People We Miss

Schwinghammer, Zama & Co.

No, this is not a stage company, or a high quality brand of pots, or even an accounting firm.
These are just a couple of the pastors that have helped shape our faith early in our walk.It’s normal to miss people who have grown your faith, but it’s not always common to keep in touch with them once you and they have moved on from that church.

When Cynthia and I were just starting out in our Christian faith we attended College Park Church in Oshawa. It was a big church, easy to get lost in and blend into. We liked that because we were new and we were shy.
Pastor Dave Schwinghammer was the head pastor at that time and on our first few visits we did not like his preaching style.
We were church shopping at the time, trying to find a place we can belong, and seeing if any pastor “spoke” to us. Although we were willing to give this guy a try, how many times can we come back before we say “enough” and move on to another church?
Let me explain first what I mean by “enough”. Pastor Dave’s messages were not the problem, it was the way he delivered them that we didn’t buy into.
No one can be this excited about God, we thought.
After about 4 visits we came to realize that this guys was the real deal. It wasn’t pretend. This wasn’t for the audience. Our guard was put down and we let his preaching of the Word seep in. We met him in person after a few weeks and we instantly got along. We had many similar interests and he as so willing to be active in our lives.

We expressed an interest to be baptized and he helped us realize many important things about our relationship with each other and with God, and what had to be set right before he could baptize us according to the Word. He was always gentle with us and led us with a kind hand.
Our new found convictions led us to be get married that spring so that we could live right in our relationship. He married us in a private ceremony and even wrote a special song for us he performed right there on the church piano. Oh yeah, he does that by the way; where he will play background music while preaching and then break into a song. This guy was amazing!

Pastor Dave lead us through many of life’s journeys and when the time was right, he reconfirmed our marriage before our whole family and friends a year and a half later.
He dedicated 2 or our 3 children as well. By the time we had Lincoln he was no longer pastor at that church and we had moved on to a closer church in our home town of Brooklin.
We miss him dearly and I always look forward to our lunches when we make it back into town. He will always be a special part of our lives.

Pastor Rob Zama came into our lives when we were also attending College Park. He was a new youth pastor looking to stir things up. We instantly clicked. We would hang out together from time to time and he would help lead us in our walk with the Lord as well.
When Pastor Rob got married we got to spend time with his new, growing family.
Pastor Rob was a lot like Dave because he was also super excited about the Lord when he preached. One time I got to be part of the opening joke of his sermon when he accidentally walking into the wrong house and sat down while trying to visit our new house. It was his first time over and he didn’t know the neighbourhood well. It made for a funny story and we all had a good laugh. Pastor Rob also moved on from that church but we still keep in touch by meeting up for lunch. It’s always a pleasure to see him and his family. No matter what you tell him he is terribly excited to hear it. It makes you miss him more. I need more friends like this in my life!

There have been other pastors from College Park that were kind to us as we grew in our faith.
Pastor Oudri and pastor Nunez showed a passion for our faith, and Bonnie, the receptionist at the church, was always present for our most important life events. She was like part of our family. We miss that time when this group manned the wheel at College Park. It was a special time in our lives and in our faith.

(Left) Pastor Dave Schwinghammer and us on our official, but very private, wedding day. (Right) Pastor Rob Zama and I after a delicious breakfast at Coras.
People We Miss

Dagmara

I, Luke, have known Dagmara for decades now.
I remember being at a party and meeting her for the first time. My brother and her would date for a little while. We naturally got to know one another because she was always around.
After they were no longer dating I wondered if our friendship would continue. My brother and her remained close so it was easy to keep in touch.

Some people may remember, to others this is news, but I used to go to the movies at least once a week. It is very hard to find someone else that dedicated. Needless to say, Dagmara was one of my most willing guests. We saw so many great movies together. I could almost always depend on her to come along when others got sick of me and my movies.
This may seem like nothing big, but to me it meant the world to have someone to share a good movie with.

Dagmara was extremely supportive. She has a special emotional side of her that allows her to relate with people pain incredibly well. Did we have conflicts? Sure, all friends do, but I will never excuse her sympathy towards me at those time that I was going through a break up or another tough time in my life.
Together we laughed, we cried and we shared adventures. We also learned about Christ around the same time and became saved. It was special to see Dagmara as my sister in Christ now, as well.

When Cynthia came into my life, her and Dagmara would develop their own friendship, and would study the word together in their women’s group for years.
Our lives seemed to constantly be intertwined. Dagmara’s brother Marty and I worked together for a while and we still see him from time to time. We lived close to one another on two occasions and shared many holiday meals with their family.

As is common in life, we don’t always keep as close in touch as we would like. Although I talk with her from time to time, when I think of her, I miss those good times growing up. I am often reminded of her kindness to me over anything else we may have gone through. I wish her the best always. I hope she lives a truly blessed life and that the compassion she shows will always return to her, no matter where she is in life.

Dagmara and I at a New Year’s celebration with friends a couple decades ago.
People We Miss

Baff and Shelley

Luke:

When I was in high school, I met Shelley in our Drama class. We didn’t care much for each other until we were brought together to direct our final project for the semester.
Let me put it kindly and say that we clashed. I liked Shelley as a person but our ideas conflicted. If this was going to develop into a long standing friendship that would last decades, then this was a strong test to put before it, right at its conception.
As the project progressed we worked together and found common ground.
That is the special thing about Shelley I noticed right away; not only does she care about you, but she tries to see your point of view. Of all my close friends through the years, Shelley is one that I didn’t always agree with and she didn’t always agree with me, but while those other relationships have disappeared, this one remains.

Shelley is special to me because she has been one of my longest standing friends. When she went off to University we continued to be friends and she helped me through one of my toughest times. She was my cheerleader in life in my early twenties. Without her support things would have been much harder on me.

When Shelley met Baff in University, I was protective. But when I met him in person, I instantly liked him. I was so happy when they got married because they were a wonderful fit.
When Cynthia came into my life I was worried how her and Shelley would get along. Shelley was skeptical just like I was with Baff, but as they got to know each other they developed their own friendship. Before we left on this journey Cynthia hung out with Shelley way more together than I ever did. I was happy to see that relationship bloom.

Over the years we attended each others weddings, we were there to greet the new babies coming into each others worlds, and were there for the birthdays that would come and go.

Life got busy, and although we see one another less than we used to, it’s always a treat to get together with Baff and Shelley.
Our kids love to play with Chrissie and Nathan. Baff and I would joke about Isla and Chrissie hanging out together when they are teens and our worry as dads.

Baff and Shelley are friends we will always have and will always connect with. They are true, they are sure and they are dependable. What more can you ask for in lifelong friends?

Cynthia:

Baff and Shelley are the couple we’ve known the longest. I met Shelley when Luke and I had just started dating… I remember being really nervous because she was the first friend I was formally introduced to–over lunch at William’s. She was so kind and sweet, she gave me a huge hug and I felt like I had her approval to be Luke’s girlfriend. Fast forward 13 years later and it’s as if Luke needed Shelley’s approval to be my boyfriend.

I remember Luke and I were always hanging out with Shelley in the early months of our relationship. We’d watch movies together, go out for coffee together, we were a trio… Mostly because Baff lived Montreal, and we loved hanging out together.

I remember the first time I met Baff, we went out for dinner at East Side Mario’s. Baff was super friendly, super smiley and super in love with Shelley.

We shared their joy over getting engaged, we celebrated their love when they were married and we supported them when they became parents. We’ve shared so many milestones together that it’s permanently bonded our friendship. Baff and Shelley are that friendship that is always comfortable. We don’t get together as often as we should, but whenever we do it always feels like we just saw each other the week before… our friendship never, ever skips a beat.

 

People We Miss

Our Neighbours

Since returning to our home town after our first leg on the road, we had the privilege and pleasure of reuniting with loved ones. These same loved ones we had been writing about in this section of the blog had greeted us with the kind of open arms and love that you can only be experienced by a fond heart that’s been away for a while.
After getting together with all the people we wrote about missing I noticed that we didn’t write about our neighbours, even though we missed them very much.

People We Miss

Doug L.

I met Doug when I started to attend College Park church in Oshawa. He ran the video webcasting department and I was joining the team to help out a bit. He showed me the ropes and seemed to welcome the relief. I really don’t remember what we talked about those first few Sabbaths, but  we got along okay.
I was at College Park for a couple years before Cynthia and I started a family and we began attending a church in Brooklin. Before we left I learned that Doug was into motorcycling and hiking. I thought, “what a shame, I’m into those things too and we could have hung out. Oh well!”.