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What is the most interesting thing you did in 2023?

Gateway Island

Jocelyn says her most interesting time was in the first week of the year.

On January 3rd we embarked on a Caribbean cruise with our Saskatoon friends, Marvin and Sharlaine Wojda. One of the ports was San Juan, Puerto Rico. This was our first time in the oldest continuously inhabited post-European contact city in United States territory.

Puerto Rico was the “gateway” to the New World.

It was the largest Caribbean island with fresh water and an excellent harbour. Spain got the island first and then fought for 400 years to keep it. Puerto Rico has been a territory of the United States since 1898, after the U.S. defeated Spain in the Spanish-American war.

We walked for hours through historical fortifications, along cobblestone streets, by exquisitely green fields, and wishing the day would never end.

Would we go back? Of course. There would be so many more interesting things to experience.

Calm in Chaos

Bob says his most interesting experience of 2023 was traversing Ukraine. Not only was he in a country at war but worked with leaders who created calm in the chaos. He reminded them that history records the calming work of pastors during the Battle of Britain. Ukrainian pastors are making history.

From delivering food to people living near the frontlines to observing how quickly facilities destroyed by Russian rockets were rebuilt, the entire trip was surreal. A repeatable experience? Most certainly. Bob is scheduled to return in April 2024.

How about you? What was your most interesting experience in 2023?

What do you expect will be your most interesting experience in 2024? Here’s what will probably be ours in 2024.

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Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 44 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vincent and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love inspiring people through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, and reading. I'm a fan of the Double E, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers


  • Julie MacKenzie says:

    I think the most interesting thing that I did in 2023 was taking up an Advanced Hula Performance Dance Class & a Tahitian Dance Class. I’ve always been involved with Dance since I was 19 years old. Always loved it as a child, but never took any lessons as a child. I chose piano lessons instead. I took Tap Dance lessons at 19…& that got the ball rolling. I taught Jazzercise when I was 24-28 years old. Stopped teaching after I became a Mom. I was still working at The Cross Cancer Institute as a Dietary Technologist, so I had to let my hobby job & Franchise go. Since then, I have competed in Tap & Hip-hop Dance competitions with other mature women in my late 40’s. It was so much fun! Belly-dancing classes for 4 years, Zumba classes (which is very similar to Jazzercise.) I was asked by my instructor if I was interested in teaching Zumba. My answer was …”No, I’ll leave that to the youngins'”. So much time, commitment, & preparation needed to teach…people don’t realize how much time is needed to prepare a 1 hour dance fitness class….& to also do it with a smile on your face. LOL! Plus, this old woman has arthritis in her right knee after all the dance that I have subjected myself to, for over 40 years. The body does wear out a little, but, it won’t stop me from doing what I love. I just have to modify it a little & realize that I’m not 20 anymore. There are some limitations but, it’s not too bad. My 2 daughters took Hawaiian Dance Classes, so I wasn’t a stranger to the movements. I was able to help them with the choreography. I always loved Hula…so beautiful & graceful. So, now I am taking the lessons & loving it! Adult classes…& building relationships with others.
    Thank you for sharing this blog with us Pastor Bob. You have certainly had a great 2023. So glad you shared your journey with us. Looking forward to many more stories in 2024. ❤️ Have a great weekend! Stay warm in this “deep freeze”.

  • Wayne Loe says:

    Laurie and I travelled to Papua New Guinea (PNG) March 2023. This country captured my imagination in my early 20s when preparing for life and vocation as a missionary pilot. It was over 40 years before I got there, and the trip reminded me that the dreams we have often get adjusted along the way. Both during and after our trip however I realized God knew what was in my heart even all those years ago and smiled when He brought it to pass. I sensed His own joy in just loving and surprising one of His own!! Very INTERESTING.

  • Bob Jones says:

    Julie, everytime you comment I learn some new fascinating fact about you! Hula Performance Dance. I knew you loved dancing. That is so good. Thank you for sharing your experience. Keep going and doing INTERESTING things, Julie and we will read about them in 2024.

  • Bob Jones says:

    You and Laurie go to some interesting places! Papua New Guinea is one of those far away places that 99% of the population only reads about. And you two were THERE and for a 2nd time. Wayne, you’ve had lots of interesting experiences. The stuff of adventure books.

  • Cathryn Heslep says:

    Interesting question that required some thought. Having a significant birthday this year (like Bob’s this coming year !) while knowing that aunts and an uncle had serious health issues convinced me that my husband and I should travel to Europe. We absolutely love that country and this summer’s trip did not disappoint. There are never enough cathedrals and museums and tiny streets for me. My tripit app confirms that we visited 6 countries and 16 cities. We are truly blessed and privileged to travel and we do not take the ease of jumping on an airplane or a cruise ship lightly. Truly blessed.

  • Millie Scheuerman says:

    In November 2023 I went to a unique family reunion at a quaint village, Wieck, on the Baltic coast in what used to be East Germany. After WW 2 my parents chose freedom and the unknown as they slipped across the border in Berlin as a 16 year old bride and her 23 year old husband. My visit was to unite with my Dad’s two remaining brothers who opted for staying in their known world under the control of Russia and communism. I spoke to an aunt who recalls that Dad’s family felt that Dad as the oldest son had abandoned the family looking out for his interests. We went to family yards, one still has an aunt living on it. Growing up I heard stories of that big house that at some time time had 29 people living (some hidden) in it. I felt a deep satisfaction at having connected with my “tribe” and its land.

  • Bob Jones says:

    That sounds awesome, Cathryn. So wise to take time now and travel and do what you enjoy. Cathedrals sound good to me! Love the appreciation you having the resources to travel. The world opens up when you’re out of Alberta and away from home. That is INTERESTING.

  • Bob Jones says:

    Wow! What a story Millie. So much history and family experience in your trip. I can’t imagine being a 19 year old bride coming to a foreign country and leaving everything you know. Hardy people. So good that you were able to make this trip of a lifetime! Now that is INTERESTING.

  • Steve Green says:

    My choice for most interesting event of 2023 would a church water baptismal service. The Pentecostal church we are currently pastoring is fairly remote and has no indoor baptismal tank. A riverside service in August has been the norm when the river has warmed and the black flies die down. This past year no candidates came forward so no riverside service. Early in October a new believer approached me regarding baptism. She had been thinking about it and now wanted to proceed. I was thinking we had missed out on our “August” window. Within the week a married couple inquired whether they could be baptized together and I determined to make it happen. A portable hot tub rental was arranged, a water baptism class conducted and the service announced for the next Sunday. Sunday evening I received an email stating that in reviewing the distance to our location the hot tub would not be available. Praying and scrambling Monday morning I called every pool/hot tub company within 90 minutes of our location but to no avail. Tuesday I spoke with a Baptist friend some 3 1/2 hours away and asked him to pray. He called back 6 hours later with the name of a Wesleyan congregation an hour from us that had a portable baptismal tank. I called the church and the receptionist said she would look into us borrowing the tank. Wednesday she called back and informed me that pastor and board had approved the loan of their tank. Thursday myself and a church member took a truck to pick up the tank which we delivered and set up on our church platform. Saturday, armed with a garden hose and submersible pump I sent hot water from the basement kitchen sink to the tank upstairs in the sanctuary. Sunday we had a wonderful service, with many guests sharing in the celebration. Afterwards a young couple inquired whether they could be baptized at the river this summer and another gentleman asked to meet with me regarding baptism. Definitely some tense moments but God turned it all for good!

  • Bob Jones says:

    That’s awesome Steve. You went more than the second mile to get a tank so people could follow the Lord in baptism. I know it was worth it for you and for them. Way to go!

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