Wednesday Words

Wednesday Words time again! This month our Guest Blogger is Father Douglas Painter. Douglas and I  have known each other for 30 years! (mind boggling),since we were both involved in the early years of Day Camps. But I will let him tell his own story…
Welcome Douglas!

“I would not be a priest if it were not for the Lord speaking to me through the ministry of Crosstalk Ministries.”  I often say these words to my parishioners, mainly to remind them of the importance of youth ministry and giving one’s live to Christ at an early age.  As I found out God calls us when we least expect it.
I was attracted to a girl doing Day Camps.  That’s how it all started.; not that glorious is it?  For those who know me, you know that 35 years ago I was mainly interested in dating and dances in the “Christian scene.” My Christian journey started, of course when I was baptised as an infant, through Sunday School and through weekly involvement in the church choir, but primarily it started in my conscious when I participated in St. Peter’s TMR, Day Camps. As that Week One camp was drawing to a close I asked the Team Leader, Grant LeMarquand, if I could join the traveling team.  He said yes, and I in turn said yes to God; for the first time.  I cannot express the joy I had that summer in the West Island of Montreal.  My most vivid memory was of the morning Daily Devotions and the depth of prayer.  It was truly my first awareness of the presence of God in our midst.  I believe that I was a Traveling Team member for three years.
Crossstalk wasn’t just about Day Camp for me, it was a ministry that drew me into a way of life, a way of prayer and contemplation, of raising ones hands in celebration of the Life giving Lord of Lords: Jesus the Christ.  Crosstalk offered many opportunities for involvement throughout the year.  As I mentioned I was in the choir, actually from the age of 7, again at St. Peter’s TMR, every summer I would go to a week of summer choir school, that is until I was exposed to Day Camps and switched to going to Senior Camp in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. 
This camp led me to the Focus Weekend for older teens.  Focus was just that, it put my faith in focus.  I vividly recall the British Evangelist J John speaking to us about Jesus and our connection to Him in the Spirit.  Again Christ was, through Crosstalk, working in me, continuing the process of sanctification, by exposing me to such great witnesses.   After the Labour Day Focus weekend most of us youth couldn’t wait for “Crossroads”, which was held once a month on a Sunday evening.
Again I vividly recall the first time I spoke the words and gave myself to Christ.  It was at a Crossroads service at the Church of the Ascension on Park Ave in Montreal, I believe it is a library now.  We sang and heard a powerful message and then had an altar call.  I still recall my heart pounding and my soul telling me I had to get up and go.  I shook as I got up out of the pew and began to walk to the altar rail.  I knelt down and a man named Mark laid his hands on me and prayed for me by name.  Crosstalk Ministries touch me deeply.
So here I was called to give my life to Christ, and did, and the next thing I knew I felt a distinct “call” to serve.  I can’t say if it was the next summer or the summer after, but I do remember I was in St. Lambert on the South Shore doing Day Camps.  There was an older Baptist lady on team; her name was Barb.  That night the team gathered for social time, and remember 30 plus years ago teams had 6-7 people on them, she began to talk to me about giving my life to Christ.  “I’ve done that” I said, and she replied that I had to give my whole self to God, “every little bit.”  She continued that I must allow God to mold me, break me,  reshape me into what he wanted … the best Douglas possible.  I was shocked, I liked me as I was.  I walked away slightly confused.   I lay in my bed that night and with trepidation asked God to do what he willed with me.  It took some time in prayer that night but I finally submitted my all to Him.  That morning I was approached by Barb, who had a big grin on her face, she looked into my eyes and said without hesitation, “you are called to be apriest.”
It took me years to fully embrace my call but in 2001 I was made a priest in the Church of God at St. Paul’s Lachine and invited to preach the person who had much influence in my Christian walk to that point: Brett Cane.
One of my greatest joys has been to see my eldest son go to Senior Camp and join Day Camps for a year.  I started my faith journey chasing girls and look what the Lord did with that very young Douglas.  I am proud to be able to host three weeks of Day Camps at my current parishes in Moncton, New Brunswick.  It is my prayer that Crosstalk Ministries continues to touch the lives of young and old alike, drawing us into a closer relationship with the One who loves us no matter where we are at in our lives, Jesus Christ the Risen and Redemptive Lord.
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