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.
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.
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.
° 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.
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.
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!