-motor-home, traveled two years in North America to visit supporting partners and speak in churches and promotional banquets.

°         Valorie and Kurt, Cheryl and Keith marry. Leanne and Arnold have twin sons.

°         Sold motor-home and bought house in Carstairs, AB. Worked in Wycliffe office.

Post Canela ride in leadership

Fourth Decade: 1992 – 2002 (Jack Age’s 54 –64)

°         Spoke at hundreds of promotional banquets and other events in scores of cities all across Canada and the USA.

°         Jo’s mother passed away.

°         Served six years as Executive Director of Wycliffe Canada, and three years as Executive Director of Wycliffe Caribbean.

°         Wrote 350 articles and weekly news and teaching columns.

°         Numerous work trips to Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, South America.

°         Jack’s father passed away.

°         Six more grandchildren born. Wrote two serial books of stories for the grandchildren.

The writing and speaking part of the ride

Fifth Decade: 2002 – 2012 (Jack’s Age 64 –74)

°         Sold house in Carstairs, bought house in Sunrise Beach, Sandy Lake, AB.

°         Spoke at about 350 banquets and other events in Canada, and the USA.

°         Published three books of columns.

°         Youngest grandson started suffering seizures and had brain surgery.

°         Jack’s mother passed away.

°         Spoke at overseas conferences in Malaysia, and Indonesia.

°         Made major vacation trip to Brazil and Canela with all children, grandchildren, 15 persons.

°         Jo had multiple hip replacement surgeries, revisions and repairs.

°         Sold house in Sandy Beach, moved to rental apartment in Spruce Grove, AB.

°         Twin grandsons graduated and started university, one engaged to be married.

°         Writing two more books of columns, to be published as ebooks.

°         Celebrated 50th wedding anniversary by writing this column.

(By Faith) Sixth Decade: 2012 – 2022 (Jack Age 74 –84)

°         More speaking tours and other speaking events.

°         Move to the Okanagan, British Columbia.

°         Continue weekly blog posts.

°         Publish five more ebooks.

°         Six graduations from high school, up to eight graduations from college.

°         Five to nine weddings.

°         Five to ten great-grandkids.

°         Possibly retire from Wycliffe.

°         God only knows what kind of age related medical problems for both of us.

°         Much continuing joy in marriage, in family and in ministry.

Thanks for joining us on this celebratory gallop through our lives. God has been soooo good to us!

2 thoughts on “Five Decades of Marriage, Family and Ministry

  1. Hey Uncle Jack and Auntie Jo! Congratulations to both of you and Yaah! God!

    I find it a breath of fresh air to see the maturing story of events, circumstances, expectations, appearance of failure . . . and yet, and yet, there is always more. There is more hope, more trying things, more of God’s gracious generosity, more energy, more ideas, more waiting, more unknowns. . . That is a story that I too would like to tell someday. Thank you for being one of those faithful followers that I can look up to.
    much love,

  2. Thank you, Heather!
    God is good, and you serve the same God. He can do this for you too, and more beside!
    Uncle Jack

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