Thanksgiving 2016 has come and gone in both the U.S. and Canada; however, five years ago around Thanksgiving 2011 I was diagnosed as having advanced testicular cancer.

At first the prognosis wasn’t great, as I had a mass around my aorta 21 x 7 cm.

Near Christmas of that year, I was headed back to Edmonton for my fourth and final treatment at the Cross Cancer Clinic. Things were looking brighter, as the mass had shrunk substantially.

This part of the journey definitely impacted my life and gave me a new perspective for the days ahead.

Our journey to Valemount with a young family began 23-and-a-half-years ago, at the end of May, 1993. Although I didn’t know much about the community, I came here full of zeal and passion, ready to serve wherever I could.

My first official introduction to the community was to take a service for a beloved member of the community who passed on from cancer. Shortly after, I was called upon to do a service for someone who died in a tragic car accident.

I soon realized God had called me not only to pastor a church, but also be available to all as a pastor to the community. Unfortunately, since then there have been many more celebrations of life.

It has been a blissful time here; yet not without growing pains and struggles. I chuckle, as I remember this city boy lighting a fire to heat our house — I grew up using natural gas and never knew people actually heated their homes with wood.

Back then, I never realized how blessed I was to be part of this community until my life took a twisted turn with cancer and chemotherapy.

I remember telling a nurse on my third round of chemo how loved and supported I really was. Her eyes filled with tears, as I told her of all the kind acts that my wife and I had experienced. Now, my eyes fill with tears every time I think of this moment.

In my recovery times I would walk to the mail and there would be monetary gifts and cards of support. One time, someone anonymously left $200 in our car. Thank you, to whoever that was.

The elementary and secondary schools both helped along the way. Donations were given through the Swiss Bakery and the Caribou Grill. Words cannot express how overwhelmed we felt with so many acts of kindness, so many that I can’t mention them all.

So with this farewell, we leave as pilgrims that have passed through a valley of great strength and support. By the Lord’s direction we move on to be closer to our children, grandchild, and future ones.

Forever grateful,

Ted D. Barr,
Valemount, B.C.

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